Theory X and Y in the Organizational Management

Introduction

Theory X and Theory Y, as was advanced by Douglas McGregor, epitomize the complete opposite presuppositions of human conduct that are directly pertinent to the practice of management (Travis 827). In Theory X, individual conducts are regarded as revulsive to the work processes, immature, and require tight controls. On the other hand, McGregor represented the positive nature of human behavior in Theory Y, where individuals are presumed to be naturally oriented to the work processes, responsible and creative at the individual level, and have increased self-control in their roles (Travis 827). Depending on these characteristics, it is expected that managers holding the assumptions of Theory X would be completely different from the managers who hold the assumptions of Theory Y. In practice, however, most managers find themselves using both theories depending on the circumstances and the setting (Falk, Kopelman, and Prottas 274).

We will write a custom Theory X and Y in the Organizational Management specifically for you
for only $14.00 $11,90/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Conceptualization of the concept

Theory X and Theory Y was developed with a proposition that the management style depends on what is believed to be motivating the employees (Kopelman, Prottas, and Davis 256). In other words, according to Douglas McGregor, managers are either applying one of the theories on their management style of the organization. In practice, most managers are vacillating between Theory X and Theory Y. In their study on the impact of McGregor’s assumptions on the managerial processes Kopelman, Prottas and Davis found that the majority of managers are either adopting the characteristics of either of the theories in their management style 258.

The concept of Theory X assumes that human has an aversion for work processes and are naturally irresponsible (Travis 829). As such, humans are coerced to perform the assigned tasks. In other words, people cannot work when they are not motivated or forced to perform most of their work processes. The assumption is that self-interest is the main driver for work (Travis 829). Managers who hold such beliefs are more likely to apply a strict reward system and punishment to motivate junior employees (Travis 829). Such managers are also likely to create numerous strict rules and compliance standards (Travis, 829). In such organizations, there is a lack of trust between the management and employees. The division between the management and the employees is vivid. Employees feel intimated since the managers are looking for minor mistakes (Fisher 356).

Theory Y takes an opposing view on the management style. Theory Y posits that work is a natural phenomenon, and individuals are driven by the expected needs to work (Fisher 356). Within an organization, employees are presumed to be more creative, have solutions to the problems, and are motivated by self-actualization needs (Fisher 356). In other words, employees are constantly in need to attain whatever they consider important in life, which is the major factor that motivates them to work (Fisher 356). They do not rely on punishments in order to perform the required tasks. According to the theory, there is trust between the management and the employees (Fisher 356). The environment created within the organization allows growth and creativity (Fisher 356).

Fisher argued that managers have the capability of testing their managerial controls through the application of Theory Y and Theory X in combination with other models 357. While studying the leadership style in social work, fisher found that social work managers mainly adopt Theory Y. the reason is that the theory is in line with the manner in which social workers are trained to assess their clients. However, fisher argued that there is no empirical study indicating the complete application of either theory in the principles of social work 359. According to Fisher, the use of Theory X and Theory Y remains critical for managers to examine their underlying assumptions in order to compare their beliefs to what they actually apply in the workplace 359. Fisher further argued that it is critical to evaluate what is actually occurring and what motivate employees instead of basing the management processes on assumptions 359. Fishers findings are in line with the results of other studies especially, researches that have been conducted on the effects of the theories on employees’ motivation.

Applications of the Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y, as proposed by McGregor, have been widely applied in the management practice. One of the areas where Theory X and Theory Y have been applied is in the understanding of ethical behavior in the organization (Neuliep 301). Neuliep applied the theories to investigate the influence of the management styles on the discernment of the organizational ethics 301. The findings of the study indicated no significant differences in the perception of ethics among the managers that exhibited the characteristics of each of the theories (Neuliep 301).

However, a closure analysis of the study indicates that the managers holding the beliefs on Theory X and Theory Y have a significant contrast on their understanding of the effectiveness of the unethical behaviors (Neuliep 301). The study findings concurred with the findings of other researches that have been conducted on the area. Generally, the findings indicate that the decision to apply immoral conducts largely depend on the managerial presumptions held by the superiors (Neuliep 301).

Get your
100% original paper on any topic done
in as little as 3 hours
Learn More

Managerial presumption and the discernment of immoral missive

The Neuliep studies indicate that one of the areas where moral decisions are mostly made within the organizational arrangement is the relationship between the managers and the junior staff. The top-down power variances between the senior management and the junior staff create a condition in which unethical decisions can easily be made 303. Besides, given the fact that the management’s major function is to influence and regulate the actions of the junior staff, there is increased possibility that in the process they can easily make decisions that are perceived as immoral. The success of the management is measured by the capability to influence and direct the juniors towards the attainment of the organizational goals (Neuliep 303). In occasional circumstances, the superiors are placed at the defensive situation where they have to balance their own interest and those of the junior employees with that of the organization. Under such situations, managers often turn to immoral decisions in order to satisfy both sides (Neuliep 301).

Studies argue that the decision to apply immoral conducts largely depend on the managerial presumptions held by the superiors. In his presumptions, McGregor argued that in these conditions some managers would be Theory X oriented while others would be Theory Y oriented. The theory X oriented managers would most likely to make unethical decisions compered with Theory Y oriented managers (Neuliep 304). According to McGregor, Theory X oriented managers would assume that employees are lazy, unmotivated, dislike work, immature, require external control and would shun their responsibilities (Neuliep 304).

Contrastingly, the Theory Y managers would assume that the employees have self-control, mature, responsible enjoy work and seek to achieve the organizational goals (Neuliep 304). In fact, such managers would provide the right environment for the employees to attain the organizational goals. Besides, the Theory Y managers are likely to make ethical decisions when presented with indifferent conditions.

However, some studies indicate that Theory X and Theory Y managers have diverse ethical standards while employing cogent strategies on the employees. Such studies indicate that managers exhibiting theory X are likely to utilize anti-social persuasive strategies such as threats. Besides, such managers are also likely to utilize deceit persuasive tactics as well as punishment as one of the rewards (Neuliep 304). On the other hand, Theory Y managers have been found to be more likely to utilize pro-social winning procedures including ingratiation and alluring to the employees reverence (Neuliep 304).

Besides, Neuliep found some evidences suggesting that Theory X and Theory Y managers have diverse ethical standards while employing the persuasive strategies on the subordinate employees 304. For instance, Neuliep found that Theory X oriented managers would prefer anti-social persuasive strategies even though they understand the degree of its immorality 304. However, the main finding of the Neuliep study is that Theory X and theory Y managers differ very little in their perception of the organizational ethics (Neuliep 307). Therefore, it can be concluded that the management assumptions may not have significant effect on some of the organizational behaviors. The assertion does not contradict the general argument that the management style of the organization is highly influenced by the assumptions of the theories. In fact, it is in line with the findings of the study that tend to investigate the effects of the theoretical assumptions on other organizational behaviors besides management and leadership styles.

The impacts of Theory X and Theory Y on the managerial functions

Besides the other behavioral aspects, Theory X and Theory Y have been found to have influencing roles on the leadership, control and planning within the organization. In fact, various studies have concentrated on the manner in which the assumptions of the theories influence employees’ motivation. However, the management concepts have a greater impact of the planning processes within the organization. Regarding planning, the presuppositions of Theory X have been found have greatly influence the manner in which organization managers set their objectives.

In fact, the findings of various studies indicate that Theory x managers would normally set objectives without the knowledge of the junior employees. In other words, the Theory X managers does not set conditions that allow the participation of the subordinates on decisions that set the objectives (Travis 829). The junior employees are left out in the planning processes of the firm. On the other hand Theory Y managers encourage corporation among the employees and the managers resulting in the set objectives that is designed with the inputs from all sides. Under such settings, the attainment of the set objectives is likely to be attained. The commitment among the employees to accomplish the shared objectives and goals is likely to be higher.

