Unity of direction is the rule that all subordinate members of an organization should be subordinate to a single leader. A company may have one general officer, a group of regional or district leaders, and numerous supervisory or command posts. Each of these may have different functions but they must work under the same overall leader. For instance, a manufacturer may have president, vice president, general manager, and engineer.
Under the unity of direction principle, all these individuals are subordinate to the manufacturer’s president. This principle is often called the most dangerous principle of management because if the group considers itself separate from the manufacturer, it can be dangerous for the organization. If one member of the group thinks that he is above the others, and wants to make his own decisions, this will lead to conflicts and chaos. It will also inevitably result in the demise of the group.
Under the dual subordination principle, some employees are superior to others. If an employee is superior in skills or talent, he is given the right to determine what his subordinates will do. But if he is not superior, his actions will determine how those subordinates will act. In other words, the manager who has the greatest skill, but is incompetent will have no authority to change the employees’ beliefs and opinions. He cannot command them to do something that he knows does not benefit the company.
Unity of direction in organizations can also be achieved through developing a sense of uniformity. Uniformity of belief and action leads to a unity of purpose among people within the organization. All of the employees understand the mission of the company and their roles are clearly defined. This allows all of the employees to feel like they are part of the entire organization. Unity of purpose in any organization is extremely important in achieving success.
The unity of purpose principle in achieving unity of direction is not just about reaching common goals. It also means being willing to work together to achieve those common goals. Every member of an organization should be willing to contribute toward the common goals of the organization. And, every member should be willing to accept the decisions of the board if those decisions do not threaten the values and beliefs of the organization. A strong sense of unity of purpose is achieved when all of the employees work together to achieve the overall objectives of the organization.
Another important aspect of the unity of direction management principle is ensuring that the procedures by which people communicate are not based on gender, race, or any other characteristic that would prevent one employee from communicating with another employee. All employees must be free to communicate with one another as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Everyone must be willing to be reasonable in considering requests for communication from one another. If a request is not reasonable, it should not be entertained. The management must ensure that all employees are willing to communicate with each other and that the procedures by which they communicate are fair and consistent with the need to accomplish the goals of the organization.
This discussion has provided an overview of the principles of unity of direction. Although there are many factors to consider before applying the unity of direction principle, the overall goal is to maximize the overall effectiveness of the team. When unity of purpose exists, an organization will enjoy an increased productivity level. It is also believed that unity of purpose helps to eliminate workplace stress and therefore helps to promote good health. The benefits of unity of purpose are many and the use of these principles is growing in importance throughout most businesses in North America.