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Rethinking Discipline in Organizations

Chris Rodgers - Thursday, December 10, 2015

This post was first published in Informal Coalitions in October 2008, under the title: “Discipline in organizations – On ‘hot stove rules’, performance conversations, and an opportunity to learn”

The October 2008 edition of Management Today bemoaned the fact that the management of discipline and poor performance in the workplace is not what it was. Under the headline “Death of the Bollocking“, a mixture of managerial timidity, increasing bureaucracy, fear of litigation and general societal malaise (death of a competitive ethic, etc.) are cited as reasons for this.

Its main argument i was that people need to know when their performance isn’t coming up to scratch and that, as stated in its sign-off paragraph, “… if you want a workplace where you don’t have to tick people off in the future, you may need to start bollocking them now.”

I agree with much of what’s said, especially in relation to the contextual factors mentioned in the article. At the same time, I think it’s important for managers to see discipline in a broader sense than simply ‘telling people off’.


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