9 March 2015
The X and Y Theory
Numerous theories have been designed relating to the psychological interaction between the management of an organization and the employees. Before considering distribution of work, an organization must decide from the outset how to deal with employees. In order to lead to improved performance for the company and possibly to improved employee relations, a strong understanding of the relationship should be practiced. Thus, Douglas McGregor, a behavior management theorist influenced by Abraham Maslow and The Hawthorne Studies, launched a debate over how employers manage, in his book: The Human Side of the Enterprise published in 1960. McGregor compared what he called Theory X and Theory Y perspectives; he challenged the management profession to reexamine its assumptions about the motivations employees bring to their jobs. The question was, “Could employees be trusted and empowered to do good work, or did they have to be closely directed, monitored, and controlled to act in the interests of the firm?” (Kopelman).
Theory X is based on the idea that employees dislike work and fail to take responsibility. Some of these traditional assumptions about employees include: Employees are lazy and not ambitions
Employees are motivated by physiological and security needs like money and threats. Employees need to be controlled, closely watched over and directed. In order to get more work out of these employees higher pay and promotions help promote harder work. Theory X is seen as the negative view on employees; as a result, an authoritative management style is required to ensure that individuals fulfill their objectives. Self-motivation is not possible. They will work only when there is constant supervision on them. A manager has to persuade, punish or reward such workers in order to achieve organizational goals.
Theory Y is based on a modern, progressive and professional approach. It is believed that employees enjoy their work and thrive on responsibility. According to workers, “work is as natural as play.” (Meeker). Some of Theory Y assumptions include: Employees are not lazy and are ambitions
Employees enjoy their work
Employees are motivated by social, esteem and self-actualization needs. Employees are self-directed and assume level of responsibility Theory Y is seen as the positive view on employees; as a result, little authoritative management style is needed to ensure that individuals fulfill their objectives. Managers believe that given the proper conditions, employees will learn to seek out and accept responsibility, exercise self-control and self-direction in accomplishing objectives to which they are committed. “A Theory Y manager believes that, given the right conditions, most people will want to do well at work. They believe that the satisfaction of doing a good job is a strong motivation.” (Kopelman).
Theory Y assumes that people are not by nature, lazy and unreliable. They can be self-directed and creative at work, if properly motivated. It is for the management to unleash this potential in employees. Theory Y emphasizes creating opportunities, removing obstacles, providing guidance and encouraging growth. By using these tools, the management can integrate individual goals of employees with those of the Organization. The assumptions in Theory X and Theory Y are fundamentally distinct. Theory X is static, rigid, conservative and pessimistic. Theory Y is optimistic, dynamic, flexible and progressive. It suggests self-direction and the integration of individual needs with organizational needs. On the other hand, more importance is given to external control imposed by the superior on the subordinate in the Theory X. Several managers influenced by Theory X, generally get poor results. On the other hand, liberal managers use Theory Y, which produces better performance and results, and allows...
Cited: Kopelman, Richard. Futher Development of a Measure of Theory X and Y Managerial
Assumptions. Journal of Managerial Issues. Winter 2012, Vol. 24 Issue 4, p450-470. 21p.
Meeker, Shirley. Theory Y: Another Look. Southern Review of Public Administration. Winter 1982, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p500-515. 16p.
Morse, John. Beyond Theory Y. Harvard Business Review. May/Jun 1970, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p61. 8p. 1 Diagram, 3 Charts.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document