Essay Sample on Effective Employee Discipline: Punitive vs Non-Punitive Approaches

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1162 Words
Date:  2023-04-08


In any successfully performing management, discipline is of utmost importance. In team activities, especially where several and different individuals come together as employees, working towards achieving the same goal in an organization, discipline is very paramount.

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Punitive and Non-Punitive Disciplinary Approaches and their Impacts on Employee Relations

A punitive approach to discipline involves the managers inflicting punishment to an employee with the belief that it will result in a change of behavior, acceptance of responsibility, it will alter an employee's actions (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). It also believes that an action should be met with similar action and that the punishment will deter the criminal's future behavior as well (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). Penalties in this approach include sending an employee for unpaid suspension or leave, whereby the length of the leave is determined by the facts of the issue and the employee's existing records (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). For instance, an employee who had previously been given a two days suspension by the employer would go for five days suspension after repeating a given offense. In this approach, employees are also punished through written warnings and threats. However, the employees punished this way later respond with a lot of bitterness and frustrations, absenteeism, and an increase in grievances, a decrease in trust and communication, hence, resulting in general poor performance. The relationship between employees becomes very poor due to the stressful working environment (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011).

A non-punitive approach to discipline requires an employee, who is involved in the problem, to make a decision and choose on either to become a committed employee or to become a former employee in an organization (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). In this approach, the manager holds a private meeting with the employee to discuss the problem. The manager then issues an oral reminder with the fundamental objective being seeking to gain the employee's agreement in solving the problem. In case the problem continues, the manager proceeds and issues the employee with a written reminder. The manager again talks to the employee and in a severe manner but without any threats (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). The talk aims to remind the employee that the rule or standard must be observed, and the employee undergoes counseling as well. A paid one-day decision-making leave is later given to the employee when the discussions fail. In most cases, this results in the victim becoming more severe with the employment on getting back.

When an organization uses a positive disciplinary approach, it effectively impacts in encouraging the employees to modify their behaviors by recognizing and reinforcing desirable behaviors, rather than taking them through punishment after a failure of meeting the organization's requirements (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). In this approach, the employees participate in the disciplinary decision-making process. This participation positively results in employees becoming more responsible for their behaviors as well as showing more willingness to adhere to the standards of the disciplinary policy.

The use of the non-punitive disciplinary approach in a workplace greatly impacts on generating adversarial relationships between the employees as well as the management. It also leads to more effective and accepted disciplinary measures, fewer arbitrations, fewer successful unemployment compensation claims resulting from employee termination, and fewer cases of absenteeism, which result in high financial savings for a company (Soss, Fording & Schram, 2011). This approach impacts a company in building productivity as well as commitment.

The Elements of an Effective Performance Management System

There are essential elements for any performance management system aiming for great success and to effectively meet its organizational needs. Onyango (2019) highlighted that these elements include; planning and setting expectations, monitoring, development, and improvement, periodic rating, rewards, and compensation.

Performance management success requires a self-explanatory goal-setting process (Onyango, 2019). Goals must be set, and a specific time frame for evaluation and achievement must be made and adhered to. The monitoring process helps the management to keep track of the ongoing progress of the employees in the organization. It also ensures that the employees track their performance hence cultivating the spirit of ownership of their development (Onyango, 2019). After monitoring the employees for a given duration of time, an effective performance manager comes up with ways of encouraging the employees to meet their goes as well as stretching the employee's capacity and potential by motivating them to aim at exceeding and going beyond their set goals.

Effective performance management will then observe feedback or rating techniques to assist the employees in knowing whether they are on the right track or not while aiming to meet the organization's future goals (Onyango, 2019). The rating, therefore, assists in changing to more effective strategies in case the existing ones are found to be ineffective. Finally, rewarding and compensating employees is very important in an organization since every employee needs to feel appreciated and recognized to effectively keep on developing and achieving the targets. Therefore, all the employees must be cherished and rewarded regardless of whether they met their goals or not.

The Differences between Union Grievance Procedures and Nonunion Complaint Processes

According to Obiekwe and Eke (2019), employees in the union usually express their dissatisfaction by filing a grievance, which should be per the outlined process found in their collective bargaining agreement. Grievances are handled systematically, beginning with an informal action as the first step, which is simply a meeting to discuss the issue with the supervisor, the union employee, or the union steward. In cases where the problem is not resolved, it then goes through the other steps, which are investigated by the management, grievance meeting, written responses, decision, and appeals.

In the case whereby the grievance has not been resolved through the above processes at the company level, arbitration comes in as the final step. The parties, therefore, have to select an arbiter to hear the case.

The complaint process for nonunion employees is usually more straightforward. Many organizations, however, adopt a similar method to the union grievance steps. It begins with a review by a supervisor, the employee, and an HR who is trained to resolve employee relations issues (Obiekwe & Eke, 2019). However, employees whose problems do not get settled at the company level, can, therefore, go ahead and choose to file a complaint with a federal agency.

However, the improvements that could be made to a nonunion complaint process is to regularly update the nonunion complaint process, put in place enough opportunities for employees to be able to effectively air their grievances and aim in improving the time taken in resolving the conflicts.


Obiekwe, O., & Eke, N. U. (2019). Impact of Employee Grievance Management on Organizational Performance. International Journal of Economics and Business Management, 5(1), 1-10. https://doi:10.1201/9780429295348-135

Onyango, G. (2017). Organizational Disciplinary Actions as Socio-Political Processes in Public Organizations. Public Organization Review, 19(2), 227-248.

Soss, J., Fording, R., & Schram, S. F. (2011). The Organization of Discipline: From Performance Management to Perversity and Punishment. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 21(Supplement 2), i203-i232.

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