McGregor's Theory X and Y

McGregor's Theory X and Y

This is an example of a content theory of motivation.

McGregor presented two opposite sets of assumptions made by managers about their staff. These assumptions, which he called Theory X and Theory Y, are implicit in most approaches to supervision. These theories are opposite ends of a continuum.

Theory X assumptions:

  • people dislike work and responsibility
  • people must be coerced to get them to make an effort
  • subordinates prefer to be directed, wish to avoid responsibility, have relatively little ambition, and want security above all.

Theory Y assumptions:

  • physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest
  • the average human being does not inherently dislike work, because it can be a source of satisfaction
  • people can exercise self-direction and self-control to achieve objectives to which they are committed.
  • people can learn to enjoy and seek responsibility

Theory X/Y and management styles

Based on their assumptions, supervisors will adopt a corresponding management style:

  • If you believe that you have Theory X workers, then you adopt an authoritarian, repressive style with tight control. Effectively the workforce are a problem that needs to be overcome by management.
  • If you believe that you have Theory Y workers, then you adopt a participative, liberating, developmental approach. Employees will be viewed as assets who need to be encouraged and empowered.
Created at 8/10/2012 11:51 AM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Last modified at 9/30/2013 12:05 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

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