How do managers misuse discipline? Provide two (2) examples.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since managers have a great deal of power in many workplaces, there is always the danger that they will misuse their ability to impose discipline on their subordinates.  If they do, it can have very negative effects on workplace morale.  It might also hurt the company if subordinates are able to sue because the manager is not following proper procedures for discipline.

One of the ways in which managers can misuse discipline is by using it to try to get rid of employees that they simply do not like.  In this case, the manager watches a particular employee much more carefully than they watch others.  The manager notices and writes the employee up for a variety of little violations that are not really important.  The manager does not usually discipline employees for those violations but does so in the case of the particular employee that he or she does not like.

Another way in which a manager can misuse discipline is by trying to use discipline as a motivational tool.  In this case, the manager disciplines subordinates as a way to try to scare them into working more effectively.  Instead of encouraging workers who are doing well, the manager disciplines everyone who lags behind, creating a climate of fear in the workplace.

clisk-teach4u | Student

Managers are often considered to be in a position of  what some would call "power".  That being said, usually they may or may not answer to anyone superior to them in the "seniority employment position chain".  When this is the case, sometimes Managers may misuse their "seniority" and their ability to  discipline a fellow employee.  There may also be other contributing stress factors which, could be one of the reasons why the have in fact chosen to discipline someone inappropriately or in the wrong manner.  Regardless of personal contributing factors, misuse of discipline is wrong and any manager should only be able to discipline if the employee is breaching a term of employment, and even then, there are certain guidelines that must be followed accordingly.  Te manager still has rules that he/she must follow according to the law.


the morning employee comes in about 2 hours late for their shift, and they didn't bother to call in advance to explain and when the employee arrives, the manager just starts yelling and swearing and says he is firing that employee, but then decides after cooling down that he actually does need that employee and perhaps  the appropriate thing to do is to give a verbal warning and the 2nd time is a written warning, before firing someone.  You cannot just fire someone because you are angry.  People take those words seriously.

Another example:

is a male manager,  punishing a female employee with threats to fire if she exploits him for sexual harrassment, after showing up to work after missing a day with no explanation.  He would let it slide if he could be intimate with her.....which is 150% inappropriate conduct anywhere, especially in the workplace.

When taking disciplinary actions, there is protocol and guidelines that must be followed accordingly, by managers and employees both.  If either doesn't follow accordingly, there could end up being a huge lawsuit.  ALWAYS FOLLOW THE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK OR ASK ABOUT RULES AND REGULATIONS ENFORCED BY THE LABOUR BOARD.