As a social psychologist, Douglas McGregor, Ph.D., has long been involved in management issues. After the end of World War II, his name was closely associated with brilliant ideas in this area.
Unfortunately, Douglas McGregor contributed to management only thanks to one finished work. This work was the only one that the scientist could present to the world before death took him at the age of 57. Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Y and several draft papers that were never completed are the only legacy of this American sociologist.
McGregor's main idea for X
Douglas McGregor made two assumptions about the human nature of behavior. During his research, he noticed how twofold the human nature can be.
So, Douglas McGregor's Theory X suggests a negative view of people.
She characterizes a person as someone who:
- has ambition (even to a small extent this trait is common to all);
- does not like to work;
- strives to avoid responsibility;
- can only work effectively under the strictest supervision.
McGregor's main idea for Y
In turn, Douglas McGregor's theory Y characterizes a person from a positive point of view.
She shows a person as a person who is capable of:
- toward self-organization;
- take responsibility;
- take work as a natural thing, comparable to playing or relaxing.
These conflicting theories have been put forward based on research.
Defining parameters of the theory
There are a number of underlying factors that Douglas McGregor analyzed. The theory of x and y is based on the activities of the performer at his workplace. As a result of the study, it was revealed that there are certain parameters that determine the actions of the performer. By taking them under his control, the manager will be able to control the actions of his subordinates.
These options are based on:
- tasks received by subordinates;
- Time to receive assignments;
- beliefs possessed by a subordinate in the guarantee of receiving an appropriate reward;
- as the performance of work tasks;
- expected task execution time;
- the team (close environment) in which the subordinate works;
- funds provided for the execution of tasks;
- instructions issued by management;
- beliefs of the subordinate in getting what they can to complete the task;
- the amount of remuneration guaranteed for successfully completed work;
- the level of involvement of the subordinate in the problem area associated with the task.
Douglas McGregor was of the opinion that the statements relating to Theory Y are closer to the truth. They more accurately reflect the essence of employees, so these provisions should be taken into account when building a management strategy and practice.
Theory X: its main points
Provisions related to Theory X are as follows:
- By nature, employees have a strong negative attitude towards work. They try to avoid it by any means, if the conditions warrant it.
- To achieve the desired result, subordinates should be forced to work. The employee must be under strict supervision. An alternative to this may be the threat of punishment for poor performance.
- Employees practice the tactics of avoiding assigned duties. For the further execution of the work, formal instructions are required almost every time the prerequisites for this arise.
- Most of the employees prioritize the feeling of security, and only then all other factors that are related to work. As a rule, great ambition rarely shows up under such conditions.
Theory Y: its mainprovisions
This Douglas McGregor theory includes the following:
- The perception of work is accepted by employees in the same natural form as play or leisure.
- As long as the staff of their company is dedicated and focused on getting a good result in the course of work, no additional instructions and control will be required from outside.
- The statistically average person can learn to take responsibility for their activities and even learn to develop a desire for it.
- Among the population, the ability to make the right decisions is fairly widespread. This ability is not necessarily inherent in management personnel.
Theory X: clarification of the first proposition
Douglas McGregor points out that Theory X assumptions are fairly common in the organizational literature. In reality, management practices and policies rarely use these provisions.
Given that the average person is born with a sense of dislike for work, McGregor was able to trace even the history of the development of this position and identify the emphasis that guides managers. They are voicing concern about the likely curtailment of production volumes. This leads to the formation of a special system of individual remuneration. Its role fully shows that at the basis of this system lies the belief that on the part of the leadershipEfforts are needed to combat the human propensity to avoid work.
Theory X: clarification of the second proposition
From the foregoing comes the second position. Given the innate reluctance of a person to work, there is a need for certain actions on the part of management.
These actions are to:
- force an individual to do work;
- show control;
- guiding him to action;
- practice a policy of intimidation against most individuals.
All these actions are aimed at forcing individuals to make their own contribution to the achievement of the overall goals of the organization.
In this case, the conclusion suggests itself that the reward system is not a guarantee of the successful completion of tasks by the employee. Only the threat of punishment can become a compelling factor. And all this stems from the belief that people can only do work under the influence of external coercion and control.
Theory X: clarification of the third proposition
The third proposition states that the average individual would prefer to be controlled from the outside. He is afraid of responsibility, is not characterized by the presence of special ambitions, and in his work strives primarily for security.
Despite the fact that America's social and political values speak of the ideal qualities of the average person, most managers in real life livethe belief that “the masses are mediocre.”
Based on the highlighted provisions, McGregor makes attempts to prove that this intellectual scheme is not abstract. It is widely used in the management practice of the modern world.
Explaining Theory Y
Provisions that are within the framework of Theory X have been criticized by McGregor. According to the Wu theory, a person spends his mental and physical strength not only on rest or play, but also on work, which indicates the natural nature of this expenditure. Therefore, the average individual will not necessarily dislike the performance of the assigned tasks.
There is no need for external control under such conditions. The person will be subjected to self-management and self-control, for which the reward functions are responsible, which the person associates with his own achievements. Moreover, on the part of the individual, the most valuable reward for the work is the feeling of satisfaction of one's needs for self-realization and self-affirmation.
It is these aspirations that form the basis for achieving the goals of the organization in the framework of the theory of Y.