Theory X Theory Y (McGregor)
Theory Z (Ouchi)

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Hard or Soft Management? Explanation of Theory X Theory Y of McGregor. ('60). Explanation of Theory Z by William Ouchi. ('81)

What is Theory X and Y? Description

Douglas McGregor, an American social psychologist, proposed his famous Theory X and Theory Y models in his book 'The Human Side Of Enterprise' (1960).


Theory X

Theory Y


Humans inherently dislike working and will try to avoid it if they can. People view work as being as natural as play and rest. Humans expend the same amount of physical and mental effort in their work as in their private lives.
  Because people dislike work they have to be coerced or controlled by management and threatened so they work hard enough. Provided people are motivated, they will be self-directing to the aims of the organization. Control and punishment are not the only mechanisms to let people perform.
  Average employees want to be directed. Job satisfaction is key to engaging employees and ensuring their commitment.
  People don't like responsibility. People learn to accept responsibility and seek responsibility. Average humans, under the proper conditions, will not only accept, but even naturally seek responsibility.
  Average humans are clear and unambiguous and want to feel secure at work. People are imaginative and creative. Their ingenuity should be used to solve problems at work.


Shop Floor, Mass Manufacturing. Production workers. Professional Services, Knowledge Workers. Managers and Professionals.

Conducive to

Large scale efficient operations. Management of Professionals, Participative Complex Problem Solving.

Management Style

Authoritarian, Hard Management. Participative, Soft Management.

McGregor sees Theory Y as the preferable model and management method, however he thought Theory Y was difficult to use in large-scale operations.

Theory Z - Ouchi

In 1981, William Ouchi came up with a variant that combined American and Japanese management practices together to form Theory Z, having the following characteristics: long-term employment - collective decision-making - individual responsibility - slow evaluation & promotion - implicit, informal control with explicit, formalized measures - moderately specialized career paths - and a holistic concern for the employee, including family.

Special Interest Group - Theory X Theory Y Theory Z

Special Interest Group (568 members)

Forum - Theory X Theory Y Theory Z  

In the forum section you will find recent discussions within this knowledge area.

  Decision-making Method in Complex / Conflict Situations (1 reactions)
Game theory is the decision making skills in conflict situa...
  Work Ethic: Most employees want to work (1 reactions)
I believe that most employees want to work. There will alway...
  Influence of Culture on Theory X & Y (1 reactions)
I think application of theory x and y also depends on the cu...
  Growing from Theory X to Z to Y (1 reactions)
- Theory X naturally comes to play at the inceptio...
  Theory X and Theory Y: Administration vs. Management (4 reactions)
From what can be seen in the summary, in my opinion we can m...
  Theory Y is a Farce in Practice (1 reactions)
I personally do not have much faith that theory Y is real in...
  Theory Z Explanation (0 reactions)
Explain the Theory Z in brief as by little explanation its d...
  Theory X will Always Prevail Cecause it is Innate in Man (1 reactions)
As long as an individual or group of individuals exists, The...
  Job Requirements Influence X or Y (0 reactions)
Theory X and Y are dependent on the job requirements ...
  Contribution for Today? (0 reactions)
What is the relevance of theory X and Y theory Z to modern m...
  Why Participative Management is Needed in Today's High Tech World (0 reactions)
Managing in today's organization is very complex due to the ...
  It's Time for Theory Z (2 reactions)
Long term employment may be seen as security of tenure. Seve...
  In Practice you Need to Combine Theories (5 reactions)
It is not possible to put just one theory into practise with...
  The Role of Favoritism in Recruitment (4 reactions)
Theory X and Theory Y are dependent too on recruitment and s...
  Individual Backgrounds (0 reactions)
Theory Y states an ideal way on how people should work and i...
  The Role of Empowerment (8 reactions)
We will always have X & Y type of people. What can make an X...
  Contigency Management Principle (1 reactions)
Theory Y and theory X metamorphose into the  
  McGregor's XY Model is not a Model For Action (2 reactions)
The real Theory Z is that people don't understand that this ...
  Dress Code, Bold Voice, Self Confidence and Motivation Power (0 reactions)
Whenever you try to guide someone, following three leader...
  Theory U: The origin of leadership is irrelevant (0 reactions)
Individuals at the top, middle, and bottom of the organizati...
  Applying Theory Z in Practice (1 reactions)
People with enough motivation and empowerment do not need to...
  Role of Perception and Turbulence (0 reactions)
Theory X, Theory Y and Theory Z bring to mind the role of pe...
  Theory X and Y in Nigeria (0 reactions)
What are real life situations or applications of theory X an...
  Theory X, Y and Z in Government Organizations (0 reactions)
HI. I'd like to know your thoughts on Theories X, Y and Z (M...
  Threatening Workers does not Work (0 reactions)
Workers are suppose to be motivated and not be threatened li...
  No Prototypical Behavior (0 reactions)
I personally do not believe in prototypical behavior....

Best Practices - Theory X Theory Y Theory Z

In the best practices section you will find the best forum discussions within this knowledge area.

  Theory Z is Rare but Growing (2 reactions)
Spiral Dynamics & Personal & Corporate Values Journey resear...
  Theory X and Theory Y (1 reactions)
In 9 out of 10 cases, the employer or leader determines the ...
  Applying Theory XY in Practice (9 reactions)
These motivational theories are excellent. However, how can ...

Expert Tips - Theory X Theory Y Theory Z

In the expert tips section you will find advices from experts within this knowledge area.


Self-fulfilling Prophesies

Further information...

LEADER: Best Practices for Effective Leadership Behavior

Leadership Behavior, Leadership Effectiveness, Leadership Style...

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Organizational Commitment, Employee Motivation, Non-profit Organizations...

Theory X problem


Resources - Theory X Theory Y Theory Z

In the Resources section you will find powerpoint presentations, micro-learning videos, articles, news items, etc. within this knowledge area.

How to Become a Master Manager?

Introduction to Managing People. Know Thyself...

Human Motivation

Motivating Employees...

Theory X Management Style

Introduction to Motivation, Workshops, Trainings...

Young Steve Jobs on the Role of Managers

Management, Leadership, Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, Talent Development...

The X Model of Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement, Organizational Commitment, Amployee Attitude...

How to Achieve Employee Engagement

Employee Empowerment, Employee Participation, Participative Management, Participative Leadership...

News about Theory Mcgregor


News about Theory Ouchi


Videos about Theory Mcgregor


Videos about Theory Ouchi


Presentations about Theory Mcgregor


Presentations about Theory Ouchi


Books about Theory Mcgregor


Books about Theory Ouchi


More about Theory Mcgregor


More about Theory Ouchi


Compare with Theory X Theory Y:  Leadership Styles  |  Managerial Grid  |  Leadership Continuum  |  Situational Leadership  |  Bases of Social Power  |  EPIC ADVISERS  |  Hierarchy of Needs  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Hawthorne Effect  |  ERG Theory  |  Herzberg Two Factor Theory  |  Change Management  |  Seven Surprises  |  Seven Habits  |  Eight Attributes of Management Excellence  |  Five Disciplines  |  Ten Principles of Reinvention  |  Fourteen Points of Management  |  Charismatic Leadership  |  Theory of Needs

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