In the simplest meaning of the term “to report to someone,” the supervisor whom you report to is the one who can hire you, fire you, decide what your pay is, and decide on promotions. The sound byte is hire, fire, pay and promote.
Another aspect of a reporting relationship ought to be mentioned. The person you report to is also a person whom you should communicate with its something significant happens. Third, one’s supervisor typically assigns some amount of the workload.
I have previously collected posts on decentralized reporting of lawyers (See my post of Aug. 5, 2008: decentralized reporting with 7 references.).
Other posts look at aspects of reporting aside from centralized or decentralized (See my post of May 7, 2006: solid line/dotted line reporting; March 23, 2007: solid line reporting at Raytheon July 3, 2007: shared services and solid line reporting at NCR; Dec. 14, 2005: “functional” reporting at Shell; March 1, 2006: “functional dotted line reporting”; Feb 15, 2006: “matrix” reporting; Aug. 27, 2005: “double solid-line matrix”; Feb. 15, 2006: matrix reporting at Unilever; May 2, 2008: matrix reporting at Siemens; Aug. 2, 2006: Qualcomm’s reporting lines; July 30, 2005: dual reporting of specialists; July 31, 2005: specialists and dual reporting; and June 24, 2007: Cadbury Schweppes.).