McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y

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					                        Appendix H


             McGregor‟s Theory X and Theory Y

 Group 3 (Alice Foster, Kendra Grewing, Cordairo Hansen,

          Jeffrey, Brent Hubble, Heather Kaupa)

Organizational Behavior & Human Resource Management MGMT500

                     Dr. Sheryl Riney

                     January 31, 2008

I:    Introduction

II:   Overview

III: Theory X

IV:   Theory Y

V: Synthesis of Theory X/Y with Situational Leadership

      i.    Motivation

      ii.   Management/ Leadership Style

VI:   Conclusion

VII: Self Application

      i.    Alice Foster

      ii.   Kendra Grewing

      iii. Cordairo Hansen

      iv.   Jeffrey Hinson

      v.    Brent Hubble

      VI.   Heather Kaupa

    In 1960 Douglas McGregor, a professor of Industrial

Management at Massachusetts‟ Institute of Technology, and

past President of Antioch College,   published his

management book titled The Human Side of Enterprise.

McGregor‟s book was a wake-up call for managers everywhere,

proclaiming that people play a significant part in the

success of any business. “Specifically, a manager‟s

assumptions about the people that work for him or her

dictate many of the results that ultimately follow”. (Kemp,

342) The book introduced two theories of motivation

managers typically use to view, and influence their

employees.   McGregor suggests that managers, whether they

realize it or not, have one of two attitudes about workers,

which he dubbed Theory X and Theory Y.

    These two management theories have made an impression

on organizational management and continue to be discussed

and debated since their introduction in 1960.   Although it

has been nearly 60 years since the first publication of

McGregor‟s ideas, “McGregor‟s XY Theory remains central to

organizational development and to improving organizational

culture” (Engineering Management Courses, 2008).

    This paper will go further into McGregor‟s X-Y theory

comparing and contrasting each theory. We will also review
McGregor‟s theory in regards to how it relates to

situational leadership today using examples that support

our conclusion, and finally, we will apply McGregor‟s X-Y

theory to own lives and how we have been impacted



    The similarities between McGregor‟s Theory X and

Theory X are few but both assume management‟s primary role

is to organize human capital to the benefit of the company.

The differences between the two theories are numerous

because they are fundamentally opposite.    “In general, the

tendency among people is to consider Theory X managers as

emphasizing task behaviors in highly structured ways and

Theory Y managers primarily using relationship behaviors”

(Hersey, Blanchard, & Johnson, 2008, p3).

    McGregor investigated human motivation based on

Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs.   McGregor believed management

could use these sets of needs to understand what motivates

employees. He combined Maslow‟s physiological and safety

needs and defined them as “low order” needs.    The remaining

needs were combined and defined as “high order”.    McGregor

theorized that people were primarily motivated by these two

sets of needs.
    McGregor believed a company‟s style of management

subscribed to either Theory X or Theory Y.    In addition, he

believed most company‟s, at the time of his books

publication, were utilizing techniques and beliefs outlined

in Theory X.    He also believed that most American worker‟s

lower needs were being met and therefore management might

mistakenly be utilizing incorrect methods of motivation.

Theory X

    Theory X assumes that most employees are motivated

initially by money and secondly by security.    “Drawing on

Maslow‟s Needs Hierarchy, McGregor argues that a need, once

satisfied, no longer motivates” (Envision Software Inc,

1998-2005).    Using Motivation Theory X, a company motivates

their workers through monetary gains.

    Theory X management styles are not effective in

satisfying an employee‟s higher-level needs.    Consequently,

the employee focuses his/her attention on increased

monetary rewards.    While monetary gains may not be the most

effective means to self-fulfillment, in a Theory X

environment it may be the only way.    Under Theory X, people

use work to satisfy their lower needs, and seek to satisfy

their higher needs outside the workplace.    Unfortunately,
employees can be most productive when their work goals and

higher level needs are in alignment.

