Discipline is one of the major ethical issues managers face in their daily interactions with employees. While the major portion of professional managers seem reluctant to reinforce an effective system of disciplinary measures, the rest sincerely believes that the lack of discipline provides employees with more freedom for personal decision-making. The problem is that discipline and freedom are the two different concepts, and promoting and maintaining profitability and sustainable organizational performance is impossible without making employees more disciplined.
Certainly, Jim is fairly regarded as one of the most successful employees in the team. Moreover, customers seem satisfied with the quality of the job he is doing. Simultaneously, Jim can readily serve the role model for other employees to follow, and if his professional misbehavior remains unnoticed, surfing the Web and using inappropriate Web content may turn into a negative tendency. Given that discipline should be constructive and done in professional manner (Trevino & Nelson, 2004) the plan of action regarding the issue should begin with the private conversation with Jim. It is essential that managers avoid discussing Jim personally, but rather concentrate on the inconsistencies and negative organizational implications of his behavior.
In this conversation, Jim should also be given a voice, to ensure that he is able to explain his side of the story and that he realizes the negative impact which his behaviors produce on other employees. “The entire idea of team management revolves around individuals being encouraged to share their view of a situation” (Trevino & Nelson, 2004), and Jim should also be encouraged to actively participate in disciplinary initiatives developed by management. Ultimately, if private conversation does not change Jim’s attitudes toward his workplace obligations, the problem should be expanded to become an official company’s policy. The policy will guarantee that all employees are applied equal and fair disciplinary measures for similar offenses, regardless their professional status and popularity within an organization.
Jim should realize, that despite his image of a “star”, the disciplinary approaches managers use toward him will be as harsh and consistent as with the rest of his colleagues.