Typically organizations use disciplinary procedures to create a smooth running operation. This technique of retaining order relies on employees to fear the consequences of their actions. Disciplinary actions must be firm enough to keep those employed from conducting themselves in wrongdoings. It also requires that employers be consistent enough to follow through with a set action of discipline even if it could be harmful to the organization. This keeps other employees from taking advantage of inconsistencies that could result in law suits for unfairness. So even when a situation arises that disciplinary action could effect the organization in negative way, it still must me enforced.
Saudi organization labor rules and regulations offer disciplinary steps to be considered by the employer before terminating the employee’s contract. The first procedure to be afforded by employers is a verbal warning issued to the employee. This is to be followed by a written warning if the wrongdoing persists by the employee. Secondly an employer may impose a fine in the form of pay or salary deduction. In this case, the fine should be kept under the amount of a five day salary per month for a single offense. Sever cases allow employers to cancel or defer the employee’s allowances for a period that is not to exceed one year. Deferment of expected promotions, in addition to the periodic allowances, may be imposed for a period not to exceed one year. The next step is temporary suspension. During this suspension period the employee will not be entitled to a salary, this suspension should not extend for longer than five days. The last option is final termination. This may be with or without end of service benefits. Termination without end of service benefits is permitted if the employee commits a deliberate offense against life, property, honor or honesty.
Keep in mind that none of these penalties should be imposed until the employee has been notified in writing of the offense, the penalties, and the reasons for their imposition. Employees have the right to defend himself and even object to the penalties by submitting their objection to the Labor Dispute Committee within fifteen days from the date of their receiving the notification from the employer. In the case that the penalty constitutes fines that accrue to the employer, the penalty must be recorded in a register. This register must include the employee’s name, salary, reasons and circumstances for imposing the penalties. Then the fines are placed in an account and used for the benefit of the employee’s after the employer obtains prior approval from the Ministry of Labor to do such.
An employee should not be charged with a disciplinary offense after a lapse of more than thirty days from the discovery of the offense. Also disciplinary penalty should not be imposed after a lapse of more than thirty days from the date the inquiry of the offense was made and the employee found guilty. Employers must remember that no disciplinary measure may be taken against any employee for acts committed outside the workplace unless these acts are related to the owner or manager and falls within the employee’s duties.
Discipline is crucial in a workplace and can never be risk-free. However, an employer who properly follows disciplinary and termination procedures is more likely to avoid the risk of facing labor chargers and costly lawsuits. (Zeineddine ,2010)
For comparison we will examine the British organizations disciplinary procedures. Contrary to the Saudi organizations a verbal warning not recommended as part of the formal procedure, it is merely recommended for cases of minor misconduct. However it is similar in the way that written warnings and final warnings are the first steps in the procedure. Guidelines for a typical timescale for written warnings is as follows: six months for the first written warning and one year for the final written warning. Warnings may be regarded for a longer period, provided the timescale was specified in the organization’s disciplinary policy. Time periods are to remain current and the penalties imposed must be reasonable in all circumstances, with nature of the misconduct and employees disciplinary record taken into account.
Differently from the Saudi organization the next step in the British procedures is dismissal. However dismissal is only to take place under six conditions.(Parkin, 2009) The first of these condition is capability or qualifications meaning that if the employee is not capable or is unqualified to preform their tasks they may be dismissed from work. The next fair reason for dismissal is on account of the employee’s conduct. Acting with misconduct to the employers regulations is a basis for dismissal. As is illegality or contravention of a statutory duty, redundancy and retirement. These along with any other substantial reason set by the employer is a fair case for dismissal.
As well as falling within one of the six potentially fair reasons given above, an employer must also have acted fairly and reasonably in taking that reason as sufficient for dismissing the employee. This is more complex than it sounds, although it should always be borne in mind that an employment tribunal still has wide discretion on what it considers ‘fair’. Employee’s always have the right to a grievance for a dismissal situation. (ACAS,2004)
Some of the advantages of the Saudi organization’s formal disciplinary procedures are it’s use of fining before dismissal allowing its employee’s an extra step to examine their conduct and correct their faults before being asked to leave. However this can also be a disadvantage as an organizations survival depends on it’s performance and effectiveness. If employees are allowed room to keep making mistakes it could end up being detrimental to the organization.
