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McGregor’s assumptions were that there were two contrasting sets of assumptions about people underlying managerial attitudes and behaviour.

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Theory X and Theory Y | McGregor and Leadership | Motivation | HR

Douglas McGregor (196O), reflecting on Leadership and motivation at work, procured the accessible literature on organisations and subsequently examined modern managerial policy and practice.

McGregor’s assumptions were that there were two contrasting sets of assumptions about people underlying managerial attitudes and behaviour.

McGregor contributed these two sets of assumptions the purposefully impartial labels of ” Theory X and Theory Y “.

McGregor’s accomplishment lay in depicting attention to two contrasting types of managerial attitude. The assumptions personified in the two approaches are illustrated further down.

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Theory X assumptions are as follows:

  • The average individual has an intrinsic dislike of work and will avoid it if he or she can.
  • For that reason, people must be compelled, controlled, directed and cautioned with penalty to get them to place in satisfactory determination.
  • The average individual wishes to remain directed, prefers to escape duty, and has little determination, expecting money, safety and security beyond all.
  • Most people prefer to resist change.
  • Most people are very much self-centred and as a result cares not much about organizational objectives.
  • The average individual is easily persuaded to believe something and not predominantly intellectual.
  • Most people have little aptitude for resolving organisational problems.

In overall, the motivation in Theory X occurs only at the Physiological and Security levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

Theory X undertakes that the principal source of most employee motivation is monetary, with a strong security.

The Hard and Soft Approach of Theory X | Key Issues with Theory X

In strong contrast to Theory X are the assumptions of Theory Y. These are that:

  • Work can be very normal if the working environments are positive. Under those environments, people will seek responsibility.
  • The spending of physical and mental effort at work is as natural as play or rest.
  • People will be self-directed and also imaginative to come across their work and organizational objectives if they are faithful to them.
  • People will be loyal to their excellence and efficiency intentions if rewards are in places that address higher needs for example self-fulfilment.
  • The volume for resourcefulness-and-creativity spreads all the way through organization.
  • Maximum number of people can handle responsibility for the reason that creativity and inventiveness are common in the population.
  • Most people do not only react to controls and pressures, but exercises self-direction as well as self-control.
  • Determination can produce intrinsic rewards for individuals

Under Theory Y assumptions, employees have an opportunity to bring into line their individual goals through organizational goals by using their need for fulfilment as the motivation. Employees can be productive when their work goals make even with their higher-level needs.

The higher-level desires of self-esteem and self-actualization are ongoing needs in that they are on no occasion fully satisfied.

McGregor argued that Theory Y controlling does not indicate a soft approach. Identifying that some people may not have gotten the level of development assumed by Theory Y, McGregor submits that those employees may require a structure of harder controls that a manager can ease as each employee progresses.

Theory Y assumptions are those of the humanist-manager, who takes a positive view of people’s approaches and expertise. These assumptions have much in mutual with consideration and employee-centred approaches to Leadership.

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Theory X and Theory Y | McGregor and Leadership | Motivation | HR

The Hard and Soft Approach of Theory X | Key Issues with Theory X

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