Douglass McGregor in his 1960 published book "The Human Side of Enterprise" examined theories, which involved studying people while at work. Soon after he started studying these theories he came up with two models, which he called Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X Assumptions

Basically McGregor thought that some people who fit Theory X were:

  • Lazy
  • Unambitious
  • Have a Strong dislike of work
  • And need to be controlled through punishment

McGregor argues that if a manager treats employees in a way, which gives them the chance and opportunity to act in the mentioned ways above, then the employees will do so. He also believed that they were completely uninterested in doing any work at all, and would make such attempts of getting out of doing work.

Theory Y Assumptions

Theory Y argues that some employees are not:

  • Money motivated, but gain reward from the job itself
  • They are highly motivated
  • Self disciplined
  • They crave responsibility

Clearly, Theory X and Theory Y workers will react in extremely contrasting ways to different managers and what they attempt, if, for example you have a manager who has a Autocratic management style and rules with an iron fist, it might make Theory X people work without a problem, but for a manager who rules Democratically, he might let it go, and so the employees end up doing nothing.

  • Advanced Vocational Business second edition

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