Theory X

Douglas McGregor's theory on management

What the theory says .......

Type X individuals are considered to be inherently lazy and not fond of their jobs. As a result, an authoritarian management style is required to ensure that individuals fulfill their objectives. Workers managed this way need to be closely supervised under comprehensive systems of control. A hierarchical structure is needed with narrow span of control at each and every level.

The Manager's perspective ......

Theory X managers must rely heavily on the threat of punishment to gain compliance of employees. When practiced, this theory can lead to mistrust, highly restrictive supervision and a punitive atmosphere.


The Employee's Perspective .....

According to this theory, employees will show little ambition without an enticing incentive program and will avoid responsibility when they can.


Centralized or Decentralized ?

There is little delegation of authority and control remains firmly centralized.


Pros

The work will get done faster because the managers will be micro-managing the workers and keeping them on task. Work will be done like clockwork with little room for error, because of the time and quality limits being placed on the worker. This managerial style is more effective when used to motivate a workforce that is not inherently motivated to perform

Cons

With this theory there is often a higher rate of poor job satisfaction, because the manager does not trust the employee to do the appropriate work on his or her own. This theory requires that the employees are robotic in performing their duties, they need input in order to produce output. Also the employees are more likely to avoid work or become more distracted once the manager is out of sight. One major flaw of this management style is that it limits employee potential and discourages out of the box thinking.

Examples

A Theory X type manager would be more inclined to use tangible rewards as incentives. They assume their authority is resented and adopt regulations that are designed to enforce compliance.

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