Another advantage of the Saudi organization is its suspension without pay. This allows an employee to reevaluate their conduct but does not end up costing the company money to discipline an employee, as most likely the employee has already cost them some amount. Saudi organizations usually employ a plethora or cultures. The degree to which these workers are psychologically linked or attracted to interacting with one another in pursuit of the companies objective is crucially important. Though there are no exact procedures to successful discipline, organizing a policy of correction rather than punishment may prove to be more effective form of discipline.
A survey questionnaire would be a great way for gathering data to involve as many organization managers as possible. The more respondents would result in more data. This would give a more precise evaluation of the actual circumstance being dealt with.(Jankowiez, 1995) Nevertheless in spite of growing importance, very little research has been done to assess the management in Saudi organizations. Another perspective could be given by interviewing personnel managers and line managers of the organization. This could be a vital way to gather important data that would otherwise be left out of the overall picture. Allowing those interviewed options to develop their own viewpoints and beliefs could give insight and information that would be appreciated as an inside view tells more about an organization then those from upper management could offer.
Both formal and written disciplinary procedures that are effective in Saudi organizations are examples of formalized discipline. (James and Lewis, 1992) These are steps taken only to punish employees for their wrongdoings. Punishment is inevitably the effect of disciplinary actions taken on an employee. The policies and procedures set by the Saudi organizations strive for formal control of the employees and workplace. Worker compliance is expected and employees are punished upon non compliance. An organization may find their company more successful if employees were praised with responsibility. This would cause a competition for greatness within the organization and employers may find themselves in a situation of growth and greatness rather than continually punishing and at a standstill.
The study of proliferation of formal procedures in the work place minimizes flexibility. By minimizing the flexibility you reduce the opportunities for innovation and change. Thus the effectiveness of the set disciplinary policies are reduced. Innovation plays a key role in any organizations effectiveness and growth.(Hook, Rollinson, Foot and Handley, 1996) Disciplinary policies will have no pull if the company is not a desirable place to be in the first place. This may be the major restriction of the Saudi organizations attempts to take full advantage of their human resources. The answer to solving this restriction is creating an organization that promotes self discipline. Accepting that there is no way to change the past and that as an employer there isn’t a way to effect the environment where your employees have previously been is a giant step in deciding to employ the procedure of self discipline. When employees can practice self discipline, supervisory intervention, or discipline that is imposed externally becomes minimized. Leaving more time for encouragement and developing relationships. This would prove to be very helpful in Saudi situations as many cultures are employed and have a need to bond with one another in order to accomplish more in the work environment. (Budhwar and Debrah, 2001)
Creating a work environment of self discipline is not difficult. It is built on some of the same principles that discipline procedures are. Expectations need to be made clear, this provides for continuous improvement , initiative and problem solving if the employees are informed that these are the goals. When self discipline is noticed offer praise and support. Allow the employee to feel appreciated for their contribution to the organization. Consider time off, bonus pay, leadership and development opportunities as reward. This benefits the person and in the long run the organization. Setting up an environment for self discipline does not mean that abolishing formal discipline should take place either. Creating a fair and equal balance of the two techniques is necessary for a smooth run organization. Self discipline is meant to improve the implementation of the human resources management rules. This technique would require workers to get to know one another and would replace stereotypes with realistic view of others as individuals. Ignorance of diversity could result in challenges and creates an atmosphere that leads to insufficient utilization of the human resources. This could have a negative result on the corporate competitiveness.
Organizations will find it beneficial to set up a long term strategic plan. The strategy to use both self discipline and discipline procedures will effectively establish a well oiled organization. When actions that are deemed inappropriate for the conduct required within the organization, they are to be handled in accordance with the disciplinary procedures set and followed by the organization. This leaves no room for an employee to take advantage of an organization either in the workplace or in accordance with laws and lawsuits. These rules are set while encouragement for self discipline, having accurate and obtainable expectations set and available to employees, is being promoted . Employees should understand both the disciplinary actions that may take place as well as the rewards that obtainable to them. Employees as well as organizations ought to understand that disciplinary procedures and self disciplinary environments that are set up today will determine their growth and achievement in the future.
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