Theory X and Theory Y by McGregor relevance

Theory X and Theory Y by McGregor relevance

Theory X and Theory Y. Employee motivation implies the ability to stimulate and inspire subordinates or employees to pursue the planned course of action. This is an approach that makes employees of an organization to behave in a particular manner. Therefore, Douglas McGregor proposed that organizations can use two different approaches to look into employees’ attitudes toward work. In his views, he called them theory X and Theory Y. These two theories have different implications for the management of employees (Senge, 2014). Thus, based on the premises concerning human behavior, McGregor suggested the two theories which are essential in modern day human resource management. This paper provides the comparison and differences between the Theory X and Theory Y suggested by Douglas McGregor.


Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X and Theory Y


Douglas McGregor’s theory X is a conventional procedure of motivating employees based on negative assumptions. In contrast, theory Y is a diametrically opposite approach to theory X. Theory Y shows the dynamic and modern approach to persons and relies on the assumptions that are realistic. Under theory X, employees do not like to work and will always avoid work if at all possible ways (Cameron & Green, 2015). Therefore, managers must coerce, control, direct and threaten them with punishment in order to get them to work effectively. Thus, an average employee will avoid responsibility and is unambitious as they value security more than anything else. In theory X, management is paternalistic as well as somehow authoritative. This is because punishment and rewards are assumed to be essential to employees. In theory X, the organization believes that workers are only motivated by money and hate work, are selfish and lazy. Therefore, they need close control and direction. In theory Y, management takes participative style, and efforts are naturally induced. This is because people apply self-direction and self-control to pursue organizational goals and objectives and threats or external controls are less used. Also, commitment to goals is a function associated with rewards to achieve the satisfaction of their ego needs. Employees accept and seek responsibility in theory Y as creativity and imagination are associated with employees (Cameron & Green, 2015).

The difference is that theory X is a motivational approach involving control and supervision over subordinates and a greater centralization degree. Theory Y assumes that employees are self-motivated and directed, for development and growth and takes active participation in decision making. In theory, X employees dislike work, have no ambition, and avoid responsibilities, while in theory Y, work is natural and employees are highly ambitious, seek and accept responsibility. Leadership style in theory X is autocratic and provides constant direction while in theory Y, it is democratic and no direction is required. There are tight control and authority is centralized in theory X, while in theory Y, control is lenient and authority is decentralized. (Scott, 2015)

Theory X and Theory Y. Criminal Justice Organizations

The theories of motivation developed by Douglas are applied in criminal justice organizations as personal development tools. This is because organizations of criminal justice are areas of correction and face continuous inspection from lawmakers and social scientists. These theories are used to rehabilitate offenders because of the nature of work related to criminal justice organizations. Therefore, the theories are used to involve criminals in healthy and constructive activities to rehabilitate them to healthy lives. Theory Y is a motivational approach and helps advocates to benefit and use of the soft type of management controls, while theory X help criminal justice organizations to threaten and punish criminals in order to correct them and make them accept responsibility (Scott, 2015).

Theory X and Theory Y. Modern Employees

Theory X and Y apply to modern day employees as it helps managers to get work done and allow employees to accept responsibilities. This is because according to theory X, employees should be threatened and punished to get work done as well as get direction, accept work and responsibilities for improved performance and aspirations to seek protection and job security. However, theory X is less applicable as compared to theory Y. This is because theory Y is a motivational theory which advocates for effectiveness and benefits of soft management controls. It allows employees to be naturally motivated and self-ambitious for more justified rewards (Scott, 2015). Thus, it allows employees to focus on self-direction and self-control to meet organizational goals as well as remain committed based on rewards associated with performance. Organizations can benefit from these theories by establishing a reward system that motivates employees to achieve organizational goals, while criminal justice can apply McGregor theories to establish the best corrective measures that can ensure social justice and individual development and growth. Allow us to writer your essays today and enjoy the best rates.

Theory X and Theory Y. References

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2015). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools, and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.

Scott, W. R. (2015). Organizations and Organizing: Rational, natural and open systems perspectives. Routledge.

Senge, P. M. (2014). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. Crown Business.


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