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Unformatted text preview: npredictable needs” (1960, 185). Kirton himself could not have stated it more succinctly.
Final Concerns Much of the criticism above is based on social scientiﬁc investigations of various propositions made by Maslow and McGregor. It may be argued that such analysis is unfair because
McGregor never considered his work to be scientiﬁc (Strauss 1968; Schrage 2000) and because McGregor’s work encompassed more than a simple set of testable hypotheses. Three Bobic and Davis A Kind Word for Theory X points stand out. First, McGregor considered his work to be based on years of social scientiﬁc research (1960, 5–7; 1967, 6). Second, he fully expected his work to generate scholarly
interest and testable hypotheses (McGregor 1967, 55). Third, his work has generated social scientiﬁc interest and controversy.
It may be argued that much of the evidence presented here is immaterial to McGregor’s
core ideas. McGregor’s discussion of management is directed not toward ﬁrst-line supervisors or their subordinates but toward those who manage managers (1960, 55), yet much of
the research presented here explores relationships between line managers and subordinates.
There are three reasons to reject this criticism. It is clear that McGregor considered ﬁrst-line
supervision to be a unique position (1960, 1961; quoted in Bennis, Schein, and McGregor
1966, 27). Nevertheless, he also expected future research to ﬁnd ways to adapt Theory Y
ideas to these circumstances (1960, 55; quoted in Bennis, Schein, and McGregor 1966, 27).
McGregor clearly believed that management science could progress only to the degree that
scholars abandoned Theory X assumptions and pursued research based on Theory Y assumptions (1960, 245). Such progress (he believed) would beneﬁt all workers in the long
run. For our purposes, the question remains: Was McGregor premature in dismissing the
theoretical importance of Theory X assumptions? We now present a (relatively mild) defense of Theory X management.
A KIND WOR...
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