Role of Vigilance in Management

Role of Vigilance in Management

Vigilance is a tool of management. It is primarily a responsibility of the management. An organization has both external threats and internal dangers. The organization protects from external threats through creating security and posting manpower to guard against such threats. The role of vigilance is to protect the organization from internal dangers which are more serious than external threats.

Vigilance in any organization is an integral function like any other function of management, such as finance, personnel, operation, marketing, material, and contracts etc. If the vigilance set up is effective in an organization, it will certainly ensure the functioning of the other segment like finance, personnel, operation, and marketing etc. in an efficient way.  It has therefore to be given a rightful place in the management.

Vigilance is defined as watchfulness, alertness, and caution. The word vigilance tells managers to be on vigil, to be vigilant, to be alert, and to have vigilance of organization’s image and reputation as well as to have vigilance of the organization’s assets. Vigilance is an essentially a management function aimed at ensuring above board and orderly conduct of affairs by the employees of the organization. The primary objective of vigilance is to protect the honest and punish the corrupt.

Vigilance with well planned strategy to deal effectively with the cases of unfair practice is an integral part of administration. Vigilance is required to detect the irregularities before it is carried out, analyze and find out the reasons of such irregularities or to take effective measures to curb the same so that the irregularities are prevented and to take corrective action as per laid down procedure against the defaulter and award of punishment if the guilt is established. The effectiveness of vigilance to carry out these functions successfully and in a transparent and an impartial manner requires that it should have capacity and capability to assess the adverse impact on finances, property and image of the organization and capacity of taking appropriate action well in advance to avoid such threats and pilferages.

The vigilance must work as a system and not as an organ of a system. Vigilance must be capable of and be equipped with trained manpower and expertise to collect advance intelligence information, identify the sources of such threats and subversive designs. The vigilance must formulate the policy to achieve these goals which should be simple, clear and transparent.

An alert and effective management with serious concern for its clean image and better judicious utilization of funds and resources will rise to the occasion and take suitable, effective and result oriented measures to exercise due control to ensure the adoption of system and procedure to stop the misuse of position, power and funds.

The main objective of vigilance function in any organization is to assist the management to achieve its goal by ensuring that all transactions are carried out as per systems and procedures while minimizing the scope of malpractices/misconduct and misuse of funds. Whereas the objective of any commercial/industrial establishment is to achieve the planned production target with optimum utilization of resources to ensure profitability, productivity and quality within laid down time and cost, being aware of its responsibility and accountability. Thus the role of vigilance department is complimentary and not contradictory to the organizational objectives as often made out.

The importance of line manager’s role as a vigilance executive cannot be underplayed who will continue to be the sole guardian of the maintenance of integrity and honesty in the organization. Any amount of vigilance cannot be effective and successful unless each and every executive of the organization involves himself and assumes the role of vigilance executive.

Functions of vigilance

Vigilance is basically and admittedly a managerial function and assist in maintaining integrity, purity and efficiency of the administration. The following are the functions of the vigilance.

  • Disciplining the wrong doers and protecting the honest performers
  • Keeping a careful watch on the possible areas of activities which are against the interest of any organization in order to avoid difficulties and danger
  • Increasing transparency and fairness
  • Ascertaining accountability
  • Reducing wastages and leakages
  • Promoting ethical practices and culture of honesty and integrity
  • Reforming systems and procedures and spreading the awareness of them for corruption free delivery and promoting healthy growth
  • Codifying the rules, procedures, norms and systems in key areas such as purchases, stores, operations, finances, award of contracts and personnel managements in order to avoid adhocism and lack of transparency and accountability
  • Enhancing the image of the organization by striving for zero tolerance for corruption

By adopting the above functions of the vigilance the organization has faith following.

  • Prevention is better than cure
  • Every executive as supervisor of his works is a vigilance officer
  • Vigilance objective is to help improve the working environment and working system both by preventive measures and by punitive measures
  • Once alertness / awareness come, scope of malpractices get automatically eliminated.

However, a focused attention is required in those areas of the organization where (i) the employees have high discretionary powers, (ii) there is scope for jumping the queue, (iii) the rules and procedures are complex, (iv) the accountability is low (v) there is usually delay in decision making, (vi) there is existence of opportunities to negotiate exist, (vii) there is doubt on the integrity of the individual employees.  Vigilance set up of the organization needs to identify such area of likely corruption and target their efforts for setting up clean governance systems through introduction of comprehensive checks and controls.

Types of vigilance

In an organization vigilance is normally of three following types.

  • Preventing vigilance – It is done by ensuring a sound work system which minimizes the scope for irregularities/malpractices. Preventing vigilance is carried out for reducing corruption in an effective manner through the following.
    • Detailed examination of the existing procedure and simplifying rules and procedures
    • Locating sensitive spots and have focused attention
    • Posting of the employees with clean image at sensitive spots and further to have a periodical rotation policy for the employees in these areas
    • Focused attention is to be done on the officers of doubtful integrity (ODI) and undesirable contact man (UCM)
    • Curtailing or restricting discretions of the employees
    • Improving transparency in the organization
    • Enhancing fairness, competitiveness and accountability amongst the employees through awareness, education, and training.
    • Ensuring that there is strict observance of the conduct rules in the organization
    • Restricting the administrative delays and ensuring quick decision making.
  • Surveillance and detective vigilance – It is done to find out irregularities/malpractices through inspections/checks/reviews etc. It is carried out by the following.
    • Conducting surprise checks/inspections
    • Introducing elaborate check and control system
    • Taking prompt actions on the complaints and feedbacks
    • Scrutinizing sensitive documents such as annual property returns, and audit reports etc.
    • Cultivating the system of informers or other sources for the detection of irregularities in the organization.
  • Reactive or punitive vigilance – It consists of carrying out the investigations and assisting disciplinary authority in taking punitive action by initiating and following up disciplinary/prosecution proceedings against the employee having lack of integrity. For reactive vigilance the following are important issues.
    • The principles of natural justice are to be followed
    • It is dealing with the actual lapses only
    • Taking of disciplinary actions against the employee only after the charges are proved without any doubt

Principles of vigilance

Vigilance is an integral part of the management. It provides important instruments for improving performance of an organization. This includes promoting clean business transactions, professionalism, productivity, promptness and ethical practices. It also assists in systemic improvements in curbing opportunities for corruption. Therefore, vigilance helps in improving efficiency and effectiveness of the personnel as well as the organization. There are four cardinal principles of vigilance which are given below.

  • Transparency – This means not hiding any facts or matter from all those who are stakeholders and who take the decisions
  • Fairness – This means application of same principles to all concerned under similar conditions
  • Competitiveness – This means encouraging competition within the organization in the interest of the organization
  • Accountability – This means that if there is any deviation from the laid down rules/procedures in the business interest of the organization that should be clearly recorded upfront rather be used later as justification.

Some important principles of vigilance in an organization is shown in Fig 1.

Role of vigilance

Fig 1 Important principles of vigilance


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