Theory X Theory Y…and Z where do you fall in?

28 Sep

According to concepts  the US college-administrator and professor Douglas McGregor  (1906-64) in his 1960 book ‘The Human Side Of Eenterprise’ these are two distinct sets of assumptions  that managers,  in general,  have about their employees  and which often turn out to be self-fulfilling prophesies.

Theory-X assumptions  are:

(1) most people dislike work and will  avoid it to the extent possible, therefore

(2) they must be continually coerced,  controlled, and threatened with punishment  to get the work done, and that

(3) they have little or no ambition, prefer to  avoid responsibility,  and choose security  above everything else.

Theory-Y assumptions are: (1) physical and mental effort  are natural and most people (depending on the work  environment) find work to be a source  of satisfaction,

(2) they generally, on their own motivation, exercise  self-control, self-direction, creativity,  and ingenuity in pursuit of individual  and collective (company) goals,

(3)  they either seek responsibility or learn to accept it willingly, and that

(4)  their full potential is not tapped in most organizations.

These assumptions serve as powerful behavioral models  reflected in the way an organization is structured.

Management  that believes in theory-X assumptions, creates  stick-and-carrot approach based firms with restrictive discipline  and pervasivecontrols.  Theory-Y believers create trust based  firms with empowered employees.

What about theory Z;

Japanese consensus management  style based on the assumptions  that

(1) employeeswant to build cooperativerelationships  with their employers,  peers, and other employees in the firm; for this they

(2) require high degree of  support in the form of secure employment  and facilities  for development  of multiple skills  through training  and job  rotation,

(3) they value family life, culture and  traditions, and social institutions  as much as materialsuccess,

(4) they have well-developed sense of dedication, moral obligations,  and self-discipline, and

(5) they can make collective decisions  through consensus.

This was Introduced by the author  William Ouchi (born 1943) in his book ‘Theory Z.’



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