Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor proposed two distinct views of human beings. One basically negative called theory X and the other basically positive labeled theory Y.

Under theory X, the four assumptions held by managers are:

1) Employees inherently dislike work and whenever possible, will attempt to avoid it.

2) Since employees dislike work, they must be forced, controlled or threatened with punishment to achieve goals.

3) Employees will avoid responsibilities and seek formal direction whenever possible.

4) Most workers place security above all other factors associated with work and will display little ambition.

In contrast to these views, McGregor listed four positive assumptions under theory Y.

a) Employees can view work as being natural like rest or play.

b) People will exercise self-direction and self-control if they are committed to the objectives.

c) The average person can lean to accept and seek responsibility.

d) The ability to make innovative decisions is widely dispersed throughout the population and is not necessarily present only in people in managerial positions.

McGregor believed that theory y assumptions were more valid than theory X. Therefore he suggested that participative decision making responsibilities and challenging work will maximize an employee’s job motivation.

Two-Factor Theory

It is also called as motivation-hygiene theory. This theory was proposed by Fredrick Herzberg. He conducted vast studies which showed that the factors that provided satisfaction were different from factors that caused dissatisfaction. The factors that provided satisfaction were called motivate. They included.

a)  Achievement

b)  Recognition

c)   Challenging work

d)  Responsibility

e)  Advancement

The factors that caused dissatisfaction are called hygiene factors. They include:

a)  Company policy and procedure.

b)  Supervision.

c)   Interpersonal relationship.

d)  Salary.

e)  Working condition.

f)   Status and security.

These factors if inadequate, results in loss of performance of the workers.

ERG Theory

This theory was proposed by Clayton Alderfer. The theory states that there are three groups of core needs- Existence, Relatedness and Growth.

Existence:  This need includes our basic material requirements. This includes psychological needs are safety needs.

Relatedness: This includes the need to maintain important interpersonal relationship. This includes the social and ego needs.

Growth: This includes the desire for personal development. This includes the self-realization need.

ERG demonstrates that:

(1)    More than one need may be operative at the same time.

(2)    If higher level needs are not satisfied, the desire to satisfy lower level needs increases.

This theory does not assume that there is a rigid hierarchy in which lower order needs are to be satisfied before one can move up.

E.g. A person can be working on growth even though his relatedness needs are not satisfied.

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