    Some specific assumptions Theory X managers make about

their employees are: 1) Most people do not want to work and

will avoid it whenever possible.      2)   Most people are not

ambitious.   3)   Most people avoid responsibility.       4)   Most

people prefer to be instructed or directed.       5)    Most

people do not have the capacity to creatively solve

organizational obstacles.      6)    Most people can only be

motivated by physiological and security needs described in

Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs.    7)    Most people are self-

centered so they must be closely monitored.       8)    Most

people must be coerced to achieve organizational goals.           9)

Most people do not like change and often will resist any

type of change.   10) Most people are gullible.        11) Most

people are not intelligent.

    “Theory X managers naturally adopt a more

authoritarian style based on the threat of punishment”

(Rohan, 2008).    Theory X managers have a pessimistic view

of their employees, but are often results driven.         These

types of managers are usually perceived as intolerant of

mistakes and very demanding.    They can be short tempered

and can be retaliatory with employees who do not follow

protocol.    Theory X managers can also be intolerant of
personal problems or issues their followers may be

experiencing and view Theory Y managers as weak.   It is

believed that Theory X managers usually get poor results as

compared to Theory Y managers.    Theory X managers try to

motivate people through fear and believe employees must be

constantly supervised.    This type of manager prefers to

maintain tight controls and provide constant direction over

their employees.    Intimidation and punishment are common

tactics used by the Theory X manager.

Theory Y

      Theory Y is a participative management style as

compared to Theory X‟s authoritarian management style.

Theory Y recognizes the importance of treating people as

individuals who want to perform well and allows them to

develop and grow.    The higher-level needs of esteem and

self-actualization are continuing needs in that they are

never completely satisfied.    Therefore, it is these higher-

level needs through which employees can best be motivated.

      In contrast to Theory X, Theory Y leadership makes the

following general assumptions:

     Work can be as natural as play if conditions are

     People will be self-directed and creative to meet

      their work and organizational goals if they are


     People will be committed to their quality and

      productivity objectives if rewards are in places that

      address higher needs such as self-fulfillment.

     The capacity for creativity spreads throughout


     Most people can handle responsibility because

      creativity and ingenuity are common in the population.

     Under these conditions, people will seek


      It is under these assumptions, that there is an

opportunity to align personal goals with organizational

goals by using the employee‟s own fulfillment for

motivation.   McGregor recognized that some people may not

have reached the maturity level assumed by Theory Y and may

need tighter controls.   As the employee develops, these

controls can be adjusted as needed (“Motivation Theory X-Y”


      If Theory Y is correct, an organization can apply the

following principles of scientific management to improve

employee motivation:
     Decentralization and Delegation – If firms

      decentralize control and reduce management levels,

      managers will have more subordinates.   They will be

      forced to delegate some responsibility and decision

      making to their employees.

     Job Enlargement- By broadening the scope of an

      employee‟s job adds variety and opportunities to

      satisfy ego needs.

     Participative Management- Consulting employees in the

      decision making process taps their creative capacity

      and provides them with some control over their work


     Performance Appraisals- Having the employees set their

      own objectives and participate in the process of

      evaluating how well they were met.

      If properly implemented, employees would be more

motivated to satisfy their higher level of personal needs

through their jobs. (“Theory X and Y” 2007).    McGregor

truly believed that workers would act like mature adults,

and would make the goals of their organization their goals.

If management was successful at explaining why certain

actions were necessary for the good of the company, workers

would cooperate and possibly even take a pay cut to help

their company through tough times.   McGregor wanted
managers to put into operation the basic assumption that

“staff will contribute more to the organization if they are

treated as responsible and valued employees.” (“Human

Relations Contributors”, 2008)

    Essentially, Theory Y has at its core the assumption

that the physical and mental effort involved in work is

natural and that individuals actively seek to engage in

work. It also assumes that close supervision and the threat

of punishment are not the only means or even the best means

for inducing employees to exert productive effort. Instead,

if given the opportunity, employees will display self-

motivation to put forth the effort necessary to achieve the

organization's goals. Thus, avoiding responsibility is not

an inherent quality of human nature; individuals will

actually seek it out under the proper conditions. Theory Y

also assumes that the ability to be innovative and creative

exists among a large, rather than a small segment of the

population. Finally, it assumes that rather than valuing

security above all other rewards associated with work,

individuals desire rewards that satisfy their self-esteem

and self-actualization needs. (Barnett, 2006).

