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The saying, "Orders will be obeyed if they make sense" is an example of employees within an organization demanding that management carefully think out their directives before presenting them to their staff. Most employees (those with a proper attitude) willingly desire to undertake orders presented to them if they are reasonable, doable, and will benefit the organization as a whole. Employees dislike poorly planned directives that do not take into account employees' concerns.
Therefore, especially in today's employee-empowered culture, they will refuse to perform tasks that they believe are senseless and unworkable. Managers in business and other institutions should engage their employees in discussions before they present major orders to said employees. They should seek to understand job functions from the point-of-view of employees so they can design tasks that take into consideration employees' strengths and weaknesses. In this way, they avoid a host of problems that can arise because they do not understand employees' concerns as relates to specific orders.
However, there is an element of anarchy in the above quote. While management should consult and discuss directives with employees before finalizing them, management, in the end, has the final say. Right or wrong, their directives are their prerogative and any attempt to undermine them is an exercise in disobedience. Company owners, who give managers the authority to give orders, pay the wages of employees and in the end what they say usually goes.
This doesn't mean they should ignore the concerns of employees; it does mean the buck stops with them and they can issue orders as they see fit, when they see fit. In essence, while employees may feel that they can obey orders at their whim, they really cannot. They can take their views and concerns to management in the hope that management will tailor their orders/directives to the capabilities of their employees' for the mutual benefit of all involved.
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