And direct control are terms coined by sociologist Andrew Friedman. Responsible autonomy is the management technique of allowing employees more discretion and greater variety in their work (using methods suggested by job redesign). In contrast, direct control is the technique of closely supervising the work of employees, who are allowed to undertake only a narrow range of tasks (using methods suggested by scientific management). Responsible autonomy is more likely to enlist commitment from employees, but does not guarantee compliance with management wishes. Direct control is more likely to ensure compliance, but does not create or encourage commitment from employees. Within an organization, both techniques might be used for different groups of employees; for example, responsible autonomy for highly skilled core employees in scarce supply, but direct control over low-skilled peripheral workers who are easily replaced. [See high trust and low trust.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.