Synthesis of Theory X/Y with Situational Leadership
    “There are many diverse and competing theoretical

perspectives on leadership, each explaining the phenomenon

of leadership, each a way of both seeing and not seeing

this phenomenon, and each with its own limitations” (Lynham

& Chermack, 2006).   Theory X/Y is one of many theories

which have been used to try to explain the interaction

between leaders and followers, the results of that

interaction, and the affect is has on the organization.

While many would agree that Theory X is the most widely

utilized theory of leadership, there is also agreement that

Theory Y is the theory of leadership, which gets the best

results out of the two.

    “McGregor argued that managers' beliefs influence the

    way in which organizations are run. In particular,

    managers' assumptions about the behavior of workers

    influence the way they seek to lead the workforce.

    Theory X and Theory Y describe two contrasting views

    of the workforce. If managers accept the Theory X view

    of the workforce, then they will treat workers

    accordingly. However, a manager who perceives the

    workforce in a Theory Y way will treat employees very

    differently. In this sense, McGregor's theory is not

    about employee motivation so much as about management

    styles” (Jewell, 2006)
      Yet there is a greater understanding that comes from

researching Theory X and theory Y, that there is a need to

synthesize both theories into a continuum of behaviors that

apply to individuals rather than to groups as a whole.      A

leader that understands Theory X and the culture that it

creates, one of negativity and punishment, must

instinctively know that it is not applicable to every

employee.   Just as a leader who understands Theory Y and

the culture that it creates, one of non-structured

passivity must instinctively know that it is not applicable

to every employee.   This is the heart of the relativity

between Theory X, Theory Y and Situational Leadership; they

are applicable theories, sometimes, in some places, with

some people.

     In Theory X McGregor (Hersey, 2008) postulates that

      most people prefer to be directed and are not

      interested in assuming responsibility, and want safety

      above all.   That most people prefer to be directed,

      are not interested in assuming responsibility, and

      want safety above all.

     In Theory Y McGregor (Hersey, 2008) postulates that

      most people can be self-directed and creative at work
      if properly motivated.   That properly motivated people

      can achieve their own goals best by directing their

      efforts towards accomplishing company goals.

     In Situational Leadership Hersey (2008) postulates

      that in working with others and helping them develop,

      leaders should have positive assumptions about

      peoples‟ potential.   Effective leaders believe that

      people have the potential to grow and that, given an

      opportunity, they can and will respond.

      In light of what Allen stated in Leadership Excellence

(2007), “effective leaders intentionally change their

approach in new contexts, being very directive with some

employees while actively coaching others”.      Situational

leadership is effective leadership.    However, developing

the model for situational leadership had to come from

somewhere and McGregor‟s Theories are one of the human

behavior studies to which credit is given for the

formulation of Situational Leadership as a model for

effective leadership.

      Following is a comparison between Theory X, Theory Y

and Situational Leadership as it relates to follower

motivation.   First though, it should be noted, that the

major difference between Theory X/Y and Situational
Leadership is that the theories make assumptions about

human nature and attempt to explain why things happen the

way they do.   Situational Leadership is a model that takes

these assumptions (and others) and produces a set of

procedures, actions and outcomes that can be learned and

utilized on a daily basis.   Therefore, it is a reasonable

assumption that Situational Leadership builds on McGregor‟s

X/Y Theory by allowing that some people, based on their

level of readiness, should be treated in a Theory X style

and some people should be treated in a Theory Y style.


    “When a leader communicates trust and respect for

followers‟ abilities to perform and achieve, the internal

motivation of the followers takes over and drives them to

succeed” (Bjugstad, Thach, Thompson & Morris, 2006)

    In Theory X, motivation is provided through money,

fringe benefits and the threat of punishment.   This basic

assumption about human behavior is grounded in the concept

that people are motivated by the basic physiological and

safety needs as defined by Maslow.

