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In a restricted sense, it is the act of imposing penalties for wrong
behaviour (negative); broadly speaking, it is a condition of orderliness,
where employees willingly practice self control and respect organisational
rules and codes of conduct (positive). The differences between the two
sides of the same coin could be expressed thus:
The differences between positive and
negative discipline
P o in t N e g a tiv e D is c ip lin e P o s itiv e D is c ip lin e
C oncept I t i s a d h e r e n c e t o e s t a b li s h e d n o r m s I t is th e c r e a t io n o f a c o n d u c iv e c lim a t e
a n d r e g u la t i o n s , o u t o f f e a r o f in a n o r g a n is a ti o n s o t h a t e m p lo y e e s
p u n is h m e n t. w i ll in g ly c o n f o r m t o t h e e s t a b l is h e d r u le s .
C o n f lic t E m p lo y e e s d o n o t p e rc e iv e th e T h e r e is n o c o n f l ic t b e t w e e n in d iv id u a l
c o r p o r a t e g o a ls a s t h e ir o w n . a n d o r g a n i s a t io n a l g o a ls .
S u p e r v is i o n R e q u ir e s i n t e n s e s u p e r v is o r y c o n t r o l E m p lo y e e s e x e r c is e s e lf c o n t r o l t o m e e t
to p r e v e n t e m p lo y e e s fr o m g o in g o ff o r g a n is a t io n a l o b je c t i v e s .
th e tra c k .


Causes of Indiscipline
 Absence of effective leadership
 Unfair management practices
 Communication barriers
 Non-uniform disciplinary action
 Divide and rule policies
 Inadequate attention to personnel problems

Positive/ Progressive Discipline
The positive discipline, based upon reminders, is a cooperative
discipline approach where employees responsibility for the desired
behavioural change. The focus is on coping with the unsatisfactory
performance and dissatisfactions of employees before the problems
become major.

Steps in positive discipline approach

Step 1: An Oral Reminder: The oral reminder supported by written documentation,
serves as the initial formal phase of the process to identify to the employee what work
problems he or she is having. This reminder is designed to identify what is causing the
problem and attempts to correct it before it becomes larger.
Step 2: A Written Reminder: If the oral reminder was unsuccessful, a more
formalised version is implemented. This written reminder once again reinforces what
the problems are and what corrective action is necessary. Furthermore, specific
time tables that the employee must accept and abide by, and the
consequences for failing to comply, are often included.
Step 3: A Decision-making Leave: Here, employees are given a decision-making
leave—time off from work, usually with pay—to think about what they are doing and
whether or not they desire to continue work with the company: This “deciding
day” is designed to allow the employee an opportunity to make a choice—correct
the behaviour, or face separation from the company.
The Progressive Discipline Approach
Im p ro p e r b e h a v io u r

D o e s th is v io la t io n N o N o d is c ip lin a r y
w a r r a n t d is c ip lin a r y a c tio n
a c tio n ?
Ye s

D o e s t h is v io la t io n N o O ra l
w a rra n t m o re th a n w a rn in g
a n o r a l w a r n in g ?
Ye s

D o e s th is v io la t io n N o W r it t e n
w a rra n t m o re th a n w a rn in g
a w ritte n w a rn in g ?

Ye s

D o e s th is v io la t io n N o
w a rra n t m o re th a n S u s p e n s io n
a s u s p e n s io n ?

Ye s

Te r m in a tio n

Progressive Discipline Approach

The Red Hot Stove Rule
This rule states that discipline should be immediate, consistent, impersonal
and should be in writing.
Disciplinary Action in India
The disciplinary action followed in most Indian companies consists of the
following steps:
 Issuing a letter of charge
 Considering the explanation offered by the employee
 Issuing a show cause notice
 Holding an enquiry based on” principles of natural justice”

Progressive Discipline Approach

Principle of natural justice :
Giving a fair chance to employee to explain his case thoroughly
Enabling the employee to cross examine the evidence furnished by
Explain his own point of view without any fear or pressure
See that punishment is in line with the offence committed.
 Making a final order of punishment consisting of various actions such as:
Demotion to a lower grade
Withholding of increments
Imposing fines
Issuing a warning
Initiating follow up action.

Essentials of A Good Disciplinary System

 Rules and performance criteria
 Documentation of facts
 Consistent response to rule violations
 Training of supervisors
 Prompt action
 Impersonal discipline
 Reasonable penalty
 Follow up