- For the perennial British rock band, see Status Quo (band)
Status quo is a Latin term meaning the present current, existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep things the way they presently are. Compare it with status quo ante, meaning "the state of things as it was before."
The concept of status quo comes from the diplomatic term status quo ante bellum, meaning "as it was before war," referring to the withdraw of enemy troops and restoration of power to prewar leadership.
Arguing to preserve the status quo is usually done in the context of opposing a large, often radical change. The term frequently refers to the status of a large issue, such as the current culture or social climate of an entire society or nation.
Politicians sometimes refer to a status quo. Sometimes there is a policy of deliberate ambiguity, referring to the status quo rather than formalizing the status. An example of political ambiguity is the political status of Taiwan. Clark Kerr is reported to have said, "The status quo is the only solution that cannot be vetoed," meaning that the status quo cannot simply be decided against; action must be taken if it is to change.
Laurence J. Peter is reported to have said, "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status."
Peter Senge (1999) "...collaboration is vital to sustain what we call profound or really deep change, because without it, organizations are just overwhelmed by the forces of the status quo."