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motivated by the work itself rather than assuming workers are only inter-
ested in money. The belief that extrinsic factors motivate workers requires
management to continually up the ante with increasingly better pay and
benefits to get results. During times of economic trouble when added sal-
ary and benefits aren't available, in organizations that use money as a
motivator, lack of salary increases can precipitate reduced job satisfaction.
Theories X, Y, and Z
Theory X and Y
McGregor (1960) suggested that the use of incentives to motivate workers
could best be understood by the leadership style of an organization's man-
agers and suggested two distinct types of leadership styles: Theory X and
Theory Y. The Theory X leadership style is very authoritarian and assumes
that workers are largely lazy, lacking in motivation, require a high level of
supervision to make certain the work gets done, and require substantial sal-
ary and benefit incentives to work hard. On the other hand, the Theory Y
leadership style assumes that employees are driven, ambitious, and want to
accept larger roles within the organization. This leadership style encourages
creativity in the workforce based on the belief that productivity increases
when employees have the opportunity to face new work-related challenges.
This leadership style is often found in workplaces that prize employees who
think and use their creative abilities over those who can simply repeat a task.
Under Theory X, the leadership style is likely to be autocratic, which may
create resistance on the part of workers. Communication flow is downward
from manager to the subordinates. Theory Y leadership styles value worker
participation and empowerment which, it is hoped, will result in workers
seeking more responsibility and commitment to organizational goals.
Theory X has been criticized for being out of touch with workers
who have been socialized by a society that values participation and resents
punitive practices like the carrot and stick approach used in Theory X
(the carrot if you do what you're told to do and the stick if you don't).
Theory Y has been criticized because, in the hands of a less than compe-
tent manager, it can become chaotic with lines of authority so unclear
that nothing gets done. An additional criticism of Theory Y is that it is
nothing more than a subtle form of manipulation with management giv-
ing workers the illusion of having freedom when actually they don't.
Without shared economic benefits for their productivity then, goes the
criticism, workers have simply been manipulated into working harder for
limited economic benefits.
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