When Management by Exception Fails? Conditions and Situations

Management by Exception
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Jagdish B Acharya
Consultant, India

When Management by Exception Fails? Conditions and Situations

MBE is a very good method, but it cannot be the only way of control. It may fail to deliver due to some factors. I try to list some:
1. People are mostly afraid to bring out exceptions. "Who will bell the cat?" is often the reason for this. (Ed: The fable of concerns a group of mice who debate plans to nullify the threat of a marauding cat. One of them proposes placing a bell around its neck, so that they are warned of its approach. The plan is applauded by the others, until one mouse asks who will volunteer to place the bell on the cat.)
2. Exception may be brought out at last moment when nothing except fire fighting or accepting it as fait accompli remains.
3. Often there is no clarity about whose exceptions may be brought out. It is easier to bring out exceptions of others. But that starts political battles.
4. In order to be diplomatic and not offensive to peers, the language of exception is diluted and does not convey seriousness or reality of problem.
5. Superior's reaction to exception may affect further exceptions' reporting.
6. Peer politics may work counter to objectives of management by exceptions.
Other points may be added by managers who practise it...

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