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DISCIPLINE AND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS IN ORGANIZATIONS

by NDUNUJU ADIELE

February 17, 2009

Discipline is a most for every organization that wants to move forward. It is


very essential for the smooth running of any firm. It is also very important for
peace and harmony in an organization. Peace between employees, customers
and clients. It is always necessary for discipline to be instilled in employees to
get the best out of your workforce. Before I go on with why we should have
discipline and disciplinary actions incase of defaulters, its right to find out
what discipline is. Discipline can be seen or defined as a force that prompts
individuals, organizations, nation etc to observe rules and regulations
stipulated which are deemed necessary for the effective and efficient running
of the group, organization or nation. In this article discipline in firms can be
seen as an orderly conduct by employees of an organization to adhere to the
rules and regulations as well as policies guiding the activities and running of
the organization.

How can one instill discipline in organization?

Rules and regulations should be clearly stated: For discipline to be instilled in


employees there should be clear rules and regulations that stipulates what is
expected of each employee and what is not expected of them. The employee
handbook for instance should be clear in the dos and donts of the firm.
The rules and regulations should be constantly updated and reviewed. This
will make it possible to do away with rules that are no more necessary and
addition of new ones that are needed.
There should be no discrimination in enforcing rules and regulations. To make
sure that there is discipline in an organization there should be a general rule
for every defaulter. What ever applies to A when he defaults should also be
applicable to B.
Another important thing is that things that will prevent employees from
getting involved in indiscipline should be discouraged and prevented.
There should be proper communication of the rules concerning discipline in

the firm. These rules should be written in the employee handbook and also
put in notice boards. By so doing no employee can say he or she is not aware
of the rules.
Disciplinary actions should be in such a way that defaulters will not want to
be disciplined a second time after defaulting for a first time.
Causes of indiscipline in firms:

Despite the fact that most firms have laid down rules and regulations,
and disciplinary actions taken against defaulters, still indiscipline persists.
The following are causes of indiscipline in firms;

Favoritism: Most managers and discipline enforcers in firms favour some staff
in their decision making. There are cases where some staff will commit and
offence and will not be punished for it while if it is another person he goes in
for it. When such a fellow knows that he will not be punished for an offence,
he goes own to commit more offense.
Lack of Communication: If the laws and rules governing the employment of
staff is not clearly communicated or is not communicated at all, there is
bound to be several cases of indiscipline in that organization.
Lack of leadership: For every department, there should be a leader who is to
supervise the activities of that department. He monitors and instills discipline
in his subordinates. Where there is no one like that to lead and control the
others, indiscipline abounds.
Low morale and Motivation among staff. When employees are not motivated
and their morale is low, they tend to work haphazardly. This will affect their
discipline and way of work.
Bad Habit: Some employees have bad habits inbuilt in them that they may or
may not be able to change. Once some one for instance has formed the habit
of coming to work late, it will take termination of his appointment atimes for h
to change.

Disciplinary Actions in firm:

While disciplining an employee, it is always important to make sure that the


disciplinary action meted out to the offender is always commensurate to the
offence committed. Like earlier said too, it is important to mete out the same
punishment to the same category of offenders. Another important thing in
punishing offenders is that the person must be given the opportunity to be
heard. He must explain reasons for his action before a decision is taken
against him. Certain mild offences should also be punished with mild
penalties. Some disciplinary actions in firms include;

Oral warning; when an offence is not that serious or when an offender is


a first offender, he can be given oral warning. The human resources person
invites him, talks to him, cautions him and warns him to desist from such
actions in the future.

Written warning: When the offence committed by the employee is not


an offence that you can just warn him verbally and let him go, he is issued a
query. He replies the query and explains reasons for his action. The query and
his response are filed in the staff file for future references. After considering
his response, a written warning also is issued to him and a copy of the
warning letter also documented in the staff file.

Loss of entitlement: Some indiscipline is cautioned by denying the


offender his or her entitlement as a reprimand for the action. In some cases,
the offender may not be paid any allowance or bonus due to him to punish
him for an offence or indiscipline committed.

Suspension: If an offence is strong, they employee may be suspended


without pay. Depending on the level of offence the suspension may take up to
two months or more without pay.

Demotion: A staff can be demoted from his position because of


indiscipline. If a manager for instance keeps on coming to work late, how will
he lead and control his subordinates? The best thing is to demote him if he
has been advised about it and he fells to change.

Termination of appointment: When an employee commits an offence

that the company cannot condone, his appointment may be terminated.

Dismissal: This is the strongest action that can be carried out on an


offender. When an employee gets involved in fraud, stealing, illegal business
etc the firm may have no other option left than to dismiss him out rightly.

Disciplinary action is always carried out in sequence. For instance if one is a


first offender, and the offence is not so bad, he can be warned verbally. Then
if he commits another offence, he is queried and probably suspended from
duty without pay. If another offence is committed by the same staff, his
appointment may be terminated. On the other hand when a staff commits a
grievous offence like fraud, the punishment is summary dismissal.