Unformatted text preview: draft. We would
also like to thank Dr. Bob Cunningham (University of Tennessee at Knoxville), Mike Berheide (Berea College), and
Bob Berman (Marshall University) for their support and inspiration. All errors are solely those of the authors.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 239 –264
© 2003 Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. 240 Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory If man is not what conventional organizational theory assumes him to be,
then much of the organization planning carried on within the framework of
that theory is nothing more than a game of logic.
—Douglas McGregor, quoted in Warren Bennis,
Edgar H. Schein, and Caroline McGregor, Douglas McGregor,
Revisited: Managing the Human Side of Enterprise In 1960, Douglas McGregor published The Human Side of Enterprise (THSE), fundamentally altering the course of management theory. McGregor’s perspective was that
management was more than simply giving orders and coercing obedience; it was a careful
balancing of the needs of the organization with the needs of individuals (McGregor 1960,
53–55; Bennis, Heil, and Stephens 2000, 87). He deﬁned these individual needs through
psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Bennis, Heil, and Stephens 2000, 129).
At the time of McGregor’s writings, social scientists were ﬁnding a great deal of support for
Maslow’s arguments (McGregor 1960, 36). By applying the idea of a hierarchy of needs to
the work environment of the mid- and late 1950s, McGregor offered a new theory of management that promised to unlock the creative potential of the American workforce and bring
about a new era of management theory and practice.
In the forty-three years since the publication of THSE, three core elements of McGregor’s theory have undergone substantial erosion. First, many workers today ﬁnd themselves in an environment that inspires neither satisfaction nor job loyalty (Bennis, Heil, and
Stephens 2000, 12); second, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory has more critics than supporters; and, ﬁnally, research on human motivation no l...
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