Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Human Resources Management ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Human Resources Management
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: lgl1-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 25 Oct 2003 12:45 PDT
Expires: 24 Nov 2003 11:45 PST
Question ID: 269657
Text: Smither, Robert, The Psychology of Work and Human Performance
2nd Edition

Question: What are the main ideas behind Theory X and Theory Y? What
are the stengths and weaknesses of each model, and how has each
contributed to modern theory?
Subject: Re: Human Resources Management
Answered By: czh-ga on 26 Oct 2003 20:15 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello lgl1-ga,

Douglas McGregor’s theory of motivation – usually called Theory X and
Theory y – is one of the key theories that is part of the history of
the development of scientific management theory. I’ve collected a
variety of links to help you gain a full understanding of the various
theories preceding and following McGregor. I’ve also included a big
collection of links by various consulting companies, trainers and
educational institutions that go into great detail explaining
McGregor’s theory.

In today’s organizational development language the Theory X management
style is usually called autocratic management as opposed to the Theory
Y management style which is called participatory.

Theory X assumes that people have an inherent dislike of work and they
will avoid it if they can. Consequently, people have to be controlled
and directed because they don’t want responsibility. Authoritarian
management makes sure that employees get direction and do as they’re

Theory Y’s assumptions are that work is a natural human activity and
people like to work and get things done. Consequently, people will do
whatever is necessary to achieve the objectives of the job without
direction and are willing and able to seek and accept responsibility.
Participatory management trusts employees to make input into how the
work is done and gives employees latitude in self-management to get
the job done.

I’ve organized the material I’ve collected into several categories so
that you can easily find everything you need to further explore the
history and current application of this theory.

Best wishes for your explorations. 

~ czh ~

Douglas McGregor – Theory X and Theory Y

***** Accel-Team is a consulting company that is focused on “building
exercises, management techniques, human resource management,
motivation resources to improve productivity in your organization.”
They offer a wonderful collection of capsule summaries of
organizational development theories.

Businessballs is the free online training and development resource
established and run by the Alan Chapman Consultancy of Leicester,
England. It's now one of the most visited online resources of its
douglas mcgregor - theory x y

Douglas McGregor, an American social psychologist, proposed his famous
X-Y theory in his 1960 book 'The Human Side Of Enterprise'. Theory x
and theory y are still referred to commonly in the field of management
and motivation, and whilst more recent studies have questioned the
rigidity of the model, Mcgregor's X-Y Theory remains a valid basic
principle from which to develop positive management style and
techniques. McGregor's XY Theory remains central to organizational
development, and to improving organizational culture.

***** This is another consulting company site that offers an
explanation of McGregor’s Theory X/Y insights. In addition they offer
some tools to help you diagnose your own situation and manage your
free theory xy diagram
free xy theory test - personal and organizational

Teleometrics International

***** This consulting company started as a “psychological
research/development and training/publishing firm” and now provides
training, consulting and public seminars.
Theory "X" - Theory "Y"

Douglas McGregor was interested in improving organizational
effectiveness by applying knowledge from the behavioral sciences to
management practices. His now classic concepts regarding the nature of
people who work were basic to this pursuit. His work and his ideas
regarding managerial approaches to subordinate motivation are relevant
for any organization in which individuals work together for common

McGregor proposed that all management practices stem from managers'
personal "theories" regarding the basic nature of people.  McGregor
proposed that the way in which a manager interacts with superiors,
peers and especially subordinates depends on the manager's philosophy
regarding cause and effect relationships in human behavior.

Teleometrics Instruments personalise classic behavioural theory and
use the appropriate models as 'scoreboards'; people compare the way
they think they manage with the 'ideal', and with feedback from the
people they work with.

Teleometrics Instruments based on Theory X - Theory Y
Managerial Philosophies Scale (self-assessment), Reality Check

Human Behavior and the Workplace: Core Theories

***** This website from a consulting company compares McGregor’s
theory to some other popular organizational development and
motivational theories -- Argyris, Herzberg, Maslow

FIS 1230 Management of Information Organizations
Motivation – Theory X and Y Assumptions

***** You can also get similar capsule summaries of a half dozen other
motivational theories.

Big Dog's Human Resource Development Page by Donald Clark

***** This is a huge collection of links to historical events in the
HRD field.
Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGreagor developed a philosophical view of humankind with his
Theory X and Theory Y in 1960. These are two opposing perceptions
about how people view human behavior at work and organizational life.

***** Another capsule summary of the theory.

Theory X and Theory Y

***** This website discusses the management implications of these


Management Theory -- Traditional or Classical Model

Human Resources Model
Focused on increased employee satisfaction and employee decision
Emphasized both open supportive communication and command
Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y 

***** This article discusses communication styles as exhibited by
practitioners of several motivational theories.

Douglas McGregor (1906-1964)

Theory X and Theory Y are often illustrated in management texts. For
your convenience, the theories as originally outlined by McGregor are
provided below. For a synopsis of the theories see "Theory X-Theory Y"
in Theories and Models in Applied Behavior Science, Vol 1., p.273.

In addition to an outline of Theory X and Theory Y presented below,
you will find a list of McGregor's writings and an indication of
whether they are available in the Western Libraries (most are). As
well, there is a brief list of older articles about McGregor and
Theory X and Theory Y.

***** This site offers a brief biography of McGregor and includes an
extensive bibliography of his works.

Antioch College
Douglas McGregor -- President, 1948-1954

McGregor resigned the presidency of Antioch to rejoin the MIT faculty
in its new School of Industrial Management in 1954.  Today  Antioch
McGregor   bears his name in honor of his contributions to management
theory.  View a biographical sketch of McGregor or his CV.

