Theory X and Theory Y was an idea devised by Douglas McGregor (see article) in his 1960 book “The Human Side of Enterprise”. It encapsulated a fundamental distinction between management styles and has formed the basis for much subsequent writing on the subject.
Theory X is an authoritarian style where the emphasis is on “productivity, on the concept of a fair day's work, on the evils of feather-bedding and restriction of output, on rewards for performance … [it] reflects an underlying belief that management must counteract an inherent human tendency to avoid work”. Theory X is the style that predominated in business after the mechanistic system of scientific management had swept everything before it in the first few decades of the 20th century.
Theory Y is a participative style of management which “assumes that people will exercise self-direction and self-control in the achievement of organisational objectives to the degree that they are committed to those objectives”. It is management's main task in such a system to maximise that commitment.
Theory X assumes that individuals are base, work-shy and constantly in need of a good prod. It always has a ready-made excuse for failure—the innate limitations of all human resources. Theory Y, however, assumes that individuals go to work of their own accord, because work is the only way in which they have a chance of satisfying their (high-level) need for achievement and self-respect. People will work without prodding; it has been their fate since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.
Theory Y gives management no easy excuses for failure. It challenges them “to innovate, to discover new ways of organising and directing human effort, even though we recognise that the perfect organisation, like the perfect vacuum, is practically out of reach”. McGregor urged companies to adopt Theory Y. Only it, he believed, could motivate human beings to the highest levels of achievement. Theory X merely satisfied their lower-level physical needs and could not hope to be as productive. “Man is a wanting animal,” wrote McGregor, “as soon as one of his needs is satisfied another appears in its place.”
There are parallels with Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and Maslow was indeed greatly influenced by McGregor. So much so that he tried to introduce Theory Y into a Californian electronics business, but found that the idea in its extreme form did not work well. All individuals, he concluded, however independent and mature, need some form of structure around them and some direction from others. Maslow also criticised Theory Y for its “inhumanity” to the weak, and to those not capable of a high level of self-motivation.
In his comic classic “Up the Organisation”, Robert Townsend wrote powerfully in support of Theory Y:
People don't hate work. It's as natural as rest or play. They don't have to be forced or threatened. If they commit themselves to mutual objectives, they'll drive themselves more effectively than you can drive them. But they'll commit themselves only to the extent they can see ways of satisfying their ego and development needs.
Lorsch, J. and Morse, J., “Beyond Theory Y”, Harvard Business Review, May–June 1970
McGregor, D., “Leadership and Motivation: Essays”, MIT Press, 1966; 1969
McGregor, D., “The Human Side of Enterprise”, McGraw-Hill, 1960; annotated edn, McGraw-Hill, 2006
Townsend, R., “Up the Organisation”, Michael Joseph, 1970; reprinted as “Further Up the Organisation”, Coronet, 1985
More management ideas
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Mc Gregor’s Theory X And Theory Y
McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y
Human beings have been studied systematically and objectively for many years to determine if they are resistant to work or self-governing. In addition, managers who tend to utilize McGregor’s Theory X generally receive poor results from their employees. This report essay will address McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y in contrasts to include how these theories benefit the criminal justice system. The sections that will be discussed are: Theory X, Theory Y, Behavioral Management Theories and conclusion.
McGregor’s Theory X
According to McGregor’s Theory X, it can best be described as employees who have issues with taking responsibility to go to work with the desire to work and who are resistant and who require pressure in order to perform their job duties and complete production. Theory X is considered to be negative as labeled by McGregor. (Robbins, 2013)
McGregor’s Theory Y
According to McGregor’s Theory Y, it can be best described as employees who have a willingness and desire to take responsibility to work, and are committed to accomplishing their goals pressure free of performing their job duties in order to complete their work production. Theory Y is considered to be positive as labeled by McGregor. (Robbins, 2013)
Behavioral Management Theories
Abraham Maslow wrote the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. This theory was based on fulfilling five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. Maslow believed that these needs could create internal pressures that could influence the behavior of a person. (Robbins, p.204)
It essential that managers are aware of their employees physical needs while in the work place to include ensuring that breaks are provided in a timely manner to take care of any personal needs they may have. It is important that the employees are made to feel free from anxiety. Employees should feel safe in their work environment and should have a sense of belonging while at work and should be recognized for their hard work. The employees should also be encouraged to reach his or her potential. This tends to help boosts the moral in the work place and brings about positive results.
Frederick Herzberg developed a list of factors based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, that’s more related to work. This theory is called the two-factor theory and is also called the motivation-hygiene theory. (Robbins, p.205)
According to Herzberg the hygiene factors are considered to be the dissatisfiers and the motivators are the satisfiers. These factors are taken totally from the work environment and feeds off the other. If there are no dissatisfiers present in the job then satisfiers cannot be utilized. For an example: John Doe is not happy with his current salary, status or job security which causes him to be negative in the work place. The satisfier (motivator) is then set in place to invigorate the employee towards advancements,...
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