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I have a table employee

| emp_id | emp_name | manager_id |
| 1      | abc      |    2       |
| 2      | pqr      |    3       |
| 3      | xyz      |    n       |
| ....   | .....    |    ....    |

I need result in following format:

| Emp_name | Manager_name |
| abc      |  pqr         |
| pqr      |  xyz         |
| ....     |  ....        |

How to get result in this format? Plz help..

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Please tell us what concrete database system this is for - many things are vendor-specific. Are you using MySQL? Postgres? SQL Server? Oracle? IBM DB2? Something else entirely? Please update your tags to show what database system (and which version of it!) you're using - thanks! – marc_s Nov 24 '13 at 10:24
@marc_s: Thanks. I am using MySQL. Updated the tag. – Abhishek Nov 24 '13 at 15:29
up vote 2 down vote accepted

A join to the same table is going to have the same syntax as a join to a different table.

If there will always be a value in manager_id, then you can use an INNER JOIN.

If the manager_id might be NULL or have an invalid value (someone's application decided to use a sentinel value like -1 because "nulls are hard")) then you're looking at a LEFT OUTER JOIN.

Usually the quick way to answer that question is to find the CEO/President/Top Dog and look at how they were stored.

    E1.emp_name AS Emp_name
,   COALESCE(E2.emp_name, 'Unknown') AS Manager_name
    -- Change this join type as required by your data
        EMPLOYEE AS E2
        ON E2.emp_id = E1.manager_id

The COALESCE function is going to use the first non-null entry in the list.

SQLFiddle for MySQL implementation

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Yes, you can do a self join, to the same table with another alias.

However, what you want to do looks like a hierarchy, or tree structure. Doing this through a parent or manager ID relation looks easy in the first place, but is a pain and heavy load when you want to retrieve for example the boss through multiple levels, or all employees under a certain manager.

You then need multiple queries or self join levels, not knowing how many.

Check for example Nested Sets or variants of Closure Tables as an alternative when implementing a hierarchy, then you have left/right values and between them all subordinates.

Nested Sets may be good for trees with mainly read access, closure tables have a lot of data (no problem for a company hierarchy) but are best when updated frequently.

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