Job Titles as Substitutes for Improvement

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
I've long been fascinated by the evolution of job titles. Not just the changing of titles, but the apparent belief that making a job title sound more impressive will somehow enhance a person's status or the perception of the importance of a job. In most cases the change represents a distinction without a difference; there is no intrinsic value in what a job is called, except perhaps to make an incumbent feel more important, or to make an executive feel that she is managing more important functions.

We've seen Quality Control become Quality Assurance, and Data Processing become Information Technology and Personnel Managers now work in Human Resources. With the possible exception of QA these distinctions are meaningless; the work being done hasn't substantively changed. In the case of QA, the work might have changed, but substituting "assurance" for "control" is mostly meaningless.

What brings all of this to mind this morning is an article in my local paper about the search for a new superintendent of the public school system. One of the candidates is the current Chief of Human Capital Initiatives in a New York state school district. So now we see a title morph in the making: Personnel-->Human Resources-->Human Capital.

In look around the interwebz I find that "Human Capital" is now being used mostly by government agencies, especially at the federal level. We have, for example, the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has a web page devoted to (broken link removed) which has this enlightening bit of information:
The strategic management of human capital requires comprehensive planning and analysis in order to develop, implement, and evaluate programs that support every facet of employee work life. Commerce human capital initiatives are designed to support continuous improvement and accountability in accordance with the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework (HCAAF) criteria used by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Commerce is proud to be consistently ranked as one the Federal Government's "Best Places to Work."
That last bit is equivalent, I think, to saying that the Commerce Department is a relatively cool corner of Hell.

My theory is that one telling sign of incompetent management consists in the phenomenon of renaming things as subterfuge for improvement. This is consistent with George Orwell's famous observation that political speech is deliberately intended to "...give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

Director of Sentient-Being Assets has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
 
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ralphsulser

Re: Job Titles as Subsitutes for Improvement

:horse::horse:
George Orwell's famous observation that political speech is deliberately intended to "...give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

Director of Sentient-Being Assets has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

How about Director of Equine Excrement:cool::horse:
 
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DrM2u

Re: Job Titles as Subsitutes for Improvement

I never was a big fan of titles. If I am a company of one, I might cary the tile of president but, like Jim said, I probalby would even do the sanitation (toilet) duty. One can say that I am trully the king of my empire.

I agree, work is mostly the same although it is constantly impacted by new technology and concepts. It is very probable that tiles were changed to hide incompetence and lack of improvement. It is also very probable that tiles were changed to substitute for other types of emplyee incentives and motivation tools. "Hey, congratulations! You're not the floor sweeper anyomore! From now on you'll be our sanitation manager. By the way, you will not have any subordonates." Oh, wait ... isnt this going back to incompetent management?!? :bonk:
 
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