McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y of Motivation

Theory Y of Motivation
McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y of Motivation

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McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y of Motivation


 According to this theory, the managers view employees in different human nature concepts which he labels as Theory X and Theory Y.  This theory demands the managers to reflect about their employees including issues such as how do you treat the employees? How does the manager talk to them?  This is important to know because it enables the management learn where they are in the Theory X-Theory Y continuum.

In Theory X, managers assume that employees generally heat work and that the average employee is lazy, lacks ambitions and is generally lazy. This theory assumes that employee motivation is money. This type of manager is sharp contrast to Theory Y. Theory Y managers assume that employees and highly satisfied by their work and exhibit high level of creativity. According to this theory, employees seek recognition and self-fulfilment than money (Korzynski, 2013).

How I Identify and Differ With This Style

 I identify with this management theory because I believe that it is very important to understand the various ways to treat human nature, as most of the employee behaviour observed in their work place is a reaction to management style. For instance,  the management that believes employees avoids responsibility and must be coerced to achieve organizational goals  are likely to set strict measures to  the employees dictating what they want the employees to do, ways they want it done and closely monitor them.

This communicates lack of trust to the employees In this regards, the employees  reaction towards work is negative, which convinces  the managers  that their assumptions is actually correct. On the other hand, Theory Y managers have entirely different assumptions. In this type of management, they make their decisions by consensus. This enhances the employee’s sense of belonging. By empowering the employee, the employee’s authority increases and tends to be responsible. This management encourages the employee creativity as well as teamwork and are more likely to reward them. As a result, the employee’s reaction is positive because they are treated with respect and support (Mikkelsen, Jacobsen, & Andersen, 2015).

  Despite the fact that the theory explanations of management and employees performance are feasible- I highly doubt that there are managers who are purely X or Y.  The theories are designed to help the management understand their natural instincts and help them appreciate their attitudes such that they can adjust to certain situations within specific environment and organizational culture.

In this regards, it’s not a question if one is a Theory X or Theory manager. Irrespective of the type of management, the work must be done. Therefore, the key to success is evaluating your organization to identify the styles that are more consistent with bringing out the highest motivation levels and improve employee’s productivity (Reed & Bogardus, 2012).

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An Example of Business That Has Applied Theory Management Style

 An example of business that has applied Theory Management style in their organization is Google Company. The Google Company gives their students much freedom to ensure that they enjoy working at this company. The management looks at the employees tend to believe that they are self-actualizing as well as self-fulfilling. In Google Company, there is no micromanagement of the employees because they want them to be creative and improve their sense of belonging by making them take ownership of their work. 

 This company does not motivate the employees with fear of getting fired if they do not deliver quality work, but rather it encourages and empower employees to ensure that they take initiative to pursue their life goals. When the employee’s psychological needs are improved, they become motivated and are ultimately more likely to accomplish their company’s goals. The organizations push their workers to ensure that they understand their self-actualisation alongside the company’s goals set. The employees are given flexibility and ensure that the work place is comfortable. This motivates the employees to remain productive (Korzynski, 2013).

Case study

 During the unstable economic times, many companies management are expected to make tough decisions regarding the organization work force structure and size.  The director of Tri-County Home Health Agency is expected to implement a reduction in force (RIF) program also commonly known as lay-off.  This requires a lot of interaction with the top management officials and human resource manager to evaluate the jobs that need to be eliminated and ways the employees needs to be notified about the decisions. In this case, Theory X will work effectively (Gandolfi, & Hansson, 2010).

 Before implementing RIF, the management should explore all the alternatives available. This is because RIF could be a quick answer, but may not make sense in the long-term.  Other alternatives such as reducing work schedules, salary reduction, freeze of hiring, reduction of employee’s contribution and natural attrition. After reviewing these options and RIF still remains the best step for the company it is important for the management to explore ways to go about it.

The following should be put into consideration, including what departments or divisions are likely to be affected or will RIF affect the entire organization. In this case, what employees are essential to keep the company running, what set of skills are very vital in the organization for future (McConnell, 2010).

 One of the challenges during this process is selection of employees who will undergo lay-offs. This is complex due to the impact of disparate analysis.  In this regards, the selection criteria should be based on employee’s level of experience, versatility and proficiency. The unnecessary jobs categories and classifications should be eliminated. The employee’s performance can be evaluated using data from job appraisal.  To decide on whom to let go or stay, the management should strive an objective comparison of its employees. Strict compliance with the requirements must be maintained, failure to which employee’s claim of discrimination can be enforced (Gandolfi, & Hansson, 2010).

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 To communicate to the employees, a note of warning must be given to organizations. This facilitates quick action which is important for people who are staying and those who are leaving. All information about severance should be clear to ensure that every person understands it. The management should predict the questions anticipated and address the issue from the start.

Additionally it is important to the employees sign a release to avoid the employees taking action against the organization. It is also important to communicate with the survivors as they are equally affected. Additionally, the survivors are expected to match the same output level or even higher, which calls for motivation, giving the employees sense of hope and belief (McConnell, 2010).


Gandolfi, F., & Hansson, M. (2010). Reduction-in-force (RIF) – New developments and a brief historical analysis of a business strategy. Journal of Management & Organization, 16(5), 727-743.

Korzynski, P. (2013). Employee motivation in new working environment. International Journal of Academic Research, 5(5), 184-188.

McConnell, C. (2010). Umiker’s management skills for the new health care supervisor. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Mikkelsen, M., Jacobsen, C., & Andersen, L. (2015). Managing Employee Motivation: Exploring the Connections Between Managers’ Enforcement Actions, Employee Perceptions, and Employee Intrinsic Motivation. International Public Management Journal, 1-23.

Reed, S., & Bogardus, A. (2012). PHR. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons

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