Dilbert – comparing mission statements to broccoli soup

In the year 1989, Scott Adams, an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, introduced “Dilbert” an American comic strip. The comic strip has become the most popular management and office humor character in history of corporate culture. The series came to international prominence through the downsizing period in 1990s. A former worker in various roles at big businesses, Scott Adams became a full-time cartoonist in 1995. Dilbert is known for its ironic office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office featuring the engineer Dilbert as the main character.

Dilbert portrays corporate culture as a confused world of bureaucracy and how office politics that stands in the way of productivity, where employees’ efficiency and efforts are not rewarded, and busy work is praised. Most of the humor emerges as the reader sees the characters making ridiculous decisions that are natural reactions to mismanagement.

The popularity of the comic strip within the corporate sector has led to the Dilbert character being used in many business magazines and publications. Also, several newspapers run the comic in their business section rather than in the regular comics section.

In 1997, while working as a management consultant to Logitech executives, Scott acted in a way he depicted management consultants in the comic strip i.e. with an arrogant manner and with bizarre suggestions, such as comparing mission statements to broccoli soup. He went to the extent to convince the executives to replace their existing mission statement for their New Ventures Group, “to provide Logitech with profitable growth and related new business areas,” with “to scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission-inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter and communicate and evangelize the findings.

Scott Adams recently announced that United Media would be introducing an interactive feature on Dilbert.com, allowing fans to write comments and, in the near future, interact with Adams about the content of the strips.

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