Organizational Behaviour
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McGregors Motivation Theory

Think and Grow Rich

Theory X assumes that the average person :

Dislikes work and attempts to avoid it Has no ambition, wants no responsibility, and would rather follow than lead, Is self-centered and therefore does not care about organizational goals, Resists change, is gullible and not particularly intelligent.- Mc Gregor’s Motivation Theory

Essentially, Theory X assumes that people work only for money and security.

McGregor argues that a satisfied need no longer motivates. Under Theory X the firm relies on money and benefits to satisfy employees’ lower needs, and once those needs are satisfied the source of motivation is lost. Theory X management styles, in fact, hinder the satisfaction of higher-level needs.

Problem with Theory X

Drawing on Maslow’s hierarchy, McGregor argues that a satisfied need no longer motivates. Under Theory X the firm relies on money and benefits to satisfy employees’ lower needs, and once those needs are satisfied the source of motivation is lost. Theory X management styles, in fact, hinder the satisfaction of higher-level needs.

Consequently, the only way that employees can attempt to satisfy their higher level needs in their work is by seeking more compensation, so it is quite predictable that they will focus on monetary rewards.

While money may not be the most effective way to self-fulfilment, in a Theory X environment it may be the only way. Under Theory X, people use work to satisfy their lower needs and seek to satisfy their higher needs in their leisure time. But it is in satisfying their higher needs that employees can be most productive.

Theory Y

The higher-level needs of esteem and self-actualization are continuing needs in that they are never completely satisfied. As such, it is these higher-level needs through which employees can best be motivated.

Theory Y makes the following general assumptions :

  • Work can be as natural as play and rest.
  • People will be self-directed to meet their Work objectives if they are committed to them.
  • People will be committed to their objectives if rewards are in place that addresses higher needs such as self-fulfilment.
  • Under these conditions, people will seek responsibility.
  • Most people can handle responsibility because creativity and ingenuity are common in the population.

Under these assumptions, there is an opportunity to align personal goals with organizational goals by using the employee’s own quest for fulfilment as the motivator. McGregor stressed that Theory Y management does not imply a soft approach.

McGregor recognized that some people may not have reached the level of maturity assumed by Theory Y and therefore may need tighter controls that can be relaxed as the employee develops

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