    In Theory Y, motivation is provided through self-

motivation based on being self-directed and creative.     This

theory is based on the idea that if people were motivated
on the job to satisfy their esteem and self-actualization

need, then the organization would have high degrees of

productivity and people would gladly come to work because

work would be inherently satisfying.

    Situational Leadership provides motivation through

whatever style of leadership, which is necessary for

motivating individuals based on their readiness level.

Motivation can be money, fringe benefits, self-motivations

based on accomplishment, being self-directed or creative.

Situational Leadership is based on the idea that there is

no one best way to influence people.   “The leadership style

a person should use with individuals or groups depends on

the performance readiness level of the people the leader is

attempting to influence” (Hersey, 2008, p. 132)

    In an effort to explain Theory X and Theory Y as it

relates to the motivation of employees, we must look at a

specific situation and understand the differences the style

of leadership would take.   Let us look at an example in a

manufacturing plant, since this is considered the

traditional type of organization with its centralized

decision-making, hierarchical pyramid, and external control

of work.   We will look at the dynamics of a work group

whose main function is putting together wheel assemblies.
Assume that there is one manager to ten employees in the

work group.

       Theory X would insist that all ten of the employees

are motivated by being at work to get the job done and earn

a paycheck.    The employees do not enjoy the work; they are

not ambitious, have little desire for responsibility and

prefer to be directed.    The employees have little capacity

for creativity in solving organizational problems and they

must be closely controlled and often coerced to achieve

organizational objectives (Hersey, 2008, Table 3-1, page

49).    This is a very oppressive environment where there is

a lack of motivation past meeting the basic requirements of

the job, to do anything that might improve productivity,

safety, efficiency or effectiveness.    The employees would

lack positive relationships within the group and there

would be no need to develop positive relationships within

the organization.     This Theory X manager would direct,

control, and closely supervise people, and lack support of

the employee‟s production.

       In this same situation, Theory Y would insist that all

ten of the employees are motivated by self-motivation and

satisfaction in getting the job done.    The work is as

natural as play, self-control is often indispensable in

achieving organizational goals, the capacity for creativity
in solving organizational problems is widely distributed in

the group, and the employees are self-directed and creative

at work (Hersey, 2008, Table 3-1, page 49).     This is an

environment where everyone is given control over their own

work and the groups work and that, everyone is expected to

be productive and happy and that by meeting the

organizational goals, they will meet their own personal

goals, which will be its own reward.   This Theory Y manager

would be supportive and facilitating, but would lack

structure and direction.

    In this same situation, Situational Leadership would

insist that all ten members of the group are treated as

individuals and that the leadership style of the manager be

based on the readiness level of the employee.   In

situational leadership, the employees would be given the

opportunity to excel and grow in their task related

behaviors while maintaining appropriate levels of

willingness.   The work is accomplished according to the

goals of the organization, but each employee is expected to

be treated with the level of supervision that their actions

dictate are appropriate.   There is justice and equality,

based on the concept that not everyone is equal.     The

situational leadership manager would be at times supportive
and facilitating and at times controlling and closely

supervising the ten employees.

                                  Management/Leadership Style

    According to Jewell, managers who believe in Theory X

and approach leadership with this basic understanding of

human behavior will adopt an authoritarian approach.    The

approach of the Theory X Manager will include instruction

or direction rather than consultation, top-down

communication (directing), threats and coercion to ensure

that people follow their instructions, offering little in

the way of delegation or decision making authority to the

employees, tight control over every aspect of the work-

life, and a failure to develop people.

    Conversely, according to Jewell, managers who believe

in Theory Y and approach leadership with this basic

understanding of human behavior will adopt strategies that

challenge workers and promote personal growth with a goal

of improving performance.   The approach of the Theory Y

Manager will include more democratic styles of leadership,

two-way communication, empowerment of employees, use

quality circles, develop the communication skills of
employees, self-control as opposed to externally imposed


    Hersey (2008) believes that a manager, who practices

Situational Leadership, will approach leadership with the

basic understanding that all people are different and are

motivated by different needs.   This manager will adopt

strategies that will provide the following levels of

influence behaviors depending on the readiness level of the

employee in the context of their interaction:

           S-1 – for employees who are unable and insecure

    or unwilling (a Theory X employee) the manager would

    employ the following influence behaviors: Telling,

    directing, structuring, informing, establishing,

    forming, instructing and guiding.

           S-2 – for employees who are unable but confident

    or willing, the manager would employ the following

    influence behaviors:   selling, mentoring, persuading,

    coaching, teaching, convincing, explaining and


           S-3 – for employees who are able but insecure or

    unwilling the manager would employee the following

    influence behaviors:   participating, encouraging,

    committing, facilitating, supporting, involving,

    empowering, and problem solving.
         S – 4 for employees who are able and confident

    and willing (a Theory Y employee) the manager would

    employ the following influence behaviors:     delegating,

    observing, monitoring, entrusting, tracking attending,

    assigning, and empowering.

    Theory X and Theory Y are depicted behaviors in the

extremes of Situational Leadership, however Situational

Leadership postulates that these are two extremes on a

continuum of leadership behaviors and that there are

varying levels of leadership behavior between.    The level

of behavior is determined by the level of the employees

willingness and ability rather than being based on

assumptions made about human behavior in general.

    Hersey (2008) states that an important aspect of

Situational Leadership is that “managers need to devote

time to nurture the leadership potential, motivation,

morale, climate, commitment to objectives, decision-making

skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills of

their people” (page 181).   Another distinct difference

between Theory X, Theory Y and Situational Leadership, both

theories focus on the short-term results of managing

people, whereas Situational Leadership is focused on

growing people for the long-term success of the

    One final note about McGregor‟s Theory X and Theory Y

is that according to Hersey it might be possible to get the

impression that managers who accept Theory X assumptions

are bad and that managers who accept Theory Y assumptions

are good.    This should be avoided because as Hersey stated

“Theory X and Theory Y are attitudes, or predispositions,

toward people” (2008, p 50).    That although the best

approach for a manger to take may be Theory Y, it is not

always applicable, and there are times when Theory X is

needed.   In honor of McGregor‟s work and the invaluable

contribution his Theories have made to organizational

behavior studies, we quote the following from Jewell:

    “Despite criticisms, it has to be remembered that

    McGregor had a major impact on subsequent management

    theory and practice. As one of the key human relations

    writers, he contributed to the change in thinking from

    the scientific management approach of Taylor, to a

    more people-centered approach. Many subsequent writers

    are indebted to McGregor, and many of the people-

    centered strategies used in organizations today can be

    attributed to the line of thought that originated with


    McGregor‟s studies and theories of managerial

behavior, managerial perceptions, and human motivation,

left a lasting mark on organizational management.   The two

drastically contradicting approaches that McGregor created

allow the manager to understand the different dynamics of

each individual. Everyone is different and, as a result,

different things motivate them. Either an employee needs

constant supervision, or just a coach to support them,

knowing the difference is essential to reaching the desired


    In Conclusion, we understand there is no perfect

method to leading, but being a leader that can adjust to

the needs of their employees and knowing when, how and at

what level you need to be at in relation with the situation

at hand will make all the difference in creating a thriving


Self Application

                                                 Alice Foster

    Researching McGregor‟s Theory X and Theory Y, and

learning about how it relates to Situational Leadership,

has been an eye opening experience.   Theory X and Theory Y

are about assumptions managers make about the human nature

of their employees whereas Situational Leadership is about
looking at each employee, understanding where they are at

