Discipline in Business Management
Importance of Discipline in Business Management
Importance of Discipline in Managerial Business
Management is the process of delegating tasks to groups that are meant to achieve an overall goal. It is a popular, worldwide practice that pertains to versatile cultures and civilizations. Organizations under every sphere and scope of work employ this tool to function efficiently and productively. It is “an art of getting things done through and with the people in formally organized groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals and can co-operate towards attainment of group goals.” (Harold Koontz, 2007)
According to the great mind of Frederick Winslow Taylor, “Management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do and see that it is done in the best and cheapest way.” Labeled as the “Father of Scientific Management” (as says so on his gravestone), he was an engineer who educated himself to be an engineer. Taylor commenced his professional career through diligent work on a factory floor as an apprentice pattern maker, an “experience that infused everything he achieved after.” Moving up the business ladder, he invented time and motion studies at the Bethlehem Steel Company. Armed with a simple, manual notepad, he would walk around noting labor intensive tasks that could be broken down into a sequence of constituents and accomplished more efficiently. The idea of piece work grew through this exercise. As this paper is meant to discuss the importance of discipline in business, it was necessary to divert back to the very roots of management. It is clearly evident that the man who is said to have created the initial concepts of this study was indeed an extremely disciplined man. By adhering to this practice and remaining committed to it, his mind was able to explore and formulate the notions of early management. His work “The Principles of Scientific Management” is deemed to be the pioneering best seller in business related books. (Frederick Winslow Taylor, 2009)
Another prominent and forward thinking soul was Peter Drucker. Born in Vienna in the year of 1909, he began his work in Frankfurt as a reporter until Hitler’s rise to power. Then, he moved to a London based investment firm before emigrating to the United States of America in 1937. Six years later, he was pronounced a citizen. He published his first book “The End of the Economic Man” in 1939 and was so well received by Churchill, that it was made mandatory reading for every British officer.
However, it was his second book that launched the introduction of modern management and consulting-“The Concept of the Corporation” in 1945. Not was Drucker a revolutionary thinker, but a visionary who created the abstract yet powerful theory of management being a social force as well. This book was published after Drucker conducted an eighteen month study on General Electric. He demonstrated true discipline when he insisted that both public and private entities operate within ethical barriers. Drucker’s concepts took on more of a human theme and stressed vitality of the workforce as an asset, rather than as a liability. He cited the term “Knowledge Worker” as a basis how the workforce should think, function and exist. This, in turn, led to the establishment of discipline within the employees and a sense of ownership for the task they were meant to perform.
Although, Drucker’s preaching was met by much protest from the executives and decision makers of his time, they understood his mind was a dimension of intellect that foresaw major business trends way ahead of their time. It is no wonder that there were objections as Drucker began to converse about such topics as early as the 1940s. (Sullivan, 2005) We are taught these concepts everyday in the contemporary world of business and how to conduct ourselves with discipline. Therefore, it is of no surprise that the early business individuals could not fathom the depth of these ideas and how widespread they would eventually become. He was a highly innovative thinker who practiced it as a pure discipline.
The figures that personify the history of management have been discussed in some detail. Now this paper will consider modern men who are believed to be visionaries of the 21st century to illustrate how they used discipline in their lives and management style. However, before we do that, it is crucial to comprehend the meaning of the word “discipline.”
Discipline is a set of rules and regulations that direct an individual’s or entity’s activities. It can be for employees striving to achieve greatness in their respective workplaces or a person who follows an established standard or routine/timetable. The secondary definition of discipline has to do with the consequences of not remaining in sync with the code of disciplinary instructions. When a human being is recruited or hired by a small, medium or large business, it is now customary to provide him with a manual or verbal guideline on how to conduct him. This is meant to homogenize his attitude and behavior within the workplace as well as encourage him to adjust/or develop his thinking that is in line with that of the corporation that he is working for.
