Business Dictionary – W

Wage Differential

    The difference in wage rates between different types of worker, often those with similar jobs but who work in different regions of a country, have different skills, hours of work, etc.

Wage Slave

    Someone whose is totally dependent on the wages they earn.

Waiting Time

    The period for which an operator is available for production but is prevented from working by shortage of material or tooling, or by machine breakdown.


    A formal statement in which someone gives up a right or privilege.

Walk Back The Cat

    A metaphor for troubleshooting. When something goes wrong, the situation is analysed in chronological order to find out when the problem happened and why, and correct mistakes so they don’t happen again. Like when a cat unravels a ball of string and you have to rewind the twisted yarn to find the flaw.

Walking Papers

    Also called Walking Ticket. A notification of dismissal from a job.


    Wide Area Network. A communications network which covers a wide area of a region or country, connecting computers, phones, etc.


    Wireless Application Protocol. An open network communications system which enables information to be sent between hand-held devices such as mobile phones, pagers, etc.

Warehouse Capacity

    The space available in a warehouse for storing goods.


    (1) Formal and explicit approval. (2) Document (instrument) that confers authority or justifies an act that is otherwise neither permissible nor legal.


    1. Insurance
    A statement made by somebody who is being insured that the facts stated by that person are true.

    2. Legal
    A legal document that promises that a machine will work properly or that an item is of good quality.


    A person or organisation that monitors the practices of companies to ensure they are nor acting illegally.


    A design inserted into documents to prove their authenticity. For example, banknotes all carry watermarks to prevent forgery.


    Web-based seminar. A meeting, conference, etc., which is transmitted over the Internet, with each participant using their own computer to connect to the other participants.


    A person who is responsible for maintaining a website.


    An electronic magazine which is published on the Internet.


    An allowance paid to workers who live in certain areas of the country, such as London, to compensate for higher living costs.


    A quality considered to characterize an economy that is based on knowledge or other intangibles rather than on physical assets.

Well-being/wellbeing/well being

    Significant term and consideration concerning personal health and happiness in the workplace, with implications for performance, quality, organizational effectiveness and profitability. Well-being, and specifically the promotion and strategic improvement of personal well-being in the workplace, is a major extension of earlier principles and issues of stress and stress management.

Wet Lease

    An arrangement in which an airline leases an aircraft, complete with crew, insurance, etc., to another company, usually for a short period of time.

Wheeling And Dealing

    Making a profit, sometimes dishonestly, buy buying and selling things, or acting as a go-between for two parties.

What if?.. Scenarios/Modelling

    ‘What If?..’ Scenarios or Modelling is a form of planning. ‘What If?..’ is a vague and general term covering methods of predictive or creative forecasting, in which scenarios or hypothetical situations are developed, almost always by extending or extrapolating an existing or historical situation.

    ‘What If?..’ methods in planning and problem-solving commonly seek to identify and predict new events and factors which arise in addition to what may be easily assumed from basic extrapolation, and therefore entail quite a high degree of creative and imaginative input. ‘What If?..’ planning may be organized with computerised systems, or may be mapped in more basic pen-and-paper terms. Effective ‘What If?..’ methods will often involve brainstorming of one sort or another.


    An informant who lets the public or people in authority know about any wrongdoings or illegal activities within an organisation, usually the one the informant works for.

White Collar

    Refers to employees who work in offices or business rather than manual workers.

White Collar Crime

    An illegal act such as fraud, embezzlement, bribery, etc., committed by a worker in business or administrative function.

White Elephant

    A product or service that has not sold well, despite large amounts of money being pumped into its development.

White Goods

    Large domestic electrical appliances, such as cookers, washing machines, fridges, etc.

White Knight

    A company, individual, etc., who offers favourable terms in a takeover, usually saving the acquired company from a hostile takeover.


    A method used by a company that is the target of a takeover bid to prevent the takeover, in which the target company issues a large number of shares of stock below the market price to friendly investors. The company wanting to acquire the target must buy the shares in order to be successful.

White Paper

    A concise report that informs readers about a complex issue, often used to convey an organization’s philosophy and pursuade potential customers.

White Squire

    Somebody who purchases a significant, but not controlling, number of shares of stock in order to prevent a takeover bid from succeeding. A white squire is often invited to purchase the shares by the company to be acquired, and may be required to sign an agreement to prevent him or her from later becoming a black knight.

