Do you guys know that for a peaceful industrial relation, discipline is the key? Effective discipline is an indicator of sound human and industrial relations. Discipline requires the company’s workforce to strictly follow the rules, norms, and regulations, and behave in a certain manner. To maintain order and avoid chaos, discipline is the most important requirement. It amounts to the attainment of maximum productivity and output.
What is Discipline?
Discipline refers to orderliness (state of order), i.e. when there is no chaos, irregularity, misconduct, and hustle in worker’s behavior. Hence, discipline results in working, cooperating, coordinating, and behaving in a proper manner, in which a normal person is expected to behave.
In the context of the organization, discipline means workers conform to the rules and norms designed by the company for acceptable behavior. It is a kind of check or restraint on the liberty of an organization’s workers, which not just rectifies or modifies but also improves and strengthens a person’s behavior.
It is an attitude of mind, the output of organization culture and overall environment.
What is Indiscipline?
It is the non-conformity to the company’s rules and regulations be it formal or informal. It takes place due to poor management, error in judgment while choosing the union leader, and wrongly understanding the policy of management.
Essential prerequisites for managing indiscipline:
- Respect for human personality
- There must be reasonable, legitimate, and clear rules and regulations in the company
- Prior notice or warning must be given to the employee regarding the consequences for violation of rules.
- High standards must be set by the management personnel
- There has to be a consistency and uniformity of punishment
- Workers must be involved at the time of formulating rules and regulations so that they will accept the rules wholeheartedly.
Objectives of Discipline
- To attain volitional acceptance from the workers regarding the rules and regulations of the company, so that the objectives can be attained in a manner that is beneficial to the company.
- To develop adjustment ability in the workforce of the company, so that they can learn how to work in different situations and increase their patience level.
- To show respect to the leadership and provide full cooperation to them.
- To bring a feeling of endurance and mutual cooperation in workers and management.
- To boost the morale and increase the efficiency of employees, so that they can perform their task in the most effective manner.
Principles of Good Discipline
The several principles for a good discipline are given hereunder:
Code of Conduct: With the consent of both employers and workers code of conduct, i.e. rules and regulations can be created which ensures maintenance of discipline in the company. The rules are formulated in such a way that every person understands and follows them. These rules are communicated to all the members at the time of induction.
Treatment of Equality: Each and every worker in the company is equal and so their treatment should also be equal. There should be no partiality, and if anyone disobeys the rules, then he/she should be punished, regardless of his role, gender, or position in the company.
Responsible person: The responsibility regarding the disciplinary action taken at the time of disobedience by an employee, should be given in the hands of the responsible person who is authorized to give orders to the subordinates.
Complete knowledge of rules and regulations: The employees must possess complete knowledge of the company’s rules and regulations. Also, they should be given knowledge about the punishment they would be given for violation of a particular rule.
Preventive Measures: The company’s management should lay more emphasis on the preventive measure, i.e. positive discipline, rather than a negative one, which is a corrective measure.
Appeal: The supervisor or foreman has the responsibility of discipline, i.e. it is his duty to prove the act of indiscipline and the accused has the right to make an appeal to the top executives, to prove his innocence.
Natural justice: The principle of natural justice needs to be adopted. And to do so, causes of indiscipline are examined without any bias. The accused must be given the opportunity of being heard and express his side of the story and thereafter the decision is taken.
Immediate action: For any indiscipline by a worker, prompt disciplinary action should be taken because when the decisions are delayed, the deterrent effect will not be achieved.
Confidential Proceedings: The proceedings must be confidential, in the sense that they should not be convened in the presence of any other persons apart from the accused and concerned persons. This is because it gives a wrong impression to other people about the accused and he loses his faith in the company.
Reasons for taking Disciplinary Action
The different reasons for taking disciplinary action are:
- Absenteeism, leaving early, assault or fighting, tardiness, sleeping during work time, insubordination, using abusive language, falsification of company’s records, conflict of interest, negligence, horseplay, theft, etc.
- Damage to the company’s assets, participation in the prohibited strike, obscene conduct, gambling, violation of health and safety codes, sexual harassment, incompetence, use of drugs or alcohol, etc.
Types of Discipline
There are two types of discipline, discussed hereunder:
It is a reformative approach, wherein the worker is motivated to work himself and is ready to obey the rules. This approach encompasses creating an attitude and organizational culture or climate wherein the employees on their own conform to the rules and regulations framed.
Hence, it results in the respect for company’s rules, goals, supervisor, and fellow workers. It also develops team spirit, boosts morale, and increases cooperation.
It is a progressive or corrective approach to discipline in which warning or notice regarding the punishment for violation is given to the employee, i.e. here more stress is given to the punishment, rather than bringing changes in the attitude of the employee. Hence, the accused is given a warning or punishment for breaking the rules. It aims at establishing discipline by way of fear or punishment.
In this, the workers are immediately warned or punished whenever they do something wrong or do not perform the assigned task, or do something against the instructions of the supervisor. Workers already have an idea about the nature and quantity of punishment they get for doing or not doing the act.
Workplace discipline is regarded as a condition that exists in the organization. The employees have knowledge of what is expected of them, as to the rules, standards, and policies of the firm. It aims at teaching the employees about the desired behavior in a systematic manner. It is vital for a healthy industrial atmosphere and the attainment of the organization’s objectives.