Work Motivation in the Theory X and Y Context

I am a member of an organization called Children Centre for Development. It is based in Chicago. I am engaged as a social worker on a part-time basis. In the course of my duties, I have come to appreciate the fact that McGregor’s theories of management can be used to operate modern day organizations. McGregor’s theory X and theory Y are relevant to my organization. Our managers rely more on theory X than on theory Y.

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In theory X, McGregor states that an authoritarian kind of management is applied on the assumption that all employees lack motivation. As a result, managers intervene to deal with the issues arising at work. In this theoretical framework, McGregor identifies characteristics of conventional workers.

Such employees hate work and they need to be supervised when carrying out their duties. Workers are forced to perform their roles. Managers use threat on employees to make them deliver. In addition, McGregor states that delegation of duties is limited when this theory is used in human resource management. The reason is that workers are not trusted by the supervisors. There are very few bureaucratic considerations in this approach. That is why delegation of duties is non-existent.

I have come to appreciate that this theory defines the operations of my organization. Our managers are usually tough when it comes to following rules. Supervision is exercised in all aspects of our operations.

For Instance, employees are not allowed to take a break even when they fall sick in the course of their work. Managers will try to convince the employee to proceed with work. With the help of McGregor’s theory X, I can now understand the motivation behind our supervisors. They believe that workers are generally lazy. Claiming that one is sick is seen as just an excuse.

We are not allowed to work on our own even on matters that do not require supervision. Someone is always there to ensure that workers perform according to the expectations of their employers. At one time, our supervisor failed to report to work. He had been involved in a mild car accident and could not make it to the office on time. As a result, a total of 40 employees under his supervision could not work in his absence. Regardless of the simplicity of the tasks, we were instructed not to proceed. We resumed operating after he reported.

McGregor’s theory Y addresses the issue of management from a participatory perspective. Employees actively participate in the affairs of the firm. The assumption by the proponents of this theory is that workers are self-motivated. They take responsibility over their work. Problems that arise in the workplace are solved in creative ways.

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In this theory, workers are praised for their good work. Promotions are also given to those who deserve them. In such situations, there is a thin line between managers and workers. Employees are treated as individuals with different abilities. Managers avoid making generalizations about workers. Proponents of this theory believe that people work as a result of internal self-drive. The external environment does not dictate whether a person will work or not.

Even though this theory works best in places that require teamwork, the organization I work for subscribes to the ideas enshrined in theory X. Managers fail to appreciate that theory Y will enhance the success of our operations. In my view, the backward trend in my organization as far as state ranking of companies is concerned can be attributed to the use of McGregor’s theory X.

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