Discipline is the orderly behavior of an individual in any activity. In the context of the workplace, discipline means adhering to guidelines laid down in the company policy and procedures manual. It is the orderly conduct of affairs by the employees of an enterprise. According to William R. Spriegal, “Discipline is the force that prompts an individual or group to observe rules, regulations, and procedures that are deemed necessary to the attainment of an objective.” Disciplined persons achieve success on every front, disciplined employees follow through with their deliverables in return for achieving a company’s strategic goals. Even wars are won by disciplined soldiers.
Indiscipline on the other hand is the act of misconduct in the workplace, when the employee ignores the established rules and doesn’t follow them. It is a lack of discipline or lack of control. The act of indiscipline occurs for many reasons, some of them may be personal, but many are related to the socio-economic factors of the time.
The following are the common causes of indiscipline:
1. Unfair Management Practices
Undesirable management practices, policies, and activities such as employment of spies, undue harassment of workers with a view to creating fear among them, an autocratic attitude of supervisors towards their subordinates, wage discrimination, non-compliance with promotional policies and transfer policies, discrimination in allotment of work, defective handling of grievances, delay and payment of low wages gradually result in indiscipline among employees.
2. Violation of Rights of Employees
Employees are human beings who have certain rights which should not be violated in any case. Some of these rights are, that they must be treated with respect, they should be allowed to express themselves or raise their voice, the right to contribute to the best of their abilities, the right to justice, the right to security of service, and right for self-development. If these rights are violated and suppressed employees feel dissatisfied. Discontent then prevails leading to gross indiscipline.
3. Varying Disciplinary Measures
Consistent disciplinary actions must be there in the organization to provide equal justice to all employees. At different times and for everyone, the same standard of disciplinary measures should be taken otherwise it may give rise to growing indiscipline as it creates an atmosphere of favoritism.
4. Inadequate attention to personnel problems
Delay in solving personnel problems develops frustration among individual workers. The management should be proactive so that there is no discontent among the workers. It should adopt a parental attitude towards its employees. However, it should be noted that no relationship can continue for long if it is one sided. Employees should also live up to their commitments and be reasonable in their demands.
5. Absence of Code of Conduct
Lack of properly drawn rules and regulations, or the existence of rules and regulations which are so impracticable that they cannot be observed; and the absence of service manuals and a code of behavior are a leeway to employee indiscipline due to the absence of direction on how employees should carry themselves and engage in an organization. This creates confusion and also provides the chance for discrimination while taking disciplinary action. A code of conduct is fundamental being a set of rules outlining the responsibilities and proper practices for an individual or organization.
6. Absence of Grievance Settlement Machinery
The employee grievances cannot be put off by deferring or neglecting their solutions. The grievances should properly be inquired into and settled by the managers in a reasonable period. Neglect of grievances often results in reduced performance, low morale, and indiscipline among the employees. Strikes and work stoppages stem in many cases from the utter neglect of employee grievances.
Unless your company handbook prohibits indiscipline among employees, it may not be clear that you view this as misconduct. It is wise or rather mandatory to provide employees with detailed policy and procedure manuals outlining discipline expectations and consequences for infractions.
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