If such action is not undertaken, it will translate into immense costs for the organization. If the personnel are not going to conform to the company’s expectations, then work deadlines will not be met, processes may not be completed and productivity/efficiency will just not exist. In other fields that are more physical intensive and demanding such as sports and the military, austere guarantees have to be provided of the sportsmen’s or military man’s dedication to discipline.
However, it is important for the reader to know that discipline is not a one way street, it functions both ways. The company has to not only regulate the deeds of those that work under it, yet standardize its own activities in terms of policy and decision making. If there is a member of staff who feels that he has been treated in an unjust manner and asked to leave on unfair grounds; he has the right to challenge that move taken by the corporation. Yet, this is a time consuming procedure as the contender has to possess a considerable level of proof against the firm in question. This can range from senior management containing personal grudges to misleading/false allegations to the severity of repercussions due to a minor incident. In order to protect itself, the company may use the legal process of arbitration or alternative dispute resolution to pacify the situation. If such a methodology is to be applied, it is usual included as a clause in the employee’s contract during the hiring process. The court is used as a place of resolving the conflict and negotiation when the fire does not blow out under the winds of arbitration/alternative dispute resolution. This may result in the employee seeking monetary damages as compensation for all the grievances he has had to go through. Or if he has a different objective in mind, he has the freedom to pursue that. This can be a request to be hired back into his prior position or to have the company assist in his new job search. (The Role of Discipline in the Workplace, 2003)
Managerial business requires the strict enforcement of respective penalties that are in relation to the violation of the guidelines that have been prescribed by the business itself. It is important for this to be done to avoid duplication of employees breaching the code of discipline in the future. Depending upon the nature of the infringement, the company will follow consistent tactics to warn the concerned party.
Frequently, firms start with a verbal admonishment. A meeting is held to communicate the apprehensions to the employee. The reasons are outlined and he is told to correct his demeanor in order to ameliorate employee productivity and effectuality. Some businesses may choose to keep a record on their administration and may disregard it after a period of six months or so. Another form is that of the written notice which may be issued in the person’s name if his actions are more dire. If it involves endangering the company’s good name in the market or is related to diminishment of revenue; then a verbal warning will not be sufficient. It will be published by his manager or another appropriate individual. The written notice will be a comprehensive and detailed plan of how the worker must improve his professional act. He will be warned that if his circumstances do not progress positively within the appointed time frame, then a final written notice may be feasible. This is the point where the employee’s position is dangling by a small piece of thread in the company and then he is in jeopardy of being fired. Usually, it is issued when the offense committed is of an extreme level and the skilled worker has failed to comply to improve his conduct. Then, the written notice is published by a senior manager, who is one hierarchical plane above the immediate supervisor. A formal procedure ensues where the person will be let go off. Only an element of senior management can undertake this step and is usually with the support of an HR professional. (The Role of Discipline in the Workplace, 2003)
The importance of discipline has been investigated through the men who are credited with creating the conceptual models of management as we know it today. Now, this paper will explore the other side of discipline in the contemporary managerial realm.
Steve Jobs, the famous inventor of the groundbreaking and pioneering desktop Apple computer as well as the popular I phone, was renowned for his abrasive management style. King argues that the most effective means of upholding discipline is to act by example. (King, 2012) Jobs was known for being a “” (McInerney, 2011) who was known for reducing his subordinates to tears through the harsh way he delivered criticism. People used to fear stepping into the same elevator as him as it could mean defending his job. There was a culture of fear at Apple. People strived hard to earn his respect and praise. (Steve at Work, 2011)
An eccentric sort of discipline was created through this psychological fear. The discipline they followed was that of innovation that is an emerging field. The fact of the matter is that Steve Jobs had a clear vision to bring about a metamorphosis in the entire consumer interactive experience and he would not settle for anything less. Jobs would communicate to his task force what it was that he desired. In return, they worked diligently to meet his targets and change his vision into a tangible form of reality. He “infused them with a sense of mission.” This “sense of mission” is the innovative disciplinary culture that was created by him to motivate the workforce. (Verganti, 2011)
The world saw had perceived another side of Steve Jobs as well. This was the charming, captivating part of his personality that surfaced for Apple events. The impression was given that it was spontaneous and impulsive, yet in reality, it was all rehearsed several times. It is this very discipline that can be attributed to the success of Apple and the brand equity that has been achieved in latching on the consumer.