***** You can review additional information about McGregor by
following the links provided.

Historical Background of Organizational Behavior

(prepared by Professor Edward G. Wertheim, College of Business
Administration, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115)
Table of Contents
 -- Taylorism and Scientific Management
 -- The Human Relations Movement
 -- Theory X and Theory Y
 -- Schools of Thought in Organizational Behavior

Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y
Douglas McGregor was one of the great popularizers of Human Relations
approach with his Theory X and Theory Y. In his research he found that
although many managers spouted the right ideas, their actual managers
indicated a series of assumptions that McGregor called Theory X.
However, research seemed to clearly suggest that these assumptions
were not valid but rather a different series of notions about human
behavior seemed more valid. He called these Theory Y and urged
managers to managed based on these more valid Theory Y notions.

***** This article puts McGregor’s theories into their appropriate
historical context.


The Evolution of Management Theory

Leadership Studies Program
Theory X and Theory Y

The final insight which relates these two approaches is that they are
both "self-fulfilling prophecies." In other words, they both become
true precisely because one believes they are true. Just as the stock
market rises when people believe it will rise (thus motivating them to
buy stock, which actually causes stock prices to rise) and as the
stock market falls when people believe it will fall (thus motivating
them to sell their stock, which automatically depresses the price),
people behave in Theory X and Theory Y ways depending on how we expect
them to behave (and thus how we treat them).

***** This is another short article that discusses the historical
context for McGregor’s theory.

A Kind Word for Theory X: Or Why So Many Newfangled Management
Techniques Quickly Fail
Pay per Article - You may access this article (from the computer you
are currently using) for 24 hours for US$12.00.

Forty-three years ago, Douglas McGregor's The Human Side of Enterprise
offered managers a new assumption of management (Theory Y), which
would be more effective than what he considered then-current
management assumptions (Theory X). While McGregor's Theory Y model has
been widely adopted in management literature as the preferred model,
Theory X management still persists in practice. Moreover, many efforts
to introduce management initiatives based on Theory Y have failed to
reform the workplace or worker attitudes. While most explanations of
these failures focus on training, implementation, or sabotage, this
article proposes several defects in Theory Y that have contributed to
these failures. Theory Y is based upon an incomplete theory of human
motivation that erroneously assumes that all people are creative (and
want to be creative) in the same way. Important research by Michael
Kirton presents a different model of creativity that explains the
failure of Theory Y and justifies Theory X as an important managerial
theory and strategy. Theory X persists not because of circumstances or
the nature of particular jobs, but because different people have
personalities that respond to Theory X management better than to
Theory Y management.

Understanding Employees is the Key to More Effective Management

One of the most important aspects of management is understanding
employees and how human nature affects their performance in the work
place.  In order for managers and employees to work together in a more
productive unit, the employees must know how they fit into the overall
scheme of operations, and the managers need to have the knowledge of
how to maximize productivity by supporting their employees through an
appropriate management style.

***** This is a short paper by a student summarizing the importance of
McGregor’s theories in developing appropriate management approaches.

Leadership and Scanlon

Both Theory X and Theory Y organizations can be successful, however,
McGregor's research indicates Theory Y organizations are more able to
adapt to change and are more successful over time. Today most business
practices such as teams, total quality, etc. are based on Theory Y

Douglas McGregor brought Joe Scanlon to MIT and studied Scanlon
organizations. Scanlon organizations were the model for Theory Y.
McGregor believed Scanlon methods helped to create Theory Y

Work Motivation 
Work motivation is one of the key areas of organizational psychology.
Organization theory is frequently described as an interdisciplinary
study that examines the structure and functioning of organizations and
the behavior of the people within organizations. Usually the term
organizational psychology refers to the area of industrial psychology
derived from social and personality psychology.

***** Another brief article on McGregor.

Motivation and Leadership Styles

Leadership style influence level of motivation. However, throughout a
lifetime, man’s motivation is influenced by changing ambitions and/or
leadership style he works under or socializes with.
Command-and-control leadership drains off ambition while empowerment
leadership increases ambition.

***** This is an article that discusses how Theory X (i.e., command
and control) leadership affects employee motivation.


Motivation - The Reason for the Crisis

Surveys show there's a huge crisis of motivation in most large
corporations, which is why they continue to spend billions of dollars
each year on motivation courses, training in motivation, meetings to
boost motivation, incentives to strengthen motivation, meetings to
analyse problems in workforce motivation, tools to measure motivation,
mission statements and so on. Problems in recruitment, productivity
and retention, problems of commitment to teams and corporate agendas.
But the motivation gap is fundamental. People are passionate - but
mainly about life outside of work. Indeed the very phrase "work-life
balance" tells us that most people think that work is the opposite of
life. So how did we get to be in such a motivational crisis?

***** This short article discusses current motivation theories.

Helping People to Motivate Themselves

***** This is a large collection of links to help you explore the
topic of employee motivation.

Organizational Motivation -- Employee Motivation

***** This site offers a big collection of links on current theories
in employee motivation.

Motivation Links

***** This is a big collection of articles on motivation.


theory x theory y
employee motivation theories
history of theory x theory y
theory x theory y organizational development
lgl1-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Excellent response the question posed. Clearly, a great deal of time
and effort went into researching this question. Thank you!

Subject: Re: Human Resources Management
From: czh-ga on 31 Oct 2003 09:36 PST
Hello again lgl1-ga,

I'm glad my answer was helpful. Thank you for the five stars and generous tip.

~ czh ~

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy