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In the economy , employees are workers who work for a company , an authority or an institution or are involved in a project .


From the term employee it can be deduced that he works together with other, i.e. further employees . Due to the change in many areas of the economy, the differentiation between white-collar workers and blue-collar workers is becoming increasingly less important, so that the term “employee” has advanced as a neutral collective term for white-collar workers and workers, for freelancers to differentiate themselves from white-collar workers, but also for voluntary workers. With the university reform, the generic term "academic staff" was introduced for all members of the academic mid- level. There is a research assistant at federal judicial authorities or in parliament .

The collective term employee has become so firmly established that it is used in compound words such as employee surveys , employee participation , employee evaluation , employee appraisals or employee monitoring.


In Reinhard Höhn's leadership apprenticeship , the employee is one of the central terms of the Harzburg model . According to this, the employee is given a clearly defined area of ​​responsibility in which the superior may only intervene in special exceptional cases, for example in the case of acute danger or as part of the supervision . The employees are assigned tasks , powers and responsibilities by way of delegation , with the employee being responsible for action and the line manager being responsible for management . The separation between the two types of responsibility clarifies who is responsible for failure to stand up and developing accountability has to take over.

Usage of the term today

The term “subordinate” used to be part of the vocabulary of the absolutist military and administrative order and was adopted from there in the factory . Today the term employee is used instead of the word “subordinate” in bureaucratic hierarchies , which is associated with an authoritarian leadership style . In the concept of management by delegation , the term subordinate is sometimes still used because a clear hierarchy between superiors and subordinates is the basis. The word subordinate is only used as a legal term in the case of the offense of inducing a subordinate to commit a criminal offense under Section 357 of the Criminal Code .

Today the term employees on the other hand is generally preferred because in their own initiative acting staff is paramount and no longer the will enforce executives passive, subjugated object. In this reading, workers of the same rank are referred to as colleagues to distinguish between them .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Staff  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Horst-Joachim Rahn , company management . 9th edition Herne 2015, pp. 227-233, ISBN 978-3-470-43019-5
  2. ^ Walter A. Oechsler , Personnel and Work . 8th edition Munich / Vienna 2006, p. 238
  3. Werner Heinrichs, Hochschulmanagement , 2010, p. 221
  4. Reinhard Höhn / Gisela Böhme, Management Brevier der Wirtschaft , 1974, p. 9
  5. Reinhard Höhn / Gisela Böhme, Management Brevier der Wirtschaft , 1974, p. 10
  6. Reinhard Höhn / Gisela Böhme, Management Brevier der Wirtschaft , 1974, p. 11 f.
  7. ^ Academy for Business Executives -Middle Management (ed.), Leadership in Business: Festschrift for the tenth anniversary of the Academy for Business Executives [1956-1966] , 1966, p. 18
  8. Manfred Richter, Personalführung , 3rd edition Stuttgart 1994, p. 6