Sociology Index

X Theory

Theory Y, Theory Z

Theory X ('authoritarian management' style)

  • The average person dislikes work and will avoid it if he/she can.

  • Therefore most people must be forced with the threat of punishment to work towards organisational objectives.

  • The average person prefers to be directed; to avoid responsibility; is relatively unambitious, and wants security above all else.

Mcgregor's XY Theory

Douglas McGregor was an American social psychologist. He proposed his famous XY theory in his 1960 book 'The Human Side Of Enterprise'.

Theory X and theory Y are referred to commonly in the field of management and motivation and Mcgregor's XY Theory remains a valid basic principle from which to develop positive management style and techniques.

McGregor's XY Theory also remains central to organizational development, and to improving organizational culture.

McGregor's XY theory is based on the natural rules for managing people.

McGregor maintained that there are two fundamental approaches to managing people. Many managers tend towards theory X, and generally get poor results.

Enlightened managers use theory Y, which produces better performance and results, and allows people to grow and develop.