Management by exception

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The term management by exception (run by exception) refers to a management technique , in which the parent executive bodies the execution of routine cases left to the competent employees to independently decision and the own decision reserved only for exceptional cases.


The employees work independently as long as no tolerance violations or unforeseeable events occur. Goals, target values ​​and evaluation criteria are set. In addition, the success criteria are chosen and the control information determined. Target and actual values ​​are constantly compared and deviation analyzes are carried out.

The prerequisite for the introduction of Management by Exception is the existence of the corresponding information, control and reporting systems that signal the defined exception. Operational goals must be known in the company. The responsibilities must be clearly regulated. All parties involved must know the goals and deviation tolerances, responsibilities and escalations.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages for the superiors are the greatest possible relief with routine tasks and a low control effort, since the employees make decisions independently within the competence areas. The superiors must withhold their employees outside their area of ​​competence.

The employees can act flexibly in their area of ​​competence and refer to their superiors in the event of extraordinary decisions. As a rule, however, they cannot improve their skills and may not be challenged enough. By restricting employees to routine work, a sense of responsibility and initiative are impaired. For the respective manager, this means that the distribution of decision-making powers between their employees and themselves must be finely regulated and consistently adapted. At the same time, it is their job to provide additional training for employees in order to improve their skills as well as to increase the possibilities for delegating tasks.

Disadvantages for the superiors arise from the fact that they only intervene if the goal is not achieved or the success criteria are not achieved. Resourceful employees can therefore sooner or later switch to concealing deviations from the original goal from their superiors in order to avoid their negative reactions. This can largely be circumvented by an efficient information, control or reporting system, since the employees are deprived of the opportunity to change / manipulate the information on the way to the supervisor.

Another disadvantage of this management concept is that employee motivation is not promoted enough, since the superior only learns of negative deviations. The same also applies if the "interesting" cases are only dealt with by the superiors and the routine work remains with the employees.

See also


  • Can Akdeniz, Management by Exception Explained , 2015, Business School Books , Volume 7