It is a step by step program designed to correct performance problems arising out of employee misconduct. This approach typically follows four progressive steps to rectify offenses committed by an employee. It suggests that actions to modify behavior become progressively more severe as the employee continues to show improper behavior.

  1. Oral reprimands: It is a verbal interaction between the employees and supervisor where they discuss the problem behavior and the expectations to change the behaviors. An oral warning is issued as an infor¬mal reprimand that is simply noted in the record.
    1. Written reprimand: It involves the documentation between employees and supervisor if the behavior continues or if the employee further commits a serious offense. A written warning is more official and summarizes the previous oral attempts. This written feedback is discussed with the employee and then placed in his personnel file.
    2. Suspension: The third step is suspension with¬out pay; its purpose is to emphasize the seriousness of the offense and necessity of change.


  1. Dismissal: The final step is dismissal of employee and is used only when previous steps have failed to change unacceptable behavior.

The progressive discipline model has two advantages for managers:

  • It gives the employee additional opportunities to correct his per¬formance prior to discharge.
  • It stresses the serious¬ness of repeated violations to employees.

This progressive discipline has the following disadvantages:

  • Progressive discipline may result into bitter relationships between supervisor and employee.
  • Supervisor may feel obligated to address every perform¬ance offence and assign an appropriate punishment to it, even though it may not be required.
  • Management may focus only on the problem employees at the expense of the good performers, thereby consuming too much of a manager’s time.