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In: Business and Management

Submitted By smartlyjohn21
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Leadership Assumptions about Human Nature
Why do some managers believe that the only way to manage employees is to force and coerce them to work while others adopt a more humane approach? Douglas McGregor, an MIT Sloan
School of Management professor, believed that a manager’s actions toward employees were dictated by having one of two basic sets of assumptions about employee attitudes. His two contrasting categories, outlined in his 1960 book, The Human Side of Enterprise, are known as
Theory X and Theory Y.

According to McGregor, some managers subscribe to Theory X. The main assumptions of Theory
X managers are that employees are lazy, do not enjoy working, and will avoid expending energy on work whenever possible. For a manager, this theory suggests employees need to be forced to work through any number of control mechanisms ranging from threats to actual punishments.
Because of the assumptions they make about human nature, Theory X managers end up establishing rigid work environments. Theory X also assumes employees completely lack ambition. As a result, managers must take full responsibility for their subordinates’ actions, as these employees will never take initiative outside of regular job duties to accomplish tasks.
In contrast, Theory Y paints a much more positive view of employees’ attitudes and behaviors.
Under Theory Y, employees are not lazy, can enjoy work, and will put effort into furthering organizational goals. Because these managers can assume that employees will act in the best interests of the organization given the chance, Theory Y managers allow employees autonomy and help them become committed to particular goals. They tend to adopt a more supportive role, often focusing on maintaining a work environment in which employees can be innovative and prosperous within their roles. One way of improving our leadership style would be to become
conscious…...

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