Much, one could argue all, of the modern-day thinking on Organization Development, Team Building & Leadership stem from the work & research of Douglas McGregor. Below are the characteristics he observed 2 different kinds of Managers.
Theory X: The Traditional View of Direction & Control
- The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he can.
- Because of this human characteristic of dislike of work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of organizational objectives.
- The average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, wants security above all.
Theory Y: The Integration of Individual and Organizational Goals
- The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.
- External control and the threat of punishment are not the only means for bringing about effort towards organizational objectives. Man will exercise self-direction and self-control in the service of objectives to which he is committed.
- 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 to seek responsibility.
- The capacity to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in the solution of organizational problems is wide, not narrowly, distributed in the population.
- Under the conditions of modern industrial life, the intellectual potentialities of the average human being are only partially utilized.
How you perceive work will affect how you manage & treat others. Which will affect productivity & effectiveness? Leading to success or failure as a company.
I find that while many people claim to hold a ‘Theory Y’ perspective of themselves, they ascribe a ‘Theory X’ to other people. This creates a danger to how people are treated & their desire to do great work for the company.
- How do you view people at work?
- In what way does your belief reinforce reality?
- A company that ascribed to ‘Theory X’ would operate like …
- A company that ascribed to ‘Theory Y’ would operate like …
What do you think?
Have you worked for a company and manager who fit Theory X or Y? What did you like/dislike about the job?