“Smoking out” as HRM tool at UiO

This short article wants to illustrate with a story a term which might be used in the context of human ressource management (HRM) at the University of Oslo (UiO).

In Norwegian, this term is “å røyke ut” which translates to “to smoke out”.

This can mean “to make perpetrators to reveal themselfes”, or, in colloquial speech, it means to “turn up the heat” below someone’s ass and then to eliminate the party concerned.

Now, do not get scared. When used in the context of HRM, no actual fire will be started at the premises.

Rather, some kind of “mental fire” will be ignited in the target, burning his or her mental energy and the generated smoke will cause panic. The target’s thinking gets paralysed after a while and the target will leave shelter in a desperate escape effort and can now be eliminated.

Now suppose the UiO president says:

The UiO president

“She has to be smoked out as quickly as possible”

refering to a foreign PhD student who is said to get sick often, hence, has lost her value as a human ressource.

Here we have to consider several aspects.

At first, where exactly is this place of work? If we suppose it is at a “Norwegian Center of Excellence“, then, clearly, being sick, i.e. openly showing weakness is no option at all.

Secondly, albeit maybe a relatively cheap worker, this person is “eating up” money while on sick leave, i.e. hiding behind illness as a shelter for work related issues and having a good time instead of serving.

Furthermore, she is passively impeeding the progress of, to the project leader, important scientific reseach in which she probably was intended to be used.

Cleary, in such a case, a solution must be found, and fast.

“To smoke out” this weak person “as quickly as possible” seems a good way doing so.

If we then would see that the target had been eliminated after a short while, i.e. was gone for good, HRM@UiO would assume that methods to accomplish “smoking out” a target are well established at UiO.

HRM@UiO feels the herein exemplified method of “smoking out” can therfore provide a valid tool of bringing HRM into practice at UiO; using “smoking out” demonstrates effective, goal-oriented leadership.

Things are especially easy if the target is a foreigner, was trusting to begin with and is not organized in the Workers’ Union in Norway.

On a negative side, “smoking out” does not provide means of controlling the target after elimination. If elimination, in the context of HRM, gives too much room for survival, the target might later use special knowledge obtained while staying at UiO to his or her advantage.

Such knowledge might include powerful means of leadership such as the effective use of alcohol by supervisors as a personality booster and how to scare the shit out of employees, day and night – a theme HRM@UiO might or might not follow up on in a further article.

“smoking out” weak work force from UiO:

+ fast

+ effective

– has do be done diligently and ruthlessly to avoid future negative impact

Verdict: an experience for life!

If you feel this article is perfidious then you may not know that a related issue, which actually happened in the past, got reported last year. To the knowledge of HRM@UiO, nothing was done in this regard.

The person who reported it, is currently trying to find alternatives to taking her life, pushing through one day at a time. She wants to work with finalizing her publications before being terminally “smoked out”, but feels terrorised to the point where it becomes hard to focus on positive issues. She has actively and unsuccessfully been seeking help.


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