The Conventional View–Theory X

 The conventional conception of management’s task in harnessing human energy to organizational requirements. According to McGregor’s theory Y has three (3) propositions that are

                     That management is responsible for organizing the elements of productive enterprise – money, materials, equipment , people in the interest of economic ends.


                     With respect to people, this is a process of directing their efforts motivating them, controlling their actions modifying their behaviour to fit the needs of the organization.


                     Without this active intervention by management, people would be passive, even resistant to organizational needs. They must therefore be persuaded, punished, controlled – thei r actions must be directed. This is the task management of getting things done through other people.


Behind this theory, there are several assumptions though less explicit, but widespread, nevertheless.


                     The average man is by nature indolent – he works as little as possible.


                     He lacks ambition, dislikes responsibility prefers to be led.


                     He is inherently self-centred, indifferent to organizations needs.


                     He is by nature resistant to change


                     He is gullible, not very bright.


Conventional organizational structures and management policies, practices and programmes reflect these assumptions.

 Using these assumptions as guides, management has tried two options to control and direct human behaviour – the hard and s oft approaches. The hard approach involves coercion and threat, close supervision, and tight controls over behaviour in the modern day Nigeria, such hard approaches will be exemplified by such act as locking out late-comers to the office, getting subordinates to obtain permission every time they go out of the office and ensuring that they return at a given time, issuing query for every slip made, meting out punishments such as written warnings, cut in salaries, suspensions and reductions in ranks.


The soft approach also entails listening to suggestions on work and work procedures made by subordinates, listening to staff and waiving punishment particularly on compassionate grounds.

In the final analysis the soft approach is all that gives the impression of weak leadership. Both the hard and soft approaches have met with difficulties.


In the hard approach, it has been found that force breeds counterforce in form of restriction of output, antagonism, militant, unionism subtle but effective sabotage of management objectives.


The soft approach leads frequently to abdication of management to indifferent performance. People take advantage of it, constantly expecting more but giving less and less.


Some try to tread the middle course by preaching the doctrine of “firm and fair” in an attempt to take advantage of both t he hard and soft approaches.

The New Theory of Management Theory X


McGregor says that the issue of managing people should be change, based on more adequate assumptions about human nature and human motivation. The broad dimension of such a theory is what is known as “Theory Y”.


The assumptions here include the following:


                     Management is responsible for organizing the elements of productive enterprise – money, materials, equipment , and people


– in the interest of economic ends.


                     Human beings by nature are not passive or resistant to organizational needs. They have become so as a result of experience in the organization.


                     The motivation, the potential for developing the capacity for assuming responsibility, the readiness to direct behaviour towards organizational goals, are all present in people. It is the responsibility of management to make it possible for people to recognize and develop these human characteristics for themselves.


                     The essential task of management is to arrange organizational conditions and methods of operation so that people can achieve their own goals best by directing their own efforts towards organizational objectives. 

This is a process primarily creating opportunities releasing potential, removing obstacles, encouraging growth and providing guidance, It does not involve the abdication of management, the absence of leadership, the lowering standards or the other characteristics usually associated with the soft approach under Theory X.

The Carrot -and- Stick Approach

The Carrot-and-Stick theory of motivation according to McGregor works under certain circumstances. The means for satisfying main physiological and safety needs can be provided or withheld by management. Employment itself is such a means and so are wages, working conditions, and benefits. By these means the individual can be controlled so long as he is struggling for subsistence.

But the carrot-and-stick theory does not work at all once man has reached an adequate level of subsistence and is motivated primarily by higher needs. Management cannot provide a man with self-respect or with the satisfaction of needs for self-fulfilment. It can create such conditions that he is encouraged and enabled to seek such satisfaction for himself, or it can thwart him by failing to create these conditions. However, the creation of conditions is not in control. It is not a good device for directing behaviour. And so management finds itself in an odd position. The high standard of living created by our modern technology provides guide adequately for the satisfaction of physiological and safety needs. But by making possible the satisfaction of low level needs, management has deprived itself of the ability to use as motivators the devices on which conventional theory has taught it, to rely i.e. Rewards, promises, incentives, or threats and other coercive devices.

 The philosophy of management by direction and control, regardless of whether it is hard or soft is inadequate to motivate because the human need on which this approach relies on today are unimportant motivators of behaviour. Direction and control are essentially useless in motivating people whose important needs are social or egoistic. Both the hard and soft approaches fail today because they are simply irrelevant to the situation.

 People deprived of opportunities, to satisfy at work, the needs which are most important to them behave exactly as we might predict – with indolence, passive resistance to change, lack of responsibility, unreasonable demands for economic benefits.

The Works of McClelland and Hertzberg

McClelland theory of motivation is a very significant motivational theory due to the research conducted on this area. This theory of motivation is based on three major motives:


                     The need for achievement and fear of failure


                     The need for power

                     The need for affiliation


Most of McClelland research and writing is based upon the need for achievement (n-arch)

 The main tenet of n-arch is that “it is said that t here are two basic types of people. There are those who strive for success and are challenged by opportunity and are willing to spare no effort inorder to attain a desired goal. There are also those who do not really care very much at all whether or not they are successful. So much has been the work on these that there exists a test used in assessing the achievement of NEED in people. One such test is known as the Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT).


