company man

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company man ‎(plural company men)

  1. (idiomatic) A male employee who has a great—and often, in the view of others, an excessivecommitment to serving the interests of the organization which employs him.
    • 1957 Feb. 16, Ralph Bernstein (AP), "Bell ‘Savior’ of Pro Football," Spokesman-Review (USA), p. 58 (retrieved 12 July 2012):
      [B]oth sides accuse him of favoring the other. Certain players have accused him of being a company man.
    • 1981, Donald Alan Messerschmidt, Anthropologists at Home in North America, ISBN 9780521240673, p. 226:
      What was expected of men, it seemed, was to be a company man. Foster (1969:156) refers to this as the assumption that "achievement of organizational goals represents the highest value."
    • 1997 Aug. 21, James Sterngold, "Leo Jaffe, Hollywood Deal Maker, Dies at 88," New York Times (retrieved 12 July 2012):
      "He was an old-fashioned company man. He lived and breathed Columbia Pictures."
    • 2007 Sep. 26, Richard Corliss, "John Ford at Fox," Time:
      Like virtually every other director in the '30s and '40s, Ford was obliged to be a company man, rankling under his boss's gaze.
  2. (idiomatic) A spy or other operative of an intelligence service, especially the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency.
    • 1990 Nov. 20, Michael Wines, "Washington at Work: After 30 Years in Shadows, a Spymaster Emerges," New York Times (retieved 13 July 2012):
      But many say he nevertheless is more in the mold of the quiet, no-questions-asked company men who built the C.I.A. in the 1960's and 70's and ran it in the 80's.
    • 2008 Nov. 24, James Luxford, "REVIEW: Body Of Lies," (retrieved 13 July 2012):
      Body of Lies is set in the grim and violent world of Middle East counter-terrorism. Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) is the CIA’s man on the front line. . . . His every move is instructed and monitored by his boss Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), a fast-talking and amoral company man running the war on terrorism via satellite.
  3. (idiomatic) A male homosexual.