I suppose you are suggesting that there are situations where employees prefer to have very little freedom, yes?. I’m not coming up with any off the top of my head, but I’ll agree that they’re out there. Do you have an example?
For example, putting the person in a position where they have a clearly defined set of goals adn duties. For example if there was a field inspector that called the boss 20 times a day needing clarification maybe they are moved into a position where they simply enter other peoples’ reports.
as to distinguishing, maybe if you see things like the employee saying ‘we have to ask the supervisor, we can only do what the supervisor says’. Employees refusing to voice an opinion or take initiative or saying that they can’t. If the employee is working in an air of (relatively) free decision and control then they’ll take that control. Or say something along the line of ‘I think we should do this but we’ll have to run it by….’
But if they steadfastly refuse to make any decision and insist upon only doing what the supervisor tells them to do, then you may have a controlling supervisor.
You can also look into how the supervisor treats his/her employees. Do they place great importance upon their position? Things like ‘I’m this title, I’m in charge’. When they place that much importance upon their position and ‘power’ then they are likely to be focused on ‘me boss, you subordinate, do what I say’, which often lends itself to the micromanager.