3. Without this active intervention by management, people would be passive-even resistant-to organizational needs. They must therefore be persuaded, rewarded, punished, and controlled. Their activities must be directed. Management's task was thus simply getting things done through other people. According to McGregor, these tenets of management are based on less explicit assumptions about human nature. The first of these assumptions is that individuals do not like to work and will avoid it if possible. A further assumption is that human beings do not want responsibility and desire explicit direction. Additionally, individuals are assumed to put their individual concerns above that of the organization for which they work and to resist change, valuing security more than other considerations
at work. Finally, human beings are assumed to be easily manipulated and controlled. McGregor contended that both the classical and human relations approaches to management depended this same set of assumptions. He called the first style of management "hard" and identified its methods as close supervision, tight controls, and coercion. The hard style of management led to restriction of output, mutual distrust, unionism, and even sabotage. McGregor called the second style of management "soft" and identified its methods as permissiveness and need satisfaction. McGregor suggested that the soft style of management often led to managers' failure to perform their managerial role. He also pointed out that employees often take advantage of an overly permissive manager by demanding more but performing at lower levels. McGregor drew upon the work of Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) to explain why Theory X assumptions led to ineffective management. Maslow had proposed that man's needs are arranged in levels, with physical and safety needs at the bottom of the needs hierarchy and social, ego, and self- actualization needs at upper levels of the hierarchy. Maslow's basic point was that once a need is met, it no longer motivates behavior; thus, only unmet needs are motivational. McGregor argued that most employees already had their physical and safety needs met and that the motivational emphasis had shifted to the social, ego, and self-actualization needs. Therefore, management had to provide opportunities for these upper-level needs to be met in the workplace, or employees would not be satisfied or motivated in their jobs. Such opportunities could be provided by allowing employees to participate in decision making, by redesigning jobs to make them more challenging, or by emphasizing good work group relations, among other things. According to McGregor, neither the hard style of management based on the classical school nor the soft style of management inspired by the human relations movement were
sufficient to motivate employees. Thus, he proposed a different set of assumptions about human nature as it pertains to the workplace.
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- Management, Douglas McGregor