Introduction: In 1960, Douglas McGregor an American psychologist formulated a theory that has changed the path of management thinking and practice. He proposed two sets of assumptions about employee's attitude and behaviour, so the manager will be in a better position to manage the workers and achieve organizational goals. McGregor named these assumptions as Theory X and Theory This essay would examine the pros and cons of this theory of employee motivation, followed by writer's opinion.
(McGregor, 1960) Theory X: According to Theory X, Managers assume that the average employee is lazy, dislikes work, are incapable of self-direction and will not indulge in hard work. Additionally, McGregor considers these workers have less ambition and avoids taking responsibility. It is a difficult task to exploit work from these employees, and manager plays a significant role in order to handle and manage them to achieve the company's goal.
McGregor believe that it is important that managers formulate regulations in order to counteract worker's tendencies to avoid work and also supervise them closely and control their behaviour in order to run the business in an effective and efficient manner. Managers can also reward the employees if the work is done in an efficient way, as this can be a motivation factor for the workers. (McGregor, 1960) This theory is more convention and few managers adapt this theory in order to maintain control over the employees, as they consider it is essential to supervise and control the labourers.
Managers following these assumptions believe not to give autonomy to the employees and the main reason being the workers are not expecting the opportunity and will be happy to shy away from responsibility. Many managers are of the point of few that these workers must be dealt with rewards and punishments and that's the only way to manage these employees and also see their role as closely monitor the workers to ensure that they are assert for the company and not liability.
Moreover, it is really difficult to change the mindset of the employees and famous entrepreneur, Jim Wessel, vice president at Becton Dickinson, believed that it was really difficult to get over the mind set and also thought that the company’s more problematic transitions were in the area of thinking and not just actions. (Fisher, Kimball, 1999). Therefore, without this active intervention by management, people would not fit into the organization’s needs.
They must be persuaded, rewarded, punished, and controlled. Their activities must be directed and controlled. Management's task was thus simply getting things done through other people. For instance, the most notable advocate was Henry Ford, American industrialist, who used the employees to design the first ever production line, making Ford cars. This was the start of the era of mass production. Ford took all his decisions and simply gave orders to those below them. (Waddell, Devine, Jones, George, 2007).
Moreover, Henry Ford did not give opportunities to his employees, but he supervised and guided them to make sure the employees do not threaten the product quality. It was evident that Ford had his own ideas and was only keen on his employees performing their duties as requested by him. This theory can be used by the managers if the employees refuse to take responsibilities and avoid any opportunities. But, not all the employees should be categorised under this theory, as there are many workers who are ready to accept responsibility and are always on lookout for opportunities.
Theory Y: On the contrary, this theory deals with employees that are not inherently lazy, they will exercise self-direction and self -control in order to achieve the targets, people attain self-satisfaction from effort put forth to achieve the organizational objectives, they like work and if they get the opportunity, they will perform what is beneficial for the company. It is believed that employees enjoy their mental and physical work duties. Theory Y assumes that higher-order needs dominate individuals.
This theory does not satisfy lower order needs like Theory X. Managers following this pattern of leadership should decentralize authority to employees and make sure that employees are equipped with resources and provide opportunities to succeed. Managers are not required to supervise constantly, as the employees are aware of their tasks but to ensure that the workers are provided with maximum support and advice when required. This assumption gives freedom to the managers as they don't have to invest huge amount of time on supervision.
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. Many people interpret Theory Y as a positive set of beliefs about workers. A close reading of The Human Side of Enterprise reveals that McGregor simply argues for managers to be open to a more positive view of workers and the possibilities that this creates.
He thinks that Theory Y managers are more likely than Theory X managers to develop the climate of trust with employees that are required for human resource development. Therefore, it is important that managers realize the above assumptions and give maximum opportunities for the workers, so that the company can progress in the right direction. (Fisher, Kimball, 1999). For Instance, if a manager assumes that the clerk will do a good job hiring their peers is much more likely to invest the time and money on the training process rather than supervising the employees.
These managers realize the importance of the employees and give them all possible opportunities to make them happy and satisfied. Conclusion: Following the analyzation of the above discussion, it is evident that the X theory and Y theory provides platform for the managers to work on their employees and also helps to understand the employees behaviour and change the leadership style accordingly. However, the manager should not categorize the entire group of employees under one assumption, as all the employees possess different qualities.
Therefore, it is important to understand the character of each and every individual and react accordingly; however, this might not be feasible in today's world, especially in large organizations. References: 1. McGregor, Douglas. The Human Side of Enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. , 1960. 2. Waddell, Devine, Jones, George, 2007, Contemporary Management,McGraw-Hill,Inc. Australia 3. Fisher, Kimball,1999, Leading Self-Directed Work Teams, A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills