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In the last century, various management theorists developed theories based on how they thought management viewed the workforce and how the workforce viewed the management. The management’s view of the workforce was based on the aspects such as the workforce’s level of intelligence, their motivation as well as the attitude they have towards work. The three theories brought up were theory ‘X ’, theory ‘Y’ and theory ‘Z’.
The view point of authoritative managers was used in developing the X theory