Theory X and Theory Y
Understanding Team Member Motivation
What motivates employees to go to work each morning? Many people get great satisfaction from their work and take great pride in it; Others may view it as a burden, and simply work to survive. This question of motivation has been studied by management theorists and social psychologists for decades, in attempts to identify successful approaches to management. Social psychologist Douglas McGregor of MIT expounded two contrasting theories on human motivation and management in the 1960s: The X Theory and the Y Theory. McGregor promoted Theory Y as the basis of good management practice, pioneering the argument that workers are not merely cogs in the company machinery, as Theory X-Type organizations seemed to believe. The theories look at how a manager's perceptions of what motivates his or her team members affects the way he or she behaves. By understanding how your assumptions about employees’ motivation can influence your management style, you can adapt your approach appropriately, and so manage people more effectively. Understanding the Theories
Your management style is strongly influenced by your beliefs and assumptions about what motivates members of your team: If you believe that team members dislike work, you will tend towards an authoritarian style of management; On the other hand, if you assume that employees take pride in doing a good job, you will tend to adopt a more participative style. Theory X
Theory X assumes that employees are naturally unmotivated and dislike working, and this encourages an authoritarian style of management. According to this view, management must actively intervene to get things done. This style of management assumes that workers: •
Avoid responsibility and need to be directed.
Have to be controlled, forced, and threatened to deliver what's needed. •
Need to be supervised at every step, with controls put in place. •
Need to be enticed to...
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