Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
McGregor Theory X & Theory Y
McGregor developed two theories of human behaviour at work:
Theory and X and Theory Y.
He did not imply that workers would be one type or the
other. Rather, he saw the two theories as two extremes - with a whole spectrum
of possible behaviours in between.
Theory X workers could be described as follows:
- Individuals who dislike work and avoid it where possible
- Individuals who lack ambition, dislike responsibility
and prefer to be led
- Individuals who desire security
The management implications for Theory X workers were that,
to achieve organisational objectives, a business would need to impose a management
system of coercion, control and punishment.
Theory Y workers were characterised by McGregor as:
- Consider effort at work as just like rest or play
- Ordinary people who do not dislike work. Depending on
the working conditions, work could be considered a source of satisfaction
- Individuals who seek responsibility (if they are motivated0
The management implications for Theory X workers are that,
to achieve organisational objectives, rewards of varying kinds are likely to
be the most popular motivator. The challenge for management with Theory Y
a working environment (or culture) where workers can show and develop their