Employee Engagement: Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y are theories of human motivation created and developed by Douglas McGregor at the MIT Sloan School of Management in the 1960s. This is more than 50 years ago. It is time to discontinue the debate of which theory is superior or right and understand that these were hypotheses. It is time to learn from our workplace experience and move towards workplace democracy.



Employee is lazy and dislike work Employee is self-motivated and enjoy his or her mental and physical work duties.
Managers must closely supervise.A hierarchical structure is needed with narrow span of control at each and every level. Managers must create the correct work setting to build initiative
Employees need to be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to make adequate effort. A need to create strict rules and define rewards Employee exercise self-control

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, during the U.S. industrial revolution, a need emerged for more formalized structures in large business organizations. They adopted Max Weber’s (1864 to 1920) bureaucratic or mechanistic structure. The objective was to attain efficiency of process through managerial control. It was characterized by extensive rules and procedures, centralized authority, and division of labor (departmentalized workers by function). You can see that this ideal bureaucracy relates to Theory X. This is about 150 years ago. We know that it is not working. It is time to learn from our workplace experience and formulate a better organizational structure.