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Unformatted text preview: ation and management can be said to have revolutionized the
ﬁeld of management theory. Grounded in psychological theory, a clear deﬁnition of creativity, and many years of observations, McGregor’s model is persuasive, intuitively appealing,
and attractively simple. Although the assumptions underlying the model seem to have endured over the last four decades, many elements of this model have in fact been subjected
to serious criticism. These criticisms are important enough to require a reevaluation of the
foundations on which McGregor built his theory. In this section, we will reexamine the key
components of McGregor’s model: the modern work environment, Maslow’s hierarchy,
assumptions of creativity, whether or not managers can choose different management assumptions, and whether that choice alters a manager’s behavior.
The Nature of Work Perhaps the most important issue in assessing McGregor’s work since the publication of
THSE is the dramatic changes in the work environment. Theories of work must account for
such changes, as McGregor himself noted in 1960: “We live today in a world which only 245 246 Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory faintly resembles that of a half century ago. The standard of living, the level of education,
and the political complexion of the United States profoundly affect both the possibilities
and limitations of organizational behavior” (17). There are four aspects of work in America
that have changed: employees’ career paths, employees’ sense of job security, employees’
job satisfaction, and the degree to which employees prefer security to creativity.
Career Path Changes While employees in the 1960s could anticipate long careers following a given career path
under one or two employers, today’s workers face a fundamentally different environment.
Employees today expect to work for between four and seven different employers in their careers (Hart and Associates 1998). In a recent Shell Corporation survey, more than 52 percent
of the 1,100 employed adults surveyed expected to hold ﬁve or more jobs in their careers
(Hart and Associate...
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