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"rzed" (Email Removed) wrote on 08 Nov 2003:
There is, of course, a difference between "subordinates" and "direct reports" the manager with seven of the latter could ... don't report directly to him. It's not just linguistic fluff in this case; it's a different way of ordering reality.[/nq]Reality isn't expressed by "I have seven direct reports". The manager with those 7 direct reports has seven lower-lever managers each in charge of 100 employees (that's one possibility, anyway, but there could be more ranks below those seven). While the manager of those 7 is also ultimately responsible for the entire crew of 707 subordinates, those 700 two steps away are not what RJV calls, rightly, "immediate subordinates". Each person in any organization has an immediate superior, and that includes the immediate superiors they also have immediate superiors.

In my case it is my department chairman. He reports to the Dean of the College of Humanities, and he reports to the president of the university, who must report to the board of trustees, who must all report to the Ministry of Education and the Taiwanese equivalent of the SEC (my uni is a private corporation), etc.
Calling "an immediate subordinate" "a direct report" is linguistic fluff.
Hi, my native language is German, and sometimes you cannot translate words 1:1. So in German we have the word ... AM. 4) In our company, 7 report to me, so I have 7 Thanks in advance! Regards, Bob

How about:-
4) In our company, 7 people report to me. So I have 7 staff.
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There is, of course, a difference between "subordinates" and "direct ... in this case; it's a different way of ordering reality.

Reality isn't expressed by "I have seven direct reports". The manager with those 7 direct reports has seven lower-lever managers ... of the SEC (my uni is a private corporation), etc. Calling "an immediate subordinate" "a direct report" is linguistic fluff.

Okay, but you changed the game. "Immediate subordinates" as a term is not the same as "subordinates."
In my company's organization, there are situations where, for example, one vice-president will directly report to another (for a particular project, say); in that case, the "direct reports" are not, organizationally speaking, subordinate at all. I do agree that for most purposes the hierarchical relationship exists, and in those cases, it's fair to call renaming the situation linguistic fluff. It's fairly harmless fluff in this case, I think. There's no particular need to emphasize the master/slave relationship at every turn.

rzed
"rzed" (Email Removed) wrote on 08 Nov 2003:
Okay, but you changed the game. "Immediate subordinates" as a term is not the same as "subordinates." In my company's ... fairly harmless fluff in this case, I think. There's no particular need to emphasize the master/slave relationship at every turn.

I wouldn't call it a master/slave relationship. Slaves don't have the option of quitting, and masters do have the right to dispose of their slaves as they would any other property. The superior/subordinate relationship is simply one that defines levels of authority and responsibility, and usually for a good reason. I am all in favor of knowing who has the authority to say and do what in a business situation and who is reponsibile for what.When I was in the US Navy, for example, I understood the lines of authority very well, but I also knew very well when I could overstep those lines and get down and dirty with my Lieutenant Commander department head (I was a lowly E-4 at the time, but I did make it to E-5). He pulled some sneaky *** on me and I stepped into his office the next day and told him that he had no business doing things behind my back.

After all, he was the officer and I was an enlisted man. I also told him never to speak directly to me again and that if he ever had anything to say to me, he could tell it to my chief petty officer. He wasn't my master and I was by no means his slave. He was scared shitless of me. He had no balls at all. I used to pull other officers' chains as well.
I like to call a spade a spade, to be clich├ęd about it all. Knowing where everyone is on the company personnel flow chart keeps the air in the office clear and nothing becomes too cozy or fuzzy. That's why I'm a university teacher and a self-employed medical editor. I am both master and slave (to use your terminology) in each position.
As someone else in this thread pointed out, the word is being replaced by "direct report". So the manage says "I have seven direct reports". What's the difference? Linguistic fluff doesn't change reality.

I think many feel it has a more professional sound to it.
People who need to brag about how many other people are required to report to them are egomanics of the first order and would probably not make it to manager status.

I didn't see anything in the example given that was bragging. It's fairly common to make those statements in a factual way, especially for resumes. "I worked as a manager in aircraft wing design, where I had three direct reports, all design engineers."
Brian Rodenborn
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The term "direct report" is becoming popular of the second usage. More egalitarian than subordinate, perhaps?

Never heard of it, but that means nothing. I'm not a businessman anymore and I no longer live in the US. In Taiwan, everyone is "staff".

I merely report what I experience.
Egalitarianism in the office is nonsense if there is a vertical structure of authority and responsibility.

Not at all. While your supervisor has responsibility for detailing tasks and tracking progress, the individual employee is encouraged to show initiative and set the appropriate goals and objectives. Now of course, it's the supervisor that will evaluate you or tell you when what you are doing doesn't seem to fit with the established plan.
Supervisors have subordinates. If A reports directly to B, then B is a managerial superior, not an equal. Why create stupid illusions that mask reality?

I don't care much one way or the other, but on the whole the change in supervisor from a "boss" to a person who guides and motivates you do well is a welcome one. Part of that change is a change in terms. Like it or not, "superior" and "subordinate" carry connotations that don't foster such an atmosphere. I've been working in engineering 22 years now, I remember how it was and I see how it is now. Things are different to a degree.
Just to massage egos? That's another reason I don't live in the USA: egalitarianism is about as substantial as a hologram.

If you want to think it is all smoke and mirrors, be my guest. I can only report on what happens where I work.
Brian Rodenborn
Ah, I see that you work at Boeing. So did I once, way before your time. That was a great change for me from working at Lockheed, as I was fortunate enough to join one of Boeing's "country club" organizations the corporate Electrodynamics Laboratories. While waiting to do some fascinating logic design, I was drafted to also do a bit of tech editing. Fun, fun, fun.

Boss-wise, I can't even recall if I had one. No, I'm lying, there was one, but he was just one of us boys. Great work environment, it was.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
Ah, I see that you work at Boeing.

I do now, although most of my career it was McDonnell, until the great "merger".
Brian Rodenborn
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Ah, I see that you work at Boeing.

I do now, although most of my career it was McDonnell, until the great "merger".

Ah, does that mean that you are not in the Seattle area? (I was.)
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
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