acceptance of company rules by the use of discipline

There was a time when the term “discipline” implied strictness in an institution. Non-punitive punishment refers to a corporate disciplinary policy that promotes a more “positive” perception of employee discipline. When faced with discipline problems, an employee used to face unpaid suspension. An employee should not have to leave the office if they are subjected to non-punitive punishment. This paper would characterize and explain non-punitive discipline, as well as address its benefits and outline its procedure.
Non-punitive management, also known as ‘progressive discipline,’ seeks to correct issues in a timely and constructive way, while also encouraging workers to take just and sustainable disciplinary measures. Its goal is to empower the employee to be responsible for improving problematic work behaviors. There are four keywords that must be kept in mind for non-punitive discipline to work well within an organization: consistency, warning, clarity, and immediacy (Gibson, Cotterman & Johnson, 2006). The usual process of a non-punitive discipline program begins with an investigation, and then an oral reminder follows. This oral reminder is done when the manager meets the employee in private to discuss the situation or alleged misdemeanour. This is followed by a letter of intent towards the employee, then a chance for the employee to either answer through written letter or oral response. Depending on the enormity of the grievance and based on the factual information gathered, a rehabilitation plan will be determined for the employee. This rehabilitation plan shall be communicated to the employee and he or she shall carry it through. If the employee decides to contest the findings, then certain disciplinary hearings, grievances, and arbitrations will be conducted.

There are many advantages of applying non-punitive discipline in the workplace. For management, this means that the workflow is not disrupted and there is no need to incur costs by filling-in a temporary employee in lieu of the suspended one. For the employee being under this type of discipline means that their salary is not lost because they still get to report to work without fear of being suspended without pay. In many cases, the rehabilitation plan for the employee also results in the removal of the disciplinary letter off the permanent record.

Thousands of organizations today have abandoned traditional modes of disciplining such as warnings, reprimands, probations, demotions, or unpaid disciplinary suspensions (Grote, 2006). The non-punitive disciplinary approach is now integrated into most organization’s human resources programs. Employees now accept and recognize this form of disciplinary action, and are a good gauge for how a company deals with people and problems. It reflects the company’s attitude towards productivity and professionalism. Just like any other program, this approach should still be well-managed and maintained. Non-punitive discipline proves that if employees are treated well, they will become progressively better.


Gibson, J.W., Cotterman, S.P. and Johnson, R.E. (2006). Discipline: still a four letter word?

Journal of Business & Economics Research – January 2006, 4 (1). Retrieved from

Grote, D. (2006). Discipline without punishment: the proven strategy that turns problem

employees into superior performers. New York: American Management Association.

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