Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y Essay

Employee motivation was the main subject of discussion when McGregor developed the two theories and he explained the factors which motivate people at the place of work. McGregor developed this theory to explain the behavior of employees towards different management strategies adopted by various organizations (Burke, 2011). The two theories developed by McGregor have great impact on the organizational processes.The theories have similarities and some differences concerning the manner in which organizations motivate their employees. However, the overall concept that was developed was that motivation is an important factor that determines the performance of employees in an organization. McGregor explains that motivation affects almost all activities of an organization and managers should motivate their employees if good results are to be achieved.

Theory X

Table of Contents

Waddell, Jones, George (2011) explained that McGregor proposed that people do not like work and they attempt to avoid it at all costs. This theory assumes that people have no ambition in life and they try to avoid responsibilities as much as possible. Leadership is not an aspiration to this category of people and they expect to follow others instead of being leaders.Resistance to change is a common feature of this category of people and they tend to shun new things. Employees applying this theory are not focused on achieving the goals of the organization but they tend to promote their personal goals more than those of the organization. McGregor was of the opinion that this group of people are gullible and that they lack intelligence. Employees are assumed to work for money and to have security at the place of work (Russ, 2011).According to Kopelman, Prottas and Davis, (2008) opined that managers can apply hard or soft approach to enhance employees change their motivational goals. Through the use of the hard approach managers coerce, threaten, supervise employees closely and put tight control measures to ensure that employees comply with the goals of the organization.The soft approach applies the use of harmony and permissiveness to encourage employees to cooperate with the top management. When the hard approach is applied employees become hostile, the output declines and trade unions put tough measures to reduce deviance against the set laws. The soft approach results into reduction in output and an increase in the rewards for the employees. Applying a small amount of each approach is the best to achieve optimal management of an organization (Waddell, Jones, George, 2011).Theory X has the weakness that it promotes the idea that once employees are satisfied by a particular motivator, they seek a higher level motivator and the previous one becomes useless. This theory is therefore similar to Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs whereby people are motivated by higher needs in the hierarchy.McGregor therefore suggests that managers should use monetary rewards to improve the level of motivation in an organization. The motivations are no longer important once they are provided to the employees and this makes the managers to seek more benefits to motivate their employees.This system of motivating employees does not offer opportunities for motivating employees at high-level positions in the organization. Another weakness with this theory is that a system of command and control does not allow employees to be innovative. Employees follow instructions without question and this does not provide opportunities to come up with new strategies (Weisbord, 2011).

Theory Y

The assumptions of this theory are that employee should perceive work to be natural and that people are supposed to work to improve their wellbeing. This theory suggests that employees should take work in a positive manner and they should develop self-motivated positive attitude towards work. In his theory, McGregor explained that employees can achieve organizational goals if they are motivated. Commitment to achieve the goals of the organization determines the ability of the employees to achieve them.He explained that people are satisfied by needs as they continue getting better opportunities in the organization. Existence of higher needs in an organization determines the ability of the employees to get the motive to get these needs and this creates opportunities to exploit the highest goals in an organization. Creativity is a major ingredient in achieving goals in an organization and people can handle this (Russ, 2011).To capture the motivational energy of employees in an organization using theory Y can be achieved by decentralizing control and delegating duties to subordinates. Delegating duties enhances decision making by promoting the level of responsibilities assigned to each subordinate. In addition, theory Y encourages managers to enlarge the business operations. As such, the scope of business activities is broadened to enable the employees satisfy their ego (Russ, 2011).Theory Y enhances participation of all stakeholders in the management of the business. Managers are encouraged to consult their subordinates about issues affecting the organization and this improves the decision making process. It also improves the creativity of people by providing opportunities to all stakeholders.In addition, theory Y encourages managers to appraise the performance of the employees. This is achieved by setting objectives and participating in the evaluation processes of the organization. The evaluation process determines how successful employees are in achieving the goals of the organization (Kopelman, Prottas & Davis, 2008).

When employees are motivated they will seek opportunities to achieve the goals of the organization. Additionally, Head (2011) is of the opinion that when people are committed to achieve the goals of the organization they will be self-directed and makes them avoid laziness. People have the potential to accomplish many goals of the organization and they should be motivated to contribute towards achieving these goals.Problems of the organization are solved by encouraging employees to become creative and imaginative. Organizations seeking to satisfy their customers have an obligation to motivate their employees. Consumer satisfaction is determined by the level of satisfaction of the employees. Thus, organizations which are consumer oriented should focus on motivating their employees (Head, 2011).Therefore, McGregor’s theories are applicable in modern organizations because all managerial activities are based on motivating employees and promoting the welfare of the workers. Managers are encouraged to motivate their employees to promote the achievement of goals. Use of monetary motivators may not be effective in achieving ultimate motivational goals of the employees.Innovations in an organization can only be achieved when employees are motivated to achieve new goals. To attain a competitive position in the market managers are required to encourage innovation because this will promote their ability to develop better strategies. Motivation is an important aspect of the organizational management and it provides employees with the opportunity to achieve their goals as well as the goals of the organization.

List of References

Burke, W. (2011). On the legacy of theory Y. Journal Of Management History, 17(2).

Head, T. C. (2011). Douglas McGregor’s legacy: lessons learned, lessons lost. Journal of Management History, 17(2).

Kopelman, R. E, Prottas, D. J. & Davis, A. L. (2008). ‘Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y: toward a construct-valid measure’, Journal of Managerial Issues, 20(2) Summer, pp. 255-271, retrieved ABI Inform database.

Russ, T. L. (2011). Theory X/Y Assumptions as Predictors of Managers’ Propensity for Participative Decision Making. Management Decision Volume, 49(5).

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