hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil-001

, one could argue all of the modern-day thinking on Organization Development, Team Building & Leadership stems from the work & research of Douglas McGregor. Below are the characteristics he observed in 2 different kinds of Managers.

Theory X: The Traditional View of Direction & Control
  1. The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he can.
  2. Because of this human characteristic of dislike of work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of organizational objectives.
  3. The average human prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, and wants security above all.
Theory Y: The Integration of Individual and Organizational Goals
  1. The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.
  2. External control and the threat of punishment are not the only means for bringing about effort toward organizational objectives. Man will exercise self-direction and self-control in serving the purposes to which he is committed.
  3. Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.
  4. The average human being learns, under proper conditions, not only to accept but to seek responsibility.
  5. The capacity to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in solving organizational problems is vast, not narrowly, distributed in the population.
  6. 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 claims to hold a ‘Theory Y’ perspective of themselves, they ascribe a ‘Theory X’ to others. 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?