and where they want to go and helping them achieve it.    I

am not currently employed with an organization, but I can

certainly apply this understanding to other facets of my


    First, let us look at my „hobby‟ of catering and event

planning.   I have looked at myself and my style of

leadership in relation to McGregor‟s theories and in

relation to Situational Leadership and I am able to state

that I have been practicing situational leadership for many

years.   However, there are times when I revert to being a

Theory X manager and that has to do with what I call

„crunch‟ time.    Planning a large event takes many weeks,

sometimes months, and no matter how well you plan,

something always goes awry at the last moment.   I tend to

be so focused in the last two hours before an event starts

and I take on the personality of a dictator.   I try to

soften the blow and announce to everyone working for me

that I will be demanding and order people around for that

period of time and that it will go smoother if everyone

just does what I say when I say in order to be ready at the

crucial moment.   It has served me well to be honest and up

front with everyone, afterwards we sit around and laugh

about it, but I think I could do much more in the way of
relating to each person as a person and using the

appropriate style as it is applicable.    I do not want

anyone who works for me to think that it is ok to treat

others this way, so I have to stop doing it even for that

brief time.

    Second is my schoolwork.     I tend to use Theory Y when

it comes to my education and relating to my peers as well

as my instructors.   I expect everyone to be on the same

level and to be self-motivated and directed, I tend to have

difficulty working in group settings.    I believe the reason

I have difficulty with this is that I am expecting others

to be just as dedicated and motivated as I am and to not

need any other reason to accomplish tasks.    I treat

everyone the same, so when I get frustrated with someone

who is not working to my level of expectation I tend to get

disappointed and revert to more Theory X behavior, I become

abrupt and short.    If I could quit making assumptions about

people just because they are enrolled in the same program

and quit expecting them to behave the same way I would

behave in similar circumstances, I would be able to

minimize my frustration and irritation.

    In my personal application of the information we have

researched for this paper, the most important thing I have

learned and will attempt to implement in my life is to not
make assumptions about people in general.   Everyone is

different and approach their work based on their own

experiences in the past and their own motivations.

Understanding that these differences exist and treating

others according to the concept of „walking in their shoes‟

will help me be a more patient and tolerant person to be


                                               Kendra Grewing

    Situational leadership is determining the right style

that‟s appropriate to the situation at hand. Douglas

McGregor laid out his own hypothesis when he developed what

is now considered the classic X-Y Theory. Considering what

McGregor was suggesting through his X-Y theory I related it

to what I have experienced in the differing management

styles of my professional background, and I found the

contrasting leadership styles to be very interesting. I

applied McGregor‟s theory to the manager of the small

doctor‟s office where I worked as an assistant to the

doctor, to the manager of my current position as a

receptionist/sales assistant to a large corporate company.

I will share with you how the application of McGregor

theory was executed in both environments in varies

situation and my reaction to each.
    In my previous position as a Doctor‟s assistant I

worked in a small office with the Doctor and 6 other

assistant like myself. Not long after I started did I

recognize a problem. I am an educated person and I have

always felt motivated to do a job well. However, the

manager at the office directed using the X theory assuming

that without her constantly telling each person what to do

nothing would get done. Her controlling method felt like a

constant snub to my ability as a worker. My self worth

dropped dramatically and I had no ambition to do more than

what was asked. I soon left the eye care. This was a

situation of a manager using a questionable method for

motivating her employees and missing completely.

    In contrast to my former employer I have experience

the more accurate understanding of human behavior based on

theory Y which suggest that people can be creative and

self-directed when properly motivated by management. At

International Cold Storage I have a manager that creates a

comfortable environment where I feel relaxed and open to

pursue my goals. I started out as a receptionist and have

since taken on many different roles within the company.

    As an employee of International Cold Storage I have

been able to utilize their employee scholarship program.

The company encourages life-long learning and offers this
program to there employees in hopes of motivating the

people within the company to achieve their goals. Using the

theory Y, managers are supportive and urge their employees

to continue to learn, grow and excel.

    Overall, I have participated in both theories

suggested by McGregor and have seen how management chose to

implemented either an X or Y management style. It is my

opinion that assuming the worst of an employee will result

in poor motivation, but recognizing an employees potential

and properly motivating them to achieve, management will

attain the desired results.

                                             Cordairo Hansen

    As I look back into my past, a relatively short one

compared too much of my group, I can see how McGregor‟s

Theory X-Y has played a role in the experiences I have had.

