Use of discipline in an organization: A field study

Richard D. Arvey, Gregory A. Davis, Sherry M. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


526 hourly employees working in a refinery were surveyed about their perceptions of their immediate supervisor's disciplinary behavior as well as the kinds of factors supervisors take into account when applying discipline. Factor analytic and correlational procedures were explored to (a) determine the kinds of disciplinary factors that are perceived as operating in the organization; (b) determine the relationships between these disciplinary factors and other employee variables such as satisfaction with supervisor, disciplinary history, and grievances; and (c) determine the attributions that supervisors are perceived as forming within the disciplinary process and determine the relationships between these types of attributions and selected employee variables. Several reliable supervisory disciplinary factors are identified that showed high relationships with supervisory satisfaction and the evaluation of the organizational disciplinary program but low correlations with more distant and objective variables of disciplinary history, grievances, and absenteeism. Several attributional dimensions that Ss perceived their supervisor to be using when applying discipline were identified. However, these dimensions are not consistent with the kinds of attributional elements identified in previous literature. Both reward- and punishment-oriented supervisor behavior were independently and incrementally related to satisfaction with supervision, but reward-oriented behavior was more important. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-460
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1984


  • employee's perception of supervisor's disciplinary behavior & factors affecting application, refinery employees


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