What's in a name? Boss? LO7019

Michael McMaster (Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk)
Sun, 28 Apr 1996 13:35:06 +0000

Replying to LO6987 --

Bill, if others think you're overdoing at speaking against the word
"boss" they probably have little appreciation of language at all.

This is a modern word which implies control over others and the power
of authority. I haven't its origins so far but I can find it in use
in reference to slaves. The closest I've been able to find is that
it comes from Dutch and finds its earliest use in South Africa . The
Dutch means "master" and the SA secret police were called BOSS.

It isn't to be found in my standby 1890
Scottish dictionary - except as "a knob or stud as in a raised
ornament" or in Collins as "an area of increased thickness" and "a
rounded mass of rock". (Maybe it isn't so misused after all.)

Now, if I can, I'll take it farther than Bill because I think this
largely unconscious management language is a serious impediment to
our thinking as well as our communication. Bill himself uses the
term I am after - "report to".

While "reporting to" in any instance is not a particularly
one-up/one-down situation of itself, it is mainly unnecessary. It
implies something other than "reporting". When, however, "reporting
to" describes a relationship, there is necessarily built in something
more than a transactional or committed basis.

I do not "report to" those with whom I have contracts or other
committed relationships as a defining characteristic of that
relationship. I do report to such people from time to time. The
defining characteristic, however, is one of mutual intention to
realise some end.

Could it be that, at its best (which is not very good), we use
"reporting to" in place of the doing the work of being clear about
accountabilities and measures of same?

Bill, keep up the active communication in the matter!

Michael McMaster :   Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk
book cafe site   :   http://www.vision-nest.com/BTBookCafe
Intelligence is the underlying organisational principle
    of the universe.    Heraclitus 	

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