I can use my leadership styles in many ways to impact the

people around me.

    As of now, I am a mathematics teacher in a middle

school. While working as a teacher I can see many ways in

which I am viewed as the leader, and the ways in which I

lead can be very impacting. The first way in which I can

see how I have impacted those students that I teach, is

that of motivating my students to perform to the best of

their abilities and to help them along the way. With my
Home base, the group of students that I have for a portion

of the day that is in a class out of my subject, I do many

routine assessments to make sure there are performing at a

reasonable level. Often times I create mini-conferences

with each student individually to make sure their reading

and math is on track. Upon a student being off track, I

then help the student brainstorm ideas that would help them


    In my field, another way in which I impact the

environment around me is by the relation to my leadership

style to others that teach along side me. I work in a

“team” of teachers, consisting of a teacher in each core

subject in my grade level. For our school to achieve the

highest level of excellence possible, a consistent quality

of teaching is needed throughout the curriculum. The impact

of my Theory Y leadership skills are shown, by the slow

conversion of the long time Theory X style teachers. With a

more active and freedom allowed teaching comes a highest

rate of success.

    The third way in which I can see a situational

application is in my implication of personal growth. I

spent a portion of my time making certain that I have the

leadership that appropriately challenges those around me. I

bring different activities and lessons that will personal
challenge the students, and make them do a portion of

learning of their own accord. I also bring a good positive

attitude to work everyday, so that the teachers that I

could have an impact see my attitude towards my situation,

and my respect for my job. I can see that my own personal

drive has begun to instill some personal challenges for

more efficient teaching within other teachers.

                                                   Jeff Hinson

    Studying and learning about McGregor‟s Theory X/Y was

interesting.    As a twenty-year career soldier and veteran

of the United States Army I have experienced my share of

leadership styles.   I have often found myself wondering

where these styles of leadership come from; additionally I

have often given great thought to the Army definition of

leadership and who determined that definition.   I do recall

several years ago hearing the definition of leadership as

“The process of influencing others to accomplish the

mission by providing purpose, direction, and motivation.”

WOW that sounds very familiar!

    I have only had one job since graduating high school

the military.   I entered a leadership roll in 1990 quickly

taking notice looking for a mentor, a person to be like and

one was quickly found, my Squad Leader Sergeant Bill
Connors.   It was evident that most young soldiers early in

their careers were misguided by leaders who fell into the

Theory X category.   It seemed that some leaders had given

up on themselves and were not interested in the job and

adventure but in it only for the benefits and money. I

believe these leaders lack of motivation and dedication

from senior leaders.   This was partly due to the

uncertainty of the military regarding possible down sizing

and the lack of promotions.

    The second leadership position I held that presented

all kind of leadership challenges was Drill Instructor

Duty.   As a Drill Instructor at Fort Benning Georgia the

home of the Infantry I experienced all walks of life.

Placing two hundred new soldiers into a company, fifty per

platoon is a Theory X nightmare.   One would think that

military leaders trying to achieve a common goal “to train

soldiers” would be filled with Theory Y leaders capable of

fending for themselves solving problems and taking care of

everyday business this is not the case.   In dealing with a

lot of the leaders who were involved in training the new

soldiers the Theory X approach was more effective with most

in solving the day-to-day problems.   It was almost like

they didn‟t want to attempt the job and were more than

willing to be told what to do and when to do it than to
take the initiative.   When training the new soldiers the