White Van Man

    A derogatory term for drivers of white commercial vans, who have a reputation for driving recklessly and intimidating car drivers by driving about three inches from their rear bumper.

Whiz Kid

    A young, exceptionally successful person, especially one who makes a lot of money in large financial transactions, including takeovers.


    The sale of goods in large quantities, usually to retailers who then sell them for a profit.

Wholesale Bank

    A bank which provides services to large organisations, financial institutions, etc., rather than individual customers.

Wholesale Price

    A price charged to customers who buy large quantities of an item for resale in smaller quantities to others.


    A business that purchases goods from a manufacturer or producer and sells them to a retailer or distributor.

Wholly-Owned Subsidiary

    A company that is completely owned by another company. A wholly-owned subsidiary is a registered company with board members who all represent one holding company or corporation. Board members may be directly from the holding company or acting as its nominees, or they may be from other wholly-owned subsidiaries of the holding company.


    A small program which is run by certain computers. A small device, switch, gadget, etc., whose name is not known.


    Wireless Fidelity. A wireless technology which enables computers, mobile phones, video games, etc., to be operated by using radio frequency.


    A sudden, unexpected sum of money or piece of good fortune received by someone.


    The legal process of closing down a company.

Window Dressing

    The practice of making a business seem more profitable or more efficient than it really is.

Wind Farm

    A large area of land, which has strong winds, on which a group of wind turbines are placed in order to produce electricity by driving generators.


    Describes a situation or arrangement in which all parties benefit or profit.


    Work in process: products that are in the process of being made. They are included in inventories and usually valued according to their production costs.

Without Prejudice

    Written on a document in legal proceedings, negotiations, etc., meaning that any information contained in the document does not affect the legal rights of a party involved in a dispute.

Without Recourse

    A legal term written on a bill of exchange which signifies that the buyer accepts the risk of non-payment from a third party, rather than the seller.

With Profits

    Describes an insurance policy which pays the sum assured plus any bonuses which may have accumulated over the term of the policy.


    A person who is addicted to work.

Working Capital

    Also known as Net Current Assets. The amount of funds which are available to a company for everyday running costs, such as wages, rent, etc.

Work In Progress

    Also called Work In Process. Work on a product, contract, etc., that a company has invested in but is not yet completed. A piece of music, art, etc., which is unfinished but may be available for viewing or listening.

Working Time Directive

    Rules set by the European Union which limits the maximum number of hours in a working week, the minimum amount of annual leave and the minimum amount of rest period in a working day to which an employee is entitled.

Work Permit

    A legal document which gives a person a right to employment in certain foreign countries.

Work Simplification

    The streamlining of business practices that attempts to eliminate tasks that do not add value to an idea or process. Tasks in a procedure are analyzed to see if unnecessary steps can be eliminated, thereby reducing complexity as much as possible, enabling workers to complete tasks more quickly. Work simplification is most suited to manufacturing processes and low-skilled jobs. It can lead to cost savings and better use of resources, but it has been criticized for resulting in workers specializing in only one task and for making work repetitive and monotonous.

World Class Manufacturing

    A position of international manufacturing excellence, achieved by developing a culture based on factors such as continuous improvement, problem prevention, zero defect tolerance, customer-driven just-in-time production, and total quality management.

World Economic Forum

    WEF. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, an non-profit, international organisation which brings together politicians, business and education leaders from all over the world to discuss ways to improve economic and social growth, health and environment issues, etc.

World Trade Organisation

    WTO. An international organisation, established in 1995, with more than 150 member nations, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO monitors international trade, helping importers and exporters conduct their business, and provides assistance to developing countries.

World Wide Web

    WWW. Also known as The Web, a computer network system in which documents are inter-linked using hypertext computer code, and allows information to be accessed using the Internet.

Wow Factor

    The instant appeal of a product, property, etc., which impresses and surprises people the first time they see it.


    The end of a film shoot when everything is finished, the set can be taken down and everyone can go.


    A written order issued by a court of law which orders someone to do, or not do, something.


    In accounting, to reduce the book value of an asset, sometimes to zero, or cancel a debt which has not been, or is unlikely to be, paid.


    In computing, protect the data on a disk or file from being accidentally deleted or edited.

Writ Of Execution

    A court order which ensures that a judgement is enforced.