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Discipline is required for both the organization and the individual. In the
organization it is needed to regulate the behavior of people, maintain peace and
channel their efforts towards organizational goal. Sad to sate, most people do not
exercise self discipline and this fact makes external control necessary for brining
order within an organization.
Discipline is not a glamorous term. It is viewed with fear and suspicion in
organization. The multiple explanation advanced by different expert in the filed have
only added to the prevailing confusion.
Traditionally, discipline is interpreted as a sort of check or restraint on the freedom
of person. Discipline is used to the act of imposing penalties for wrong behavior. If
employees fail to observe rules, they are punished. “Discipline is the force that
prompts an individual or a group to observe the rules, regulations and procedures
which are deemed to be necessary to the attainment of an objective,”
Employees comply with rules not out fear of punishment but out of an inherent
desire to cooperate and achieve goals. Where the organizational climate is market by
two-way communication, clear goals, effective leadership, adequate compensation
employees need not be discipline in the traditional way. Positive discipline, according
to Spriegel enables an employee, “to have a greater freedom in that he enjoys a
greater degree of self-expression in striving to achieve the objective, which he
identifies as his own.”
2)DIFFEREANCE BETWEEN POSITIVE & NEGATIVE DISCIPLINE :
It is adherence to established
norms and regulation, out of
fear of punishment.
It is the creation of a
conductive climate in an
organization so that employees
willingly confirm to the
Employees do not perceptive
the corporate goals as there
There is no conflict between
individual and organizational
Supervision Require intense supervisory
control to prevent employees
from going off the track.
Employees exercise self-
control to meet organizational
3)SELF DISCIPLINE AND CONTROL:
Behavioral scientist view discipline as a self- control to meet organizational
objectives. Megginson clarified the term thus. “By self- discipline he mans the
training that correct, moulds and strengthens. It refers to one’s efforts at self control to
certain needs and demands. This form of discipline is raised on to psychological
principles. First, punishment seldom produce the desired result. Often, it produce
undesirable result. Second, a self- respecting person tends to be a better worker than
one who is not.”
The concept o progressive discipline states that penalties must be appropriate to
the violation. If inappropriate behaviour is minor in nature and has not previously
occurred an oral may be sufficient. If the violation requires a written warning, it must
be done according to a procedure. After written warnings, if the conduct of the
employees is still not along desired lines, serious punitive steps could be initiated. In
case of major violations such has hitting a supervisor may justify the termination of an
employee immdiately. In order to assist a manager to recognize the proper level of
disciplinary action, some firms have formalized the procedure.
5)THE RED HOT STOVE RULE:
Without the continual support of the subordinate, no manager can get things done.
But disciplinary action against a delinquent employee is painful and generates
resentment on his part.
According to the Red Hot Stove rule disciplinary action should have following
A} Burns immediately: If disciplinary action is to be taken, it must occur
immediately so the individual will understand the reason for it. With the passage of
time, people have tendency to convince themselves that they are not fault.
B} provides warning: It is very important to provide advance warning that
punishment will follow unacceptable behaviour. As you move closer to hot stove you
are warned by its heat that will be burned.
C} Burns impersonally: Disciplinary action should be impersonal. There are no
favorites when this approach is followed.
6)JUSTICAL APPROCH TO DISCIPLINE:
The Industrial Employment Act was passed in 1946 with a view to improve the
industrial relation climate. The Act requires that all establishment must define the
service rules and prepare standing order. The term Standing order refers to the rules
and regulation which governs the condition of employment of workers. They indicate
duties and responsibility on the part of both the employer and the employees. The
standing order contains rules relating to classification of employees, working hours,
holidays, shift working, attendance, leave, suspension, stoppage of work, redreassal of
these terms and condition may lead to misconduct or indciplpine.
Though there is no rigid and specific procedure for taking disciplinary action, the
disciplinary procedure followed in Indian industries usually consist of the following
a.Issuing the letter of charge : When a employee commits an act of misconduct
that required disciplinary action, the employee concerned should be issue a charge
sheet. Charges of misconduct or indiscipline should be clearly and precisely stated
in the charge sheet.
b.Consideration of explanation : On getting the answer for the letter of charge
served, the explanation furnished be consider and if it is a satisfactory, no
disciplinary action need be taken. On the contrary when the management is not
satisfied with the employees explanation there is a need for serving a show-cause
c.Show-cause notice : Show-cause notice is issued by the manager when he believes
that there is a sufficient prima facie evidence of employees misconduct. Enquiry
should also initiated by first serving him a notice of enquiry indicating clearly the
name of enquiring officer, time, date and place of enquiry etc.
d.Holding of a full fledge enquiry : These must be in conformity with the principle
of natural justice, that is the employee concerned must be given an opportunity, of
being heard. When the process of enquiry is over an findings of the same are
record, the enquiry officer should suggest the nature of disciplinary action.
