It was McGregor who set forth – at opposite extremes – two pairs of assumptions about human beings which he thought were implied by the actions of autocratic and permissive managers.
Mc GREGOR’S PARTICIPATION
It was McGregor who set forth –
at opposite extremes – two pairs of assumptions about human beings which he
thought were implied by the actions of autocratic and permissive managers.
First set of assumptions are known as “Theory X” and the second set of
assumption are known as “Theory Y”. It is important to note that these sets of
assumptions are not based on any empirical research. They, according to
McGregor, are intuitive deductions.
Managers with Theory X orientation make the following assumptions about
-- Average human being has an inherent dislike for work and will
avoid it, if he can.
average human being is lazy and avoids responsibility.
average human being is indifferent to organisational goals.
-- The average human being prefers to be
directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition and
wants security above all.
According to McGregor, this is a
traditional theory where workers have to be persuaded and pushed into
performance. Management can offer rewards to a worker who shows higher
productivity and can punish him if performance is below standard. This is also
called ‘carrot and stick’ approach to
motivation. It suggests that threats of punishments and strict control are ways
to control the people.
Managers with Theory Y orientation
make the following assumptions about people:
-- The average human being does not inherently
dislike work. Depending upon controllable conditions, work may be a source of
satisfaction or a source of punishment.
-- The average human being will exercise self
direction and self-control in the service of objectives to which he is
-- Commitment to objectives is a function of the
rewards associated with their achievement.
-- The average human being learns under proper
conditions, not only to accept, but also to seek responsibility.
-- The capacity to exercise a relatively high
degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity in the solution of
organisational problems is widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population.
Theory Y assumes that goals of
the organisation and those of the individuals are not necessarily incongruent.
Worker’s commitment is directly related to the satisfaction to their needs.
Thus, this theory places great emphasis on satisfaction of the needs,
particularly the higher ones of the employees. It does not rely heavily on the
use of authority as an instrument of command and control. It assumes that
employees exercise self-direction and self-control in the direction of the
goals to which they feel themselves committed.
Application of Theory X and Theory Y Theory X and Theory Y are
important tools in understanding the behaviour of human beings and in designing
the incentive schemes to motivate the employees. Neither of the two sets of
assumptions is applicable fully in all situations and to all types of people.
It appears that Theory X is more applicable to unskilled and uneducated lower
level workers who work for the satisfaction of their basic needs of food,
clothing and shelter. Theory Y appears to be more applicable to educated,
skilled and professional employees who understand their responsibility and are
self-controlled. However, there can be exceptions. A lower-level employee may
be more responsible and mature than a well-qualified higher level employee. The
examples of employees at higher levels in modern organisations shirking
responsibility are not uncommon. Therefore, management should use an
amalgamation of both the theories to motivate different types of employees.
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Motivation
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