Counseling does not always work. Sometimes the employee’s behavior is inappropriately disruptive or performance is unacceptable. Under these circumstances, discipline is needed. Discipline is management action that encourages compliance with organizational standards. There .are two types of discipline: preventive and corrective.
Preventive discipline is action taken to encourage employees to follow standards and rules so that infractions are prevented. The basic objective is to encourage self-discipline, and the HR department plays an important role. It develops programs to control absences and grievances, communicates standards to employees and encourages workers to follow them, and encourages em ployee participation in setting standards, since workers give greater support to rules they have helped create. Employees also give more support to standards that are stated positively instead of negatively, such as “Safety first!” rather than “Don’t be careless!” Effective discipline is a system relationship, and so the HR department needs to be concerned with all parts of this system.
Corrective discipline is an action that follows a rule infraction. It seeks to discourage further infractions and ensure future compliance with standards. Typically the corrective or disciplinary action is a penalty, such as a warning or suspension without pay. These actions are usually initiated by an employee’s immediate supervisor but may require approval by a higher-level manager or the HR department, especially when the worker is a union member. Approvals exist to guard against subsequent labor union or legal actions and to assure application of rules throughout the organization. Any appeals then go to higher levels in the (“~~r”ranyand in the union hierarchy. At Motorola, for example, a senior vice president must apFroH~ the discharge of anyone who has worked for the company for ten years.