Control by Exception

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SUBMISSION DATE:7 October 2011

Reason why control by “exception” is preferable to control by “inspection” in terms of management time utilisation and people motivation

Control is a management function that focuses on the process of monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished as planned; they ensure that plans are effective; they make the organisation effective and efficient and aid in decision-making. The question asked is: Must supervisors spend all their time controlling? Many people do not like to be controlled and do not like to be criticised. Yet that’s what control’s all about. The trick is to emphasize the value of controls to employees and to ensure they understand that it is not to interfere, as long as they are doing their job. Management control should focus on listening to and acting on the recommendations of staff, not checking that they are doing their work properly. One of the essentials of an effective control system is pointing out exceptions at critical points and suggest whether action is to be taken for deviations or not. At what level of detail should controls be applied? If control is too detailed, you drown in information. If control is too high level, it does not provide enough information to make confident, justified decisions. People in charge want a specified amount of control; but they cannot accomplish this without some repercussions. How to gain control without completely alienating every employee who works for you? Compromise is needed – you do not want the staff to feel they cannot be trusted to do their jobs.

Management by Exception is a form of delegation; the supervisor lets things run as long as they fall within prescribed, control limits of performance and when things get out of line, the supervisor steps in. Frederick Taylor is credited with originating this...
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