Douglas Mc Gregor’s Human Side Of Enterprise

1579 words - 6 pages

The purpose of this paper is to critique Douglas McGregor’s The Human Side of Enterprise, including other expert perspectives and its relevance in today’s organizations. Douglas McGregor’s opening statement in The Human Side of Enterprise, implies that industry in the 1950’s has been able to successfully utilize physical science and technology for the benefit of mankind, but has yet to incorporate the social sciences to positively affect the human organizations (Natemeyer & McMahon, 2001). In 1957, McGregor suggested that the social sciences may possibly be as cutting edge to human organizations as atomic energy was to the physical sciences (Natemeyer & McMahon, 2001). Based on his academic background in psychology, coupled with his profession experiences in multiple facets of industry, McGregor was in a position to propose a ground breaking concept of management in the workplace. According to a book review by Eileen Kelly (2000), McGregor left an indelible impression of the American business landscape and on management thought with his Theory X and Theory Y. Interestingly enough, the aforementioned book review was done on a book called Douglas McGregor, Revisited: Managing the Human Side of the Enterprise that was published in 2000, which highlights the fact that McGregor’s work is still relevant and worth revisiting and reviewing over forty years after it was published.
In order to understand McGregor’s proposed theory to management that incorporates the social sciences, called Theory Y, it is imperative to understand what he refers to as the conventional view, or “Theory X”. McGregor explained that Theory X’s conventional managerial assumptions are that employees are lazy, incapable of self-direction and autonomous work behavior, and have little to offer in terms of organizational problem solving (Kopelman et al, 2008). According to McGregor, “conventional organization structures and managerial policies, practices, and programs reflect these assumptions” (Natemeyer & McMahon, 2001). McGregor understood that the observed human behavior in industrial organizations may indicate such negative assumptions about the nature of man, but he argues that this observed behavior is more of a consequence of the nature of industrial organizations management philosophy, policy and practice (Natemeyer & McMahon, 2001). In an attempt to validate his ideas about why these negative assumptions about man may be wrong and perhaps a consequence of the industrial environment of his day, he introduced a social science concept pertaining to human motivation. McGregor was fascinated with the concept of workplace motivation; he wanted to know what motivated a person to work hard and what managers could do to encourage employee motivation (Bobic & Davis, 2003).
McGregor’s approach to human motivation was greatly influenced by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Kelly, 2000). McGregor simply stated, “Man is a wanting animal – as soon as one of his needs...

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