Some of the key features of a sound employee disciplinary system are:
The employee must be informed clearly about what constitutes good behavior and the rewards that may emanate from it. All instructions should be clear and understandable. It is common sense that an employee will obey an instruction more readily if he understands it. The supervisor himself must know all the rules. He cannot effectively communicate with his workers if his own knowledge about rules is half baked. In fact, he needs to know more than the barest minimum that he wants his workers to know. This reserve of knowledge is essential in order to be able to answer several unexpected question from workers. In other works, a supervisor’s span of knowledge and understanding of rules should be greater than that of his workers. If this is not so, the supervisor will lose personal prestige both before his supervisors and subordinates.
All violations and misconducts-big and small-should be promptly inquired into. For example, a supervisor is most unwise to wait until lunch break before rebuking a worker for arriving late. Beat the iron when it is hot. This is because when the penalty is imposed immediately following the violation of a rule the person punished tends to identify the punishment with the act he committed. Accordingly, the subordinate attempts to avoid the violation in future. This is called the “law of effect”. The greater the delay the more one forgets and the more one feels that punishment is not deserved.
Promptness of disciplinary action at the cost of its fairness is not proper. An action in order to be fair must possess the following characteristics:
The procedure to be followed to reach to a penalty decision should be carefully laid down. It should include the following steps:
Disciplinary action should be handled in a constructive manner. It should be carried out by the immediate line supervisor. This employee should be told not only the reasons for the action taken against him but also how he can avoid such penalties in future. Disciplinary action should be taken in private. By exposing an employee to public ridicule the supervisor attacks his dignity and social standing. This may produce an opposite effect on the employee. He may react violently or may become obstinate to preserve his ego.
It is most unwise for a supervisor to take a general disciplinary action against a group of subordinates. Disciplinary action is a matter for the individual. It is the individual who should be held responsible for any wrong. A management which takes disciplinary action against a group is likely to set off a wave of unrest associated with falling morale and even the possibility of wildcat strike.
After the disciplinary action has been taken the supervisor must assume a normal attitude towards the employee. He should revert to his role of a helping hand-as if nothing has happened. This is possible only when the supervisor uses an impersonal approach in administering a penalty. He should not engage in personal ridicule, insult or even criticism. He should avoid getting into an argument. In short, he must play the role of a judge enforcing the law with impartiality.
Discipline should be imposed without generating resentment. Mc Gregor propounded the “red hot stove rule” which says that a sound and effective disciplinary system in an organization should have the following characteristics-
Immediate: Just as when you touch a red hot stove, the burn is immediate, similarly the penalty for violation should be immediate/ immediate disciplinary action must be taken for violation of rules.
Consistent: Just as a red hot stove burns everyone in same manner; likewise, there should be high consistency in a sound disciplinary system.
Impersonal: Just as a person is burned because he touches the red hot stove and not because of any personal feelings, likewise, impersonality should be maintained by refraining from personal or subjective feelings.
Prior warning and notice: Just as an individual has a warning when he moves closer to the stove that he would be burned on touching it, likewise, a sound disciplinary system should give advance warning to the employees as to the implications of not conforming to the standards of behavior /code of conduct in an organization.
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Labour Administration Machinery Of The Central Government
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