What's in a name? Boss? LO7406

Bill Fulkerson (fulkerson_william_f@90.deere.com)
Sun, 12 May 1996 22:54:59 -0500

In reply to ...What's in a name? Boss? LO7246

Although I generally agree with your concepts, I shall take exception with
you. Insiders must take different positions than consultants because our
performance metrics are different. Perhaps the following comments will

Michael McMaster wrote
> Your challenges are really wonderful because they come from a view
> that there is nothing wrong that needs fixing. Better , they come
> from someone who honours and respects the system. There is no room
> for righteousness in a response - only for seeking openings for
> action, improvement, freedom, value.

Rather I come from the position of an insider who must choose what he is
willing to do in the process of change. I was instrumental in
establishing Genetic Algorithm based assembly line sequencing in my
company, have initiated the application of Artificial Life multi-agent
concurrent object simulation to supply chain management, and am pursuing
application of database mining to warranty data analysis.

I can contribute solutions to strategic problems. I can model the behavior
of a contributing employee. I can dialog with others about organizations.
I choose not to intervene with the management style of others.

> My intention isn't even to replace the words. My intention is to
> transform them so that they have left baggage behind and then change
> them if appropriate.Your a better man than I!

> I understand that your manager represents the hierarchy *that does
> exist* and that you respect the control function of the hierarchy for
> the whole. I suspect your respect is for the organisation and its
> control functions and they just happen to be manifest in hierarchy in
> this instance.

Yes, the logical organizational structure for a 160 year old company
is a form of hierarchy.


> In my notes here I'm trying to distinguish "reporting" from "to".[snipped]
> It is the named relationship between people that I am after changing
> here. If I "report to" you, as a description of my relationship,
> then I suggest that there is something implied that will suggest a
> power relationship - and that it's built into the conversation.

Yes, there is a power relationship. I choose to accept that relationship
as a condition of employeement. Someone must set the business context and
pay the lawyers. :)

> The question is, "Is
> management the right term to use and what do we intend by it in the
> world of new organisations?"No. But it is a current reality in most organizations.

> The route I am currently pursuing to transform this is to suggest
> that, whatever is managed, it isn't people. Maybe we manage
> conversations. Maybe we manage environments. Maybe we are only
> describing sets of accountabilities when we refer to managers and do
> not mean that they necessarily "manage" anything.[snipped]
> There is, in my opinion, little value in attacking these words
> individually. It is the system of language that we need to transform
> whether through invention of new words, new uses of old works, new
> operational definitions or some combination of all.

As an insider, this is done by modelling behaviors that achieve success
over time rather than arguing for changing the language. Most of my peers
will tolerate my opinion of BOSS but would discount me if I tried to
change the use of the word MANAGER.

Bill Fulkerson


Bill Fulkerson <fulkerson_william_f@90.deere.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>