Theory X is the only approach.   New soldiers generally lack

the mental ability to make decisions during training due to

the lack of motivation, direction and understanding of task


    Currently I serve as the First Sergeant of HHT 1-40th

Cavalry surrounded by subordinate senior leaders who fall

into the Theory Y category.   These leaders are seasoned and

have the abilities and agencies to solve problems when they

arise, they also posses the abilities to manage their time

and soldiers appropriately.   They have reached this high

standard due to past leaders who allowed them to grow.     The

military is mistake based society learning as we go.      Make

a mistake learn from it and don‟t make it again.   No

mistake made by a leader is a bad example; it is a good

example of what not to do additionally I don‟t have weak

leaders within my ranks, some are just stronger than

others.   As the senior leader in the Troop I am always

willing to provide guidance to subordinate leaders in

solving problems in the event the solution is beyond the

leader‟s capabilities.   When offering guidance one could

say that I am applying Theory X in addition to training

them to become better and more effective leaders securing

our nation once I am gone.
    In my research I have realized the importance of

flexibility.   As noted above I have experienced and use

both Theories‟.   It was not until this class that I truly

realized and understood the different applications.     What I

have learned will be useful while continuing my military

career and when I decide to enter the civilian sector.     I

will continue to evaluate soldiers based on this Theory to

aid me in understand them, their leadership abilities and

to hone my skills in problem solving down to the lowest


                                                 Brent Hubble

     As a production supervisor in a large manufacturing

facility, I have ample opportunity to apply situational

leadership styles and move from a subscriber of Theory X to

a believer in Theory Y.   One way I can impact my current

organization is to improve some of the ways I motivate

machine operators.   I have made a commitment to provide

each operator, working on my team, a written evaluation by

the end of the year.   I expect to sit down with them

individually to discuss areas of improvement and to provide

positive feedback to them.   In addition, I will ask them to

provide me with some constructive criticism about the way I

supervise them as an individual and the team as a whole.       I
already know some of the areas I can improve but my beliefs

may not be their perceptions.   Although my commitment may

not seem timely, the effort will take a considerable amount

of time because there are currently 144 operators on my

team.   I have already begun developing the evaluation


    Another way I can impact my current organization is to

improve other Theory X subscribers‟ understanding of Theory

Y concepts.   Unfortunately, there several Theory X

believers at my organization and some will be easier to

convert than others.   Maybe if they see me making changes

it might influence their behavior.   Most of the Theory X

believers I work with have a poor re-pore with their

followers and genuinely do not understand why some despise


    Finally, I can impact my current organization in a

positive way by focusing more attention on positive actions

for individuals with low levels of performance readiness.

Although I do not believe the work is difficult, we do have

a large number of people who are unable to competently

perform the work.   I will spend more time developing some

of the marginal employees who may not otherwise succeed,

consequently, reducing employee turnover.
                                                Heather Kaupa

    I have found that in researching and learning about

all the different leadership styles and performance

readiness styles, it is impossible to really pick one

aspect of my life it will impact.   I am more comfortable in

the follower/employee position at this point in my career,

but that does not mean I cannot utilize different theories

in my professional life.   I like to accept new challenges,

I like working for an organization that allows me to be an

adult, and trusts me to work to the best of my ability.      I

do not work well in an environment that micromanages, as it

does not make me feel like a Theory Y employee.

    The three ways I believe this new found knowledge will

assist me is first it will help me understand why a

supervisor deals with situations differently.    I realize

that people are not at the same performance level or

motivation and may require additional attention or

direction.   However, I do not feel that this is currently a

huge issue in my current organization.   Our directors do

not structure, control or closely supervise their


    Next, it is important that I remember to let my

organization know where I stand, and what I have to

contribute now and long term.   I am very passionate about
higher education, and although I work in the billing

department, everything I do is important.   I would like to

increase my knowledge and experience for positions and

advancement later in my career.   I want to be known for

being creative, motivated and self-directed.   I want to be

able to take on more projects and expand my current job

description, as my organization grows.

    Lastly, whether this has anything to do with

leadership styles or motivation, I want to have a more

positive attitude.   My position with the college is new,

and I want to be able to complete my day-to-day tasks.      I

also want to be able to improve and train others, how my

position impacts them.   My position impacts financial aid,

admissions, advising, professors, and students.    I want to

make the process as painless as possible.   This means I

need to take what I learn and apply it in my everyday

dealings with people in a leadership style that best suits

their readiness level.   The process would be much easier on

everyone affected.   I need to know where to start, and how

to “teach” others about my position and how we can work

together.   I want to be known as someone that accepts

change and basically loves what I do.
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