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Motivation Theory X

Motivation Theory X

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Published by umama2009

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Published by: umama2009 on Dec 10, 2009
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01/20/2011

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Motivation Theory X
In this theory, which has been proven counter-effective in most modern practice,management assumes employees are inherently lazy and will avoid work if they canand that they inherently dislike work. As a result of this, management believes thatworkers need to be closely supervised and comprehensive systems of controlsdeveloped. A hierarchical structure is needed with narrowspan of controlat each andevery level. According to this theory, employees will show little ambition without anenticing incentive program and will avoid responsibility whenever they can.According to Michael J. Papa, if the organizational goals are to be met, theory Xmanagers rely heavily on threat and coercion to gain their employee's compliance.Beliefs of this theory lead to mistrust, highly restrictive supervision, and a punitiveatmosphere. The Theory X manager tends to believe that everything must end inblaming someone. He or she thinks all prospective employees are only out forthemselves. Usually these managers feel the sole purpose of theemployee's interestin the job is money. They will blame the person first in most situations, withoutquestioning whether it may be the system, policy, or lack of training that deservesthe blame. A Theory X manager believes that his or her employees do not reallywant to work, that they would rather avoid responsibility and that it is the manager's job to structure the work and energize the employee. One major flaw of thismanagement style is it is much more likely to causeDiseconomies of Scalein largebusinesses. This theory is a negative view of employeesA Theory X manager makes the following general assumptions:
Work is inherently distasteful to most people, who will attempt to avoid workwhenever possible.
Most people are not ambitious, have little desire for responsibility, and preferto be directed.
Most people have little capacity for creativity in solving organizationalproblems.
Motivation occurs only at the physiological and security levels of Maslow'sHierarchy of Needs 
Most people are self-centered. As a result, they must be closely controlledand often coerced to achieve organizational objectives
Most people resist change.
Most people are gullible and not particularly intelligent.Essentially, Theory X assumes that the primary source of most employee motivationis money, with security as a strong second.
Hard Approach vs. Soft Approach
UnderTheory X, management approaches to motivation can range from a
hard approach
to a
soft approach
.
 
The hard approach to motivation relies on coercion, implicit threats, closesupervision, and tight controls -- essentially an environment of command andcontrol. The soft appoach is to be permissive and seek harmony with the hope that inreturn employees will cooperate when asked to do so. However, neither of theseextremes is optimal. The hard approach results in hostility, purposely low-output,and hard-line union demands. The soft approach results in increasing desire forgreater reward in exchange for diminishing work output.It would appear that the optimal approach to human resource management would belie somewhere between these extremes. However, McGregor asserts that neitherapproach is appropriate since the fundamental assumptions of Theory X areincorrect.
The Problem with Theory X
Drawing onMaslow's Needs Hierarchy, McGregor argues that a need, once satisfied,no longer motivates. Under Motivation Theory X, the firm relies on money andbenefits to satisfy employees' lower needs, and once those needs are satisfied thesource of motivation is lost. Theory X management styles, in fact, hinder thesatisfaction of higher-level needs. Consequently, the only way that employees canattempt to satisfy their higher level needs in their work is by seeking morecompensation, so it is quite predictable that they will focus on monetary rewards.While money may not be the most effective way to self-fulfillment, in a Theory Xenvironment it may be the only way. Under Theory X, people use work to satisfytheir lower needs, and seek to satisfy their higher needs in their leisure time.Unfortunately, employees can be most productive when their work goals and higherlevel needs are in alignment.McGregor makes the point that a command and control environment is not effectivebecause it relies on lower needs as levers of motivation, but in modern society thoseneeds already are satisfied and thus no longer motivate. In this situation, one wouldexpect employees to dislike their work, avoid responsibility, have no interest inorganizational goals, resist change, etc., thus creating aself-fulfilling prophecy. Fromthis reasoning, McGregor proposed an alternative: Theory Y.
Motivational Theory Y
In this theory, management assumes employees
may be
ambitious and self-motivated and exercise self-control. It is believed that employees enjoy their mentaland physical work duties. According to Papa, to them work is as natural as play.They possess the ability for creative problem solving, but their talents are underusedin most organizations. Given the proper conditions, theory Y managers believe thatemployees will learn to seek out and accept responsibility and to exercise self-controland self-direction in accomplishing objectives to which they are committed. A TheoryY manager believes that, given the right conditions, most people will want to do wellat work. They believe that the satisfaction of doing a good job is a strong motivation.Many people interpret Theory Y as a positive set of beliefs about workers. A closereading of The Human Side of Enterprise reveals that McGregor simply argues formanagers to be open to a more positive view of workers and the possibilities thatthis creates. He thinks that Theory Y managers are more likely than Theory Xmanagers to develop the climate of trust with employees that is required for human
 
resource development. It's here through human resource development that is acrucial aspect of any organization. This would include managers communicatingopenly with subordinates, minimizing the difference between superior-subordinaterelationships, creating a comfortable environment in which subordinates can developand use their abilities. This climate would include the sharing of decision making sothat subordinates have say in decisions that influence them. This theory is a positiveview to the employeesThe higher-level needs of esteemandself-actualizationare continuing needs in that they are never completely satisfied. As such, it is these higher-level needs throughwhich employees can best be motivated.In strong contrast to Theory X, a Theory Y manager makes the following generalassumptions:
Work can be as natural as play if the conditions are favorable.
People will be self-directed and creative to meet their work and organizationalobjectives if they are committed to them.
People will be committed to their quality and productivity objectives if rewards are in place that address higher needs such as self-fulfillment.
The capacity for creativity spreads throughout organizations.
Most people can handle responsibility because creativity and ingenuity arecommon in the population.
Under these conditions, people will seek responsibility.Under these assumptions, there is an opportunity to align personal goals withorganizational goals by using the employee's own need for fulfillment as themotivator. McGregor stressed that Theory Y management does not imply a softapproach.McGregor recognized that some people may not have reached the level of maturityassumed by Theory Y and therefore may need tighter controls that can be relaxed asthe employee develops.
Applying Theory Y Management - Business Implications
If Theory Y holds true, an organization can use these principles of scientificmanagement to improve employee motivation:
Decentralization and Delegation - If firms decentralize control and reduce thenumber of levels of management, managers will have more subordinates andconsequently will be forced to delegate some responsibility and decisionmaking to them.
Job Enlargement - Broadening the scope of an employee's job adds varietyand opportunities to satisfy ego needs.
Participative Management - Consulting employees in the decision makingprocess taps their creative capacity and provides them with some control overtheir work environment.
Performance Appraisals - Having the employee set objectives and participatein the process of evaluating how well they were met.

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