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McGregor’s Theory of X and Y in Resource Management

McGregor's theory of x and y

Theory of X and Y is a theory on human work and motivation developed by Douglas McGregor. He explained this concept in his book “The Human side of Enterprise”.

Theory X and Theory Y are two contrasting models of how your work force can be motivated.

According to the Theory of X and Y, there are 2 categories of managers, based on what the managers think of their team members.

  1. Theory X Managers
  2. Theory Y Managers

Theory X Managers

  • Theory X Managers believe that a typical worker dislike work, avoids responsibility, less ambitious and is individual goal-oriented.
  • They believe that team members need continuous monitoring and Supervision to get things done.
  • They are Most likely use rewards or punishments for motivation.

There are 2 approaches Theory X managers may take in motivating their teams 1) Hard approach 2) Soft approach

Hard Approach – There is close supervision, intimidation, and immediate punishment. Managers are looking for mistakes from employees. Managers do not trust employee work. This approach results in minimal, hostile relationship between employees and management.

Soft Approach – There is leniency and less strict rules for creating cooperative employees. If the employees are avoiding responsibility whenever possible, this approach results in low-output work force.

McGregor says that both the approaches are extremes, and an approach in the middle can be the most effective implementation of Theory X.

Theory Y Managers

  • Theory Y Managers believe that employees are internally motivated, enjoy their work, and can work without supervision. 
  • They have a collaborative relationship with team members.
  • They believe that team members are motivated by giving them more responsibility, empowering them to take decisions, and allowing them to work on their own initiative.
  • Theory Y Managers have cordial and even personal relations with employees. He acts as a mentor and guide.
  • Healthier work place, more or less democratic environment compared to Theory X work environment.


Theiry of X and Y

Check the other Popular Motivation Theories .

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