8)DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PRACTICE:-
Using the disciplinary process
There are two main areas where the disciplinary system is used:
capability/performance and conduct.
It is inevitable that at some stage all employers will encounter difficulties with the
performance of their employees in the workplace (these can stem from difficulties on
the part of the organization such as insufficient training and support, or a lack of
leadership or inappropriate systems of work, as well as the individual who is
struggling to fulfill their responsibilities). It is good practice and also more efficient
that such issues are addressed informally, as and when they arise, by managers via
discussions which clarify 'what good performance looks like', goal setting, support
and timely positive feedback where appropriate. Only when these options have been
exhausted and where there is no alternative should managers should enter a more
formal disciplinary procedure.
Situations where an individual is unable to do their job because of ill-health also fall
into this category. In these instances an employee should be dealt with
sympathetically and offered support. However, unacceptable levels of absence could
still result in the employer making use of warnings.
Employee misconduct could range from continued lateness, failure to follow a
reasonable management instruction, abuse of the organization’s computer system or
Internet access, bullying behaviour or creating a hostile work environment, through to
theft, fighting and committing criminal offences. The more grave offences may
constitute gross misconduct. In all cases, even gross misconduct, an employer should
attempt to follow the statutory procedures.
Stages of the process
If disciplinary action is to be taken, it should always have three main stages:
There must always be a full and fair investigation to determine the facts and to decide
if further action is necessary.
All records should be kept meticulously, as this will be vital should a case be
perused at an employment tribunal. Since the burden of proof is on the employer to
show that the dismissal is not unfair or unreasonable, keeping records is vital. Type of
records that should be kept by employers is minutes of meetings, attendance, notes of
telephone calls, copies of correspondence etc.
Handing disciplinary interviews
All line managers should be trained and supported so that they are able to carry out
disciplinary meetings with their team. The HR department should be able to assist
them by providing a source of independent advice on preparing for and conducting
the interview, as well as sharing knowledge about similar cases in the organization
and relevant legislation.
The key points to consider are:
Ensure you have investigated all the facts in advance (including consulting the
individual's personal file for relevant information) and plan how you will approach
Make sure the employee knows from the letter inviting them to the meeting why they
have been asked to attend and that they have a right to have a companion present.
Make sure the individual has reasonable notice, ideally more than 48 hours; so that
they have a chance to arrange an appropriate representative if they wish.
Make sure another member of management can be there to take detailed notes and
Conduct the interview.
Never pre-judge the outcome of the interview before hearing the employee's
Start the interview by stating the complaint to the employee and giving appropriate
statements from people involved.
Give the employee ample opportunity to put forward their side of the story and call
any supporting witnesses.
You can also call witnesses, but they can only be in the room for the relevant part of
the interview - not the duration.
Make use of adjournments: always take a break to consider and obtain any extra
information you need before reaching your decision. You can also use if things
become heated or people are upset during the interview.
Deliver the decision (and give reasons, taking into account any mitigating
circumstances), confirm review periods and ensure you give details of how to appeal.
Confirm the decision in writing.
It is important that everyone involved in disciplinary action understand the
importance of following the correct procedure, as even if the case against an
employee seems proven, they can still be deemed to have been treated unfairly if the
correct procedures are not followed.
An individual is entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union
official at formal disciplinary and grievance interviews, and to select a companion of
their choice. It would be good practice for an employer also to offer this at any purely
After the meeting, the employer may decide that no action is necessary. For
example, if an employee was unclear about what was expected from them and they
agree to try to resolve the issue via additional support or counseling.
Alternatively, the employer may decide to give the employee a warning. An
organization’s policy should outline exactly what warnings will be given, but the
following are likely:
Recorded oral warning
First written warning
Final written warning.
Clearly these stages represent an increase in seriousness. With the exception of
extreme examples of misconduct, it would be inappropriate to 'skip stages' in the
process. Ultimately, failure to reach the organization’s standards may result in
Any warning should also specify a review period during which the individual receives
appropriate support and their performance can be monitored.
Disciplinary warnings should normally have a specified 'life' after which they are
disregarded when considering any subsequent warnings. Typical timescales for the
types of warning are:
recorded oral warning - 6 months
first written warning - 1 year
final written warning - 2 years.
Where misconduct has been very serious, it may be appropriate for the warning to
continue to be regarded indefinitely.
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