What do you think motivates people to work every morning? Do you believe that they gain great satisfaction and are proud of the best possible job? Or, on the contrary, do they consider it a burden and simply work for money? A zero-one system, i.e. a committed or lazy employee? Theory of X and Y by McGregor.
Are you a manager, an employer? Get to know the assumptions of theory that can affect your way of managing human resources, or maybe you are on the other side and as an employee you feel reluctant to work and demotivated? Moreover, remember that even dream work for some will be only a daily duty…
A committed and lazy employee? McGregor’s theory X and Y
In the 1960s, social psychologist Douglas McGregor developed two contrasting theories, where he explained how managers’ beliefs in what motivates their people can influence their management style. He called this theory X and Y and it is important even today, but now with strong “deviations”, because our society has also undergone some transformation and now we can say that we are in the sphere of motivation 3.0.
The theory of X and Y was first explained by McGregor in his book “The Company’s Human Page” and refers to two management styles – authoritarian (X Theory) and participatory (Y Theory). McGregor’s research was based on the hierarchy of Maslow’s needs known to us. Namely, McGregor divided the Mass hierarchy into the needs of the lower order (Theory X) and the needs of the higher order (Theory Y).
Theory X
Superiors in Theory X tend to be pessimistic about their people and assume that they are naturally demotivated and do not like work. This leads to the conclusion that team members must be constantly encouraged, rewarded or punished to ensure that they carry out their tasks. Below is a graphic description of the employee X:
Working in organizations or companies managed in this way is repetitive and people are often motivated by the “carrot and stick” approach. Performance and remuneration assessments are usually based on specific results, e.g. on sales or production of a product.
According to McGregor, organisations with an X Theory approach generally have several levels of managers (managers) and supervisors who supervise, direct and control their work. It is often an authoritarian style, with strong control over the actions of employees. Fortunately, motivating and guiding with the X Theory has recently been softened and evolved. Incidentally, read: Are you a type of leader?
Theory Y
Theory of the idyll 😉 Superiors in Theory Y are optimistic and positive about their people, they encourage cooperation based on mutual trust, and above all they believe in the skills of their employees and want to awaken the best in them.
An employee in Theory Y is entrusted with greater decision-making and responsibility. Evaluations are also regular, but unlike in the X Theory, they are used proactively, for open communication, to stimulate action. Here we also have a greater opportunity for promotion, demonstrating, and taking part in training to improve qualifications. Employee Y:
This theory fits in very strongly with the current career of young people, the generation of post-communist times, where man does not want to be just a “cog in the machine”. This is related to the nature of work, where it is not only an expression of financial resourcefulness, but also an opportunity for one’s own development and fulfillment in many fields. On the other hand, there is the constant “rat race”, stereotypes (and negative standards) of the corporate community and the achievement of goals beyond all norms.
Theory Z – William Ouchi
McGregor attempted further research into human motivation to work, but unfortunately the work was interrupted by his death. Other interesting theories have been developed on this subject. One of them is the Theory of William Ouchi.
The Theory From Human Motivation to Work was developed by William Ouchi, an American management professor, who published his research in his book “Theory Z: How American Management Can Fulfil the Japanese Challenge”. (1981).
The Z Theory, the style of “Japanese management”, combines the best of McGregor’s Y Theory with Japanese human motivation. Z Theory focuses on enhancing employee loyalty to the company, resulting in a life-long job with a strong emphasis on employee well-being, both at work and beyond. We can talk here about stable employment, high productivity and employee satisfaction.
Modern direction of human motivation to work
How we are motivated and evaluated by our supervisors affects our work. The right approach can make a difference, it can provide opportunities for development. Involved or lazy employee? McGregor’s theory of X and Y can give us a lot to think about. However, at present we are entering the trend of Motivation 3.0, i.e. high motivation c only.