The study of human behavior is a fascinating field with a wide range of topics. Several theories have been proposed in order to understand and explain how human motivation is controlled by its external environment. One of these classical theories was proposed by the social psychologist Douglas McGregor in 1960 in his book, â€œ The Human Side of Enterprise.â€ In his book Douglas examined theories on behavior of individuals at work and formulated two management models which he called Theory X and Theory Y. Each model identifies two distinct types of human beings; Theory X identifies the negative while Theory Y the positive. The current U.S. workforce is one of the most diverse in the world. Diverse cultures, beliefs and generations working together for a common goal. By identifying age groups that were born under certain social and world environments we are able to link McGregorâ€™s theories towards the groups dominant motivational and work values.
Assumptions in Theories X and Y
The two fundamental approaches to managing people proposed by McGregor were Theory X and Y. Theory X assumes that the average human being has an inherent dislike for work and will avoid having to do it if possible. Due to this dislike, individuals need to be controlled and threatened in order for work to get done. These individuals need to be told what to do and avoid responsibility for their actions. According to Robbins (2001), Most workers place security above all other factors associated with work and will display little ambition. This management style is also referred to as the 'authoritarian management' style.
Theory Y in contrast assumes that the average human being looks to work as a natural part of play or rest. If the work is satisfying to the individual then his commitment to the goals of the organization will drive him/her towards seeking responsibility. In addition, Ingenuity, creativity and im