Saturday, November 26, 2011

McGregor's Theory Y

In the last article, we had seen the assumptions of McGregor's Theory X . In this article, I am going to discuss McGregor's Theory Y, the other extreme set of assumptions about employees.

McGregor promoted Theory Y as the basis of good management practice. Theory Y represents the democratic approach and gives the employees scope for creativity and responsibility.

McGregor's Theory Y Assumptions

  1. People are not, by nature, lazy and unreliable. They consider work as a natural part of life.
  2. A large percentage of people has a high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity and can be used in solving organizational problems
  3. Close control and threats of punishment are not the only ways to get things done.
  4. Motivation occurs at the social esteem and self-actualization levels, as well as at the physiological and security levels
  5. People enjoy work and can be self-directed in work if properly motivated.
  6. People take responsibility and are motivated to fulfill the goals assigned to them.
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It should be an essential task of the management to unleash the potential in individuals. In supervising human resources, Theory Y offers a better description of people than Theory X.

Of course, we cannot deny that there may be some lazy individuals who may have to be threatened, controlled and prodded strictly. But, it is obvious that far more people respond better to a project manager who applies a management style based on Theory Y.

In projects managed by managers who believe in Theory Y, team members at lower levels of the organization are involved in decision making and have more responsibility.

Final Note

Authoritarian management style is adopted in Theory X organizations with centralized control while in Theory Y, the management style is participative and inclusive. Although Theory X management style is widely accepted as inferior to Theory Y, it has its place in large scale production and operations that involve largely unskilled workers.


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