McGregor’s Theory of Participation: Theory XY Theory Y.

McGregor’s theory of participation is based on two different views of the human being based on worker participation. The first basically negative, labeled Theory X and the other basically positive, called Theory Y

What is McGregor’s participation theory?

The eminent psychologist Douglas McGregor has given his theory of motivation called Theory X and Theory Y. He first presented his theory in a classic article entitled “The Human Side of Business”, he considered the traditional approach to management as “Theory X” and the professional approach to management as “Theory Y”. His theory refers to two groups of employees based on the perception of human nature. Here, theory X and theory Y are two sets of assumptions about the nature of employees, based mostly on human behavior.

Theory X

Theory X managers tend to have a pessimistic view of their people and assume that they are naturally unmotivated and do not like work. As a result, they think that team members should be constantly alerted, rewarded, or punished to make sure they complete their tasks.

Work in organizations managed in this way can be repetitive, and people are often motivated, performance evaluations and compensation are usually based on tangible results, such as sales figures or product production, and are used to control staff and ‘watch’.

The X ‘theory believes that autocratic managers often make the following assumptions about their subordinates. Therefore, the subordinate generally:

  • He has an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it, if he can.
  • He is lazy and avoids responsibility.
  • Is indifferent to the objectives of the organization
  • It must be controlled, forced and threatened to deliver work.
  • It needs to be supervised at every step.
  • You have no incentive to work or ambition, and therefore you need to be drawn in by the rewards to achieve the goals.

According to McGregor, organizations with a Theory X approach tend to have multiple levels of managers and supervisors to supervise and direct workers. Authority is rarely delegated, and control remains firmly centralized, managers are more authoritarian and actively intervene to get things done.

Although Theory X management has gone out of fashion in recent times, large organizations may find its adoption inevitable due to the large number of people they employ and tight deadlines they must meet, workers must be persuaded and brought into action. performance.

Theory Y

Theory Y managers have an optimistic and positive opinion of their people, and use a decentralized and participatory management style, this fosters a more collaborative and trust-based relationship between managers and their team members. People have greater responsibility and managers encourage them to develop their skills and suggest improvements, evaluations are regular but, unlike theory X organizations, they are used to encourage open communication rather than control staff. Theory Y organizations also provide employees with frequent promotional opportunities.

Theory Y-oriented managers make the following assumptions about their subordinates, hence the subordinate in general:

  • You do not inherently like work, depending on controllable conditions, work can be a source of satisfaction or a source of punishment.
  • He will exercise self-direction and self-control at the service of the objectives to which he is committed.
  • Commitment to goals is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.
  • Learn in the right conditions, not only to accept, but also to seek responsibility.
  • The ability to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in solving organizational problems is widely, not strictly, distributed in the population.

Theory Y assumes that the objectives of the organization and those of the people are not necessarily incongruous, the basic problem in most organizations is to ensure the commitment of workers to the objectives of the organization, the commitment of the worker is directly related with the satisfaction of your needs.

Therefore, this theory places great emphasis on meeting the needs, especially the highest, of employees, it does not depend heavily on the use of authority as an instrument of command and control, it assumes that employees exercise the Self-direction and self-control in the direction of the objectives with which they feel committed, could be motivated by the delegation of authority, the expansion of the work and the management by objectives and participatory management practices.

Theory X and Theory Y in the workplace

In McGregor’s theory of participation most managers will probably use a mixture of Theory X and Theory Y, however you may find that you are naturally favoring one over the other, you could, for example, have a tendency to micromanagement or, conversely, would prefer to take a more practical approach. Although both styles of management can motivate people, the success of each will largely depend on the needs, wants, and goals of your team.

You can use a Theory X management style for new starters who are likely to need a lot of guidance, or in a situation that requires you to take control, such as a crisis. But you wouldn’t use it when managing a team of experts, who are used to working on their own initiative and need little guidance, doing so would probably have a demotivating effect and could even damage your relationship with them.

However, both theories have their challenges. The restrictive nature of Theory X, for example, could make people unmotivated and uncooperative if your approach is too strict, this can lead to high staff turnover and could damage your reputation in the long run. On the contrary, if you take a Theory Y approach that gives people too much freedom, can allow them to deviate from their key goals or lose focus, less motivated people can also take advantage of this more relaxed work environment by avoiding their work, if If this happens, you may need to regain some control to make sure everyone is meeting your team and organizational goals.

The circumstance can also affect your management style – Theory X, for example, is generally more prevalent in larger organizations, or in teams where work can be repetitive and goal-driven. In these cases, people are unlikely to find reward or satisfaction in their work, in contrast, Theory Y tends to be favored by organizations that have a flatter structure, and where people at the lower levels participate in the making. decision makers and have some responsibility.

McGregor and Maslow hierarchy

McGregor’s theory of participation is closely related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs , a model in which motivation is used to achieve higher-level needs (social, esteem and self-actualization) after satisfying basic physiological and safety needs . Maslow believes that higher level needs can be met through a sense of accomplishment, having autonomy, having feelings of self worth, and realizing one’s potential.

McGregor agreed with Maslow that self-actualization is the highest human need that should be achieved, this reflects his tendency to promote Theory Y management that emphasizes self-motivation. By adopting theory Y practices, managers can create an environment in which workers can achieve their highest needs for self-esteem and self-esteem, due to the close supervision that Theory X managers adopt, these types of workers tend not to feeling autonomous or self-directed, therefore workers are generally not motivated to meet higher level needs.\

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.