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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?

  • May 28, 2008
  • Posted by pirx
  • Filed in Usage

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Hey, welcome to!

porsche May 15, 2010, 12:27pm

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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'.)

Tolken June 9, 2008, 5:32am

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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."?

subtleknife00 June 15, 2008, 4:06pm

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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!

BeeTee-Ess June 17, 2008, 4:17am

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