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By the late 1950s it was commonly believed that a

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Unformatted text preview: ld persist well into the future (Whyte 1956, 129; Manchester 1974, 527–28, 708). By the late 1950s, it was commonly believed that a worker would work for the same firm for many years following a relatively stable and clear career path until retirement (McGregor 1960, 186; Whyte 1956; Helmich and Brown 1972; Mihal, Sorce, and Comte 1984). This was a work environment in which employment was stable, career paths were well-defined, and employees followed certain life patterns in which basic needs for shelter and the like would be met for a very long time (McGregor 1960, 186; Gabor 2000, 166). McGregor wrote THSE in 1960 after almost three decades of investigation into working conditions and workers’ attitudes toward their jobs (McGregor 1960; Gabor 2000, 164). He was fascinated by the idea of motivation—that special something in a person that drives him or her to work hard, to perform often routine or thankless tasks with energy and enthusiasm. He wanted to know what motivated a person and what managers or supervisors could do to encourage that motivation. More importantly, McGregor wanted to know why, in a world in which financial and retirement needs were met so effectively, so many workers were dissatisfied with their jobs (McGregor 1960, 22–24, 54). The answer for McGregor seemed to rest in the degree of control or autonomy a subordinate was granted over his or her work environment (1960, 28, 29, 110–12; 1967, 61 and the following pages) (although to be precise, the 1960 edition of THSE does not mention any female managers or line employees). McGregor believed that the more autonomy and responsibility workers had, the more likely they were to be motivated in their jobs (1960, 36– 40; in Bennis, Schein, and McGregor 1966, 52–53; 1967, 11). McGregor believed that motivation grew out of the inherent human drive to satisfy needs, but his ideas about how motivation and needs were linked evolved throughout his career. His early writings stress extrinsic rewards such as pay and benefits (Bennis, Schein, and...
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