Douglas McGregor was a management professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He introduced a new motivational theory in his book ‘The Human Side of Enterprise’, stating that all workers were divided into two groups: Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X workers were lazy, irrational and unreliable, and were only motivated by money and threatened by punishment. Theory Y workers were able to seek and accept responsibilities and fulfil any goals given. The Human Side of Enterprise, written my McGregor in 1960, was voted the fourth most influential management book of the 20th century by the Fellows of the Academy of Management. The ideas and theories shown in the book have remained relevant and are taught in Universities across the world. McGregor characterised the management practises at the time as Theory X and proposed the antidote to the destruction that was waged by Theory X managers. He called it, Theory Y. Basically, Theory X represents untrue assumptions that many managers make. Theory Y represents assumptions that represent the reality as per McGregor. Abraham Maslow, an American psychology professor, proposed the theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in his 1943 paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfil basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. Unless that basic need is satisfied, the person will not be much concerned with higher level needs. Comparisons
From first glance, there seems to be very little in common between Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. But after reading through Theory X and Theory Y, it becomes apparent that Theory X is based on people who are still at the level of the first two needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; Physiological needs and Safety needs. While Theory Y workers are based on those on higher levels; Social, Esteem and Self-Actualisation. Although McGregor doesn’t actually make references to Maslow’s...
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