Submitted by pirx on May 28, 2008

Resource (singular) used when referring to a person

I feel a bit offended when someone uses “resource” when referring to an individual. I find this use quite popular especially in the IT world. I know that American Heritage Dictionary defines, among others, a resource as:

[...] 2. resources The total means available to a company for increasing production or profit, including plant, labor, and raw material; assets. 3. Such means considered individually.

Is using “a resource” when referring to a person a bad style? Am I overreacting?


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Hey, welcome to!

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The use of 'resource' in this context is a device which permits corporate Human Resources managers (shameful job title!) to treat people as objects to be disposed, without regard to the human consequences.

I am a person, NOT a resource!

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It may not be incorrect, but it smacks too much of jargon and objectivation.

Bob is Bob, he <i>is</i> a person. Why not say: "Bob will be responsible for documentation on this project."?

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As long as you're strict about why you say 'resource' instead of 'person', there shouldn't be a problem.

There's no reason not to say: "Bob is the documentation resource for this project." - indeed that is more precise than calling Bob a 'documentation person'. Use of 'resource' gets dodgy when employed as the signular of 'personnel' or 'staff'. (Amazing how few people realize that 'person' is the singular of 'personnel'.)

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