The common characteristics of High N’Arch people are:


                     Setting goals that are moderately difficult to attain and pose a certain amount of challenge to their energy and resourcefulness. If goals are early achieved, they feel little sense of accomplishment.


                     People with high n-arch are attracted by work situations which allow them to take personal responsibility for goal achievement.


                     Concrete feedback on performance is essential for people with high n-arch, so that they know how well they are doing.


                     They are more ignited about their environments.


                     The final characteristics of individuals who have high needs for achievements are that they are more inclined to think spontaneously about how they might achieve this or that desired objective.


The work of Frederick Hertzberg is popular for propounding a two-factor theory of motivation – the hygiene factors a nd the motivator factors. Here is known for the word motivating with KITA.

(a)              Negative Physical Kita: This is a lateral application of theterm. Hertzberg notes that Negative Physical Kita has three drawbacks. It directs, and stimulates automatically the nervous system, it is not elegant and contrasts the benevolence image of the organization which often results in negative feed back.


(b)              Negative Psychological Kita: Rather than use physical force,Psychologists had advised for the use of psychology, by rights to make the punishment more painful. Those who practice it look like saints who would not physically hurt a fly but do more damage to the ‘ego than physical hurt. Hertzberg concludes discussion on negative Kita by saying that if you make someone do a piece of work by kicking him, you have “motiva ted”, but have moved him to doing something. Since negative Kita does not lead to motivation, he therefore posted for positive Kita.


(C)            Positive Kita: This is where a worker is motivated in a positivemanner by being rewarded maybe with promotion or overseas trip. 

The Works of Maslow and Victor Vroom


In 1943, Abraham Maslow presented a paper titled the theory of human motivation, where he stated that a person’s motivational needs could be arranged in a hierarchical order.


                     Physiological Needs: These are the basic human needs tosustain life such as food, clothing, and shelter. Until these basic needs are satisfied to the degree needed, needs for the sufficient operation of the body. But once the physiological needs have been satisfied, other levels of need become important.


          Safety or Security Needs:  These  needs  are   essentially  the

desire to be free from fear of physical danger and the deprivation


of  basic  physiological  needs.        There  is  a  need  for  self-

preservation and the concern for the future.


Here Maslow stressed emotional as well as physical safety.


                     Social or Affiliation Need: Social needs include the need tobelong and be accepted by people, this also means belongingness, acceptance and friendship. 

                     Esteem Needs: The esteem needs represents self-esteem andrecognition from others. The satisfaction of these needs produces feelings of self confidence prestige power and control. People begin to feel that they are useful and have some effect on their environment.


                     Self – Actualization: This is the need to maximize one’spotential, whatever it maybe.

 VROOM’s Expectancy Theory

In 1946 Victor Vroom the propounder of Expectancy theory of motivation defined motivation as a process governing choice among alternative forms of voluntary activity.


To understand the individual’s choice of voluntary activities, it is important to first appreciate certain concepts that are embedded in the expectancy theory. These concepts are:


                     Outcome: This is the result of doing a particular thing. Theoutcome can be first level or second level. The first level outcomes are the products of behaviour associated with doing the job such as productivity absenteeism, while the second level outcomes are the products of the first level outcome. This includes punishment and reward.


First level outcome of students includes attendance of lectures, studying and partaking in class assignment, while the second level outcome is success or failure in examination and ultimately first class or second class degree status.


                     Instrumentality: This is the individual’s perception or beliefthat the first level outcome is associated with the second level outcome. E.g. do student believe that hardwork can result in examination excellence. This belief or otherwise is what is known as instrumentality. Instrumentality ranges from 1 +0 + 1


I                   Instrumentality is the perception that attainment of second level outcome is certain without the first level outcome and that second level outcome is impossible with first level outcome.


+I        Instrumentality is the perception that first level outcome is necessary and sufficient for the second level outcome to occur.


          Instrumentality is the perception that there is no linkage between first level and second level outcome.


This is the preference for second level outcome. Among the second level outcomes which to them do the student prefer. Does the student desire an A B C D E or F score in the examination.

 An outcome is positively valent wheh it is preferred; it is negatively valent when the individual is indifferent to it.



This refers to the individual belief concerning the likelihood or subjective probability that a particular behaviour will be followed by a particular outcome. That is an exhibited behaviour can elicit a particular outcome. Expectancy ranges from 0 to + 1


O Expectancy:         This  implies  that  there  is  no  chance  of  the occurrence of an outcome after the behaviour.


+1 Expectancy:       This implies that the outcome will certainly follow the behaviour.


E-Force (M):           This  is  equalled  to  motivation.   The  intent  of expectancy theory is to assess the magnitude and direction of all the forces acting on the individual.

The act associated with the greatest force is most likely to occur.


F-Ability (A):           This refers to a person’s potential for doing a job.


Ability could be physical or mental.

Source National Open University of Nigeria

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