We will write a custom
Theory X and Y in the Organizational Management
specifically for you!
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Learn More

Regarding governance style, business managers who are oriented towards Theory X presumptions have increased likelihood of being tyrannical. The autocratic nature of the leadership style may breed resistance and work redundancy, which in effect may cause the reduction in the total productivity. In most cases, the Theory X organizations is characterized by the top-down flow of information where the decisions are made at the managerial level and transferred to the subordinate employees. Conversely, the leadership style that characterizes the Theory Y organizations is participative. Employees are engaged in almost all decisions (Travis 829). The participative approach of the leadership style empowers employees to seek more responsibilities and increases their commitment to the goal attainment. The Theory Y organizations encourage down-upwards information flow where the decisions made on the managerial level depend on the suggestion of the subordinate staff.

In respect to control, the Theory X organization is characterized by the external control. Under such situations, managers act as the performance manager. In other words, the managers set performance standards which must be accomplished. The employees are judged according to their performance. In most instances, the current performances are judged depending on the past performances. In other words, emphases are often put on the past records. On the contrary, Theory y managers would tend to control the whole processes depending on the capability of the subordinates to have self-control (Travis 829). The self-control of the employees permits easier control processes within the organization. Besides, Theory y leaders would tend to coach their employees on the needs of the organization and how to improve performances. In other words, the Theory Y leaders prepare the subordinates for increased future performances instead of focusing on who is responsible for past failures.

As indicated, the abstract relationships between Theory Y and Theory X is always distinct and directly opposite. However, studies in the organization behavior have not indicated whether this distinct relationship exists. In other words, the managerial processes including planning, controlling and leading apply the characteristics of both theories depending on the circumstances (Travis 829). Empirical studies have shown that managers are often found applying the characteristics of both theories almost on equal basis. However, such studies agree that the assertions of the theory are true and influence the behaviors of the organization and management.

Conclusion

Theory X and Theory Y have been widely applied in the organizational managerial processes. Besides, other leadership behaviors have also been linked to the two theories. As indicated in most of the studies, Theory X and Theory Y epitomize the complete opposite presuppositions of human conducts that are directly pertinent to the practice of management. It is always assumed that In Theory X, managers often have a negative view of employees conducts that are characterized by work abhorrence, irresponsibility and the need of close supervision. On the other hand, managers have positive nature of human behavior in Theory Y where individuals are presumed to be naturally oriented to the work processes, responsible and creative at individual level and have increased self-control in their roles.

Regarding the clear distinction of these characteristics, it is expected that managers holding the assumptions of Theory X would be completely different from the managers who hold the assumptions of Theory Y. however, empirical studies indicate otherwise. In practice, most managers find themselves using both theories depending on the circumstances and the setting. Moreover, studies on the influence of the theoretical presumptions on other organizational behaviors indicate insignificant difference. In other words, Theory X and Theory Y do not influence decisions made on other organizational behaviors such as ethics. Generally, it can be concluded that Theory X and Theory Y has greater influence on the management of the organization.

Works Cited

Falk, David W., Richard E. Kopelman and David J. Prottas. “Further Development of a Measure of Theory X and Y Managerial Assumptions.” Journal of Managerial Issues 24.4 (2012): 271-287. Print.

Fisher, Elizabeth A. “Motivation and Leadership in Social Work Management: A Review of Theories and Related Studies.” Administration in Social Work 33 (2009):347–367. Print.

Not sure if you can write
Theory X and Y in the Organizational Management by yourself?
We can help you
for only $14.00 $11,90/page
Learn More

Kopelman, Richard E., David J. Prottas and Anne L Davis. “Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y: Toward a Construct-valid Measure.” Journal of Managerial Issues 20.2 (2008): 255-271. Print.

Neuliep, James W. “The Influence of Theory X and Y Management Style on the Perception of Ethical Behavior in Organizations.” Journal of Social Behavior & Personality 11.2 (1996): 301-311. Print.

Travis, L. Russ. “Theory X/Y Assumptions as Predictors of Managers’ Propensity for Participative Decision Making.” Management Decision 49.5 (2011): 823 – 836. Print.

Check the price of your paper