All in all, the importance of discipline to an organization cannot be stressed enough. Its very purpose is meant to control and manage the workplace structure. With the establishment of existing guidelines, employee performance and attitude augment an additional component to the general management system. Reviews and actions for such guidelines are to be provided in the manual that the company usually shares with a fresh recruit.
Given that there is a scarcity of resources in the economic world, organizations are no different. They cannot afford to keep on those who are not contributing their slice of the pie. It is imperative that those who deliberately and repeatedly ignore the codes of conduct be taken to task. The set of employees that does not act in the interests of the corporate objective will be identified through such practices.
There are instances where the employee in question is not aware of his disregard for the corporate philosophy. By bringing it to his attention, it will point him in the right direction of improving his performance. It will be a motivating factor for him to become better and do more. Managers must do it to ensure the overall welfare of the firm is protected. (Mayhew, 2011)
Managerial business must take care of the way they regulate employee behavior. This paper already talked about leading by example. Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon.com, is the largest online retailer in America. His vision to make Amazon the one stop shop for everything from 1995 has now paid off in the form of a billion dollar company. He sticks to his vision and ensures that everyone remains true to it. (Koury, 2011)
Discipline in the corporation ensures a sense of business camaraderie, purpose and team work in the environment. It removes hostilities, eliminates those workers who are not productive and deals with those who behave unfairly with others. Employees tend to mooch off others, gossip, put their noses in places where it doesn’t belong and act unprofessionally. When the direct line manager of such a team puts his foot down and does it in a positive, noble manner; this creates an aura of respect and dignity for him in the eyes of his subordinates.
When everyone is clear of what is expected of them and where they stand, they are happier and more productive. This is practiced through the art of discipline. Managers define job responsibilities, outline descriptions and paint the working parameters for their team members. As this defines boundaries, everyone is happy. When someone tries to overstep these intangible, predefined territorial lines, disciplinary action is required.
In today’s modern environment where it is a norm for women and men to work together; sexual harassment is increasing in terms of its popularity. It has become more important than ever for companies to clearly classify in intricate and complete detail what action can entail “sexual harassment.” When a woman makes an accusation against a man in a professional ambiance, it is a serious matter and liable to become bigger. It is vital that the firm in question launch an investigation and do a thorough job in order to avoid what could become a lawsuit. If dragged to court, the company’s reputation comes on the line as does the person who is being accused. The enforcement of discipline can evade such issues from escalating and the manager can find a tactful way to handle such matters internally.
Discipline is not only important yet strategic to the functional activities of an organization. With it, the policy of ethics is silhouetted and it is not just to do with human beings, but the commercial transactions that one is handling have to be under ethical and moral limits as well. This paper leaves on the note that without discipline, the organizational workplace would be a sphere of chaos and confusion.
Frederick Winslow Taylor. (2009, February 6). The Economist .
Harold Koontz, H.W. (2007). Essentials of Business Management. Tata McGraw Hill
Publishing Company Ltd.
King, W. (2012). Maintaining Office Discipline at Your Workplace. Ezine .
Koury, F. (2011). Staying The Course. Smart Business Columbus .
Mayhew, R. (2011). The Purpose of Discipline in the Workplace. Chron .
McInerney, S. (2011, October 7). Steve Jobs: An Unconventional Leader. The Sydney Morning Herald .
Steve at Work. (2011). Retrieved May 18, 2012, from All About Steve Jobs: http://allaboutstevejobs.com/persona/steveatwork.php
Sullivan, P. (2005, November 12). Management Visionary Peter Drucker Dies. The Washington Post .
The Role of Discipline in the Workplace. (2003, May 06). Retrieved May 18, 2012, from Everything: http://everything2.com/title/The+role+of+discipline+in+the+workplace
Verganti, R. (2011, October 7). Steve Jobs and Management by Meaning. Harvard Business Review .