Sunday, June 26, 2011

the Master-mate Versus Mate-cadet relationship

The first set of the relationship, that is, between master and mate is that of devolution of power. That is, a mate is like an official successor to the master and therefore liable to act as his official secretary to be able to take charge of his seat in the event of absence or incapacity of the master. It is on the lines of devolution of power that a mate can counter-sign, or even in-lieu signature a piece of document and then the document has to be treated as legally binding. In the study of subject called Public Administration this is how the relationship is understood.
Further, a mate is less into a private assistance to the master; is seen as work colleague to master; and his commentary about the choices and decisions of a master cannot be overlooked, for they are signals of what is likely to come back to the organisation as decision or choices away in the future.
On the other hand, the mate-cadet relationship is to be seen merely as a secretary relationship, whereby a cadet is an apprentice or an intern only. The cadet is to be seen as a person who is yet to overcome many barriers to be able to rise to the rank of his mentor, the mate. A cadet is not yet formally qualified, and is supposedly learning by being a personal assistant to the mate, or master as his current assignment may be. Of course, the term personal assistant is not to mean group of services which are too intimate to be taken from any of the work colleagues, such as a personal body massage or cloth washing or a dish making, but the realm of work is still that of low-skilled errands, such as file and record management, ordinary day-to-day work which are requiring low-skills such as compass error, position-plotting, look-out duties, valve operations, routine record-upkeep, etc. As a part of his training, the mate should train him such as to be able to act his own duties in his absence. This is not to mean that cadet can be seen as a due successor of his mentor, because a formal qualification for the rank is still absence although a mechanical, a thoughtlessly working robotic substitute, has been produced. Therefore, a cadet’s signature cannot be treated as in-lieu signature. At the most they can only mean to indicate the actual performer of the job , if an analysis of the record is to be carried out ever. In my thinking, such signing can and should be accepted for the purpose of avoiding a systemic hypocrisy.
The Public Administration courseware describes the job of a secretary in the same manner. In fact, the signatures of a secretary cannot be disregarded for works which are analytically in-significant, such as receiving a courier mail, or sending a parcel, or producing an inventory, etc. But they cannot be regarded a rightful for works which are consequential to the organisation such as passing a money-bill, signing an official letter or circular, etc. A secretary should be expected to be in custody of all the personal and official information about his mentor while also being expected to be not formally qualified to suitably analyse the information he is in-charged with.
The publically known big brand examples of such relationships in actual Public Administration are that of PMO and the cabinet secretary. The PM-PMO relationship can be seen as analogous to mate-cadet relationship whereas the PM-Cabinet Secretary relationship can be seen as Master-mate relationship. In fact, in the example given, the PMO is more close to the PM who is also the reporting authority for the Cabinet secretary. The appointment profile of the people can however confirm the nature of relationship. The PMO generally has more of young and fresh probationers, whereas the Cabinet Secretary is usually the senior most bureaucrat in the circle of top-notch secretaries. All the formal orders for rest of the bureaucrats come from the rank of cabinet secretary whereas the PMO is only providing the secretarial services of record-keeping and personal assistance to the Prime Minister. The appointments to the PMO are also under the instructions of Cabinet Secretary. But when publicly viewed, the PMO appears to be closer and more powerful league than the cabinet secretary.
In real cases of shipping, ‘complaints’ of such occurrence can be heard if a master keeps any particular cadet closer to himself.
Owing to his being an untrained viewer, a common man can be assumed to be missing-out on appropriate understanding of these relationships as a case of sycophancy or even favouritism. But unless there are a justifiable grounds or the evidence to the charges, the normal relation is such a way designed by its own customary practises to give this misplaced impressions