Self-Regulation in Organizational Psychology

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In an organization, as if in a living organism, self-regulation processes take place, which enable it to maintain the relative stability of its composition and ensure the constancy of the fulfillment of fundamental functions for moving towards goals and solving problems. In the theory of management and the theory of organization, the issues of self-regulation and transformation under its influence of modern companies stand out as a separate topic. A particular branch of scientific thought offers a theory of random transformations based on the assumption of spontaneous changes in organizations of various levels. They happen due to the disturbance of the internal or external environment and activation of self-organization and self-preservation processes.

However, to date, there is no generally accepted scientific interpretation of self-regulation in the literature, and researchers offer a considerable number of formulations. The organization, as a social formation, carries a certain balance of management and self-regulation. It is a balance between external influence, “coming” into the system from the outside (management), and internal force, which is born in the organization itself (self-regulation).

Self-regulation is one of the types of management. Management attributes are the backbone of a formally valid (approved, put into effect) organizational position. They include administrative methods of influence (orders, established administrative responsibility, disciplinary requirements, and others). They also include strict control of performance and take into account only labor factors that fit into the established order.

Details of self-regulation are always based on informal relationships in the team. These are human nature qualities (respect, interest, psychological disposition, authority, pride), organizational culture, and leadership abilities. The frequently changing internal and external environment significantly impacts the balance of management and self-regulation (Schunk, 2020). Self-regulation is revealed as one of the main elements of the organizational order, which allows employees to influence the process of implementing decisions and make changes in the organization’s state of affairs.

In the process of self-regulation, the collective of the company becomes the subject of management. This is a special form of organizing the management of equal subjects in their joint activities to achieve common goals. The executive and managerial labor in the implementation of self-regulation are combined into one when the responsibility for making decisions belongs to the direct executors.

Self-regulation is a fundamental component of any system. It contributes to the satisfaction of a person’s needs and an organization for independence, self-expression, or self-regulation. Self-regulation is not only specific; it is justified, for example, for the top management personnel of the organization, for the personnel of the design bureau, and other areas. In comparison with regular management, self-regulation manifests itself in consistent subordination, and it is also either pronounced or absent altogether.

The following components are put forward as the basis of the philosophy and theory of self-regulation: delegation of management powers to lower levels, which allows freeing up the manager’s working time, functional redistribution of management tasks, and formalization of the management process through the creation of an internal regulatory framework. Self-regulation also includes the automation of the manager’s work, the use of synergy in the processes of self-regulation and management, the transfer of some responsibility and authority for some administrative functions, and an increase in the self-control of personnel to increase motivation, labor efficiency, and self-satisfaction.

In some circumstances, self-regulation is more effective than management. Analyzing the existing organizational culture, it is usually easy to identify the sources of professional management and its derivatives. Self-regulation is based on the definition of goals and ways to achieve them. It also includes the constant involvement of personnel at the level of self-regulation in the formulation and implementation of decisions (Schunk, 2020). At the same time, the emphasis is on the mandatory combination of both decision-making and their implementation by the employees involved in the process.

Indeed, in any team, there is always an active part, a minority, and a passive part, a majority, which is explained by the difference in the competence of employees and different levels of awareness about the state of production activity. Under these conditions, in a self-governing team, individual members can be excluded from making managerial decisions, participating in their preparation and implementation, which entails a decrease in self-control quality. To implement self-regulation, it is important to exclude unclaimed management methods, avoid problems caused by the inert nature of society’s consciousness, reduce the level of conflicts in the team, and overcome the level of employee discrepancy in professional competence.

There are different strategies for self-regulation, each of which can be beneficial to the organization. The passive-restraining strategy supports the benefits arising from the spontaneous development of self-management processes emanating from the initiative of employees and at the same time, aimed at curbing their desire to take part in the management of the organization to receive strategic information about its state and development options. The described strategy usually takes place in organizations with closed management accounting data that apply high requirements to personnel.

A strategy of compensatory support for self-regulation is based on the support of proactive workers, motivation to participate in self-regulation, and stimulation of an increase in labor productivity. This strategy is used in organizations that do not plan to make major structural changes, but actively strive to effectively use individual employee initiatives, motivating the latter with material methods.

Self-regulation development strategy as the basis for the progressive development of the organization in the occupied market niche. This strategy is based on creating conditions for the introduction of well-known forms of self-regulation. Basically, it is used by organizations with a high level of adaptation to market fluctuations and a focus on supporting any initiatives of employees, motivating them with material and non-material methods to develop self-regulation.

Teams occupy a key position in the self-regulation of modern enterprises. In addition to this, all kinds of research on methods of improving performance are also carried out to the relative development of the employee’s skills and with the identification of an independently controlled team. This team itself tries to plan its work, monitors the work of its employees and the entire team’s activities, encourages employees to perform high-quality tasks, recruits new staff, identifies problems, and supports new employee initiatives. In addition, the members of this self-regulatory team set the quality standards themselves and are collectively responsible for the results obtained.

Encouraging the formation of teams at the in-house level and possibly partnering teams at the external level has a high potential to increase collaboration productivity. Accordingly, within these teams, self-management processes play a critical role in companies’ success and individual projects. The same is true for government organizations and institutions, as well as charitable foundations. Organizations of any level that sufficiently apply the effects of self-regulation reduce conflicts within the team and between levels of subordination, thus increasing the effectiveness of management as a whole.

In conclusion, it must be added that self-regulation can help any organization focus its forces and resources and direct them correctly. In the current constantly changing external environment, managers must make effective and correct decisions and direct employees to perform the organization’s functions as a social system. This helps to make the right decisions and quickly implement them.


Schunk, D. H. (2020). Learning theories: An educational perspective (8th Ed.). Pearson, Inc.

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