Tactical Controls: Approaches

Implementation of tactical control systems say a great deal about an organisation. Tactical control systems are used to determine what it is like to work there and how effective the control is. These control systems characterise an organisation and are a critical part of its identity. Because of these reasons, it is important to specify and discuss the two fundamental approaches to tactical control including bureaucratic control and elicited or commitment control.

Bureaucratic Control
Most organisations use a combination of these two approaches but also tend to emphasise one over the other. Bureaucratic control focuses on to the adherence to rules and regulations and a formal, impersonal administration of control systems. For example, many firms provide thick operating manuals for their managers. Such manuals define everything from which types of capital budget requests need which type of approval to equipment maintenance schedules.

This approach highlights rational planning and orderliness. It heavily emphasises detecting deviance from standards set rules and regulations. If managers fail to follow standard operating procedures in this type of bureaucratic control, then it can create serious problems in cases where safety of operations is paramount.

Regardless of whether this type of control is effective or not, however, its foremost feature—in a control sense—is that control is imposed on the person, group, or activity. From an employee’s perspective, “others” do the controlling in an organisation.

Commitment control
This control system focuses on obtaining consensus on what goals should be pursued and then developing a shared sense of self-control and responsibility for achieving those goals. It is also called a “clan” approach to control because it places emphasis on generating shared and deeply held values, as in a set of close relatives, and on mutual assistance in meeting performance standards. Unlike the bureaucratic approach, the clan approach tends to treat deviations from standards more as a basis for diagnosis than for taking corrective action.

Its foremost feature, in a control sense, is that control is viewed as being elicited from, rather than imposed on, the person, group, or activity.

From an employee’s perspective, the employee or his or her group, rather than others, does the controlling. It may wonder you that why every organisation doesn’t use a commitment approach as it is more useful than bureaucratic control. It sounds as if it would function better for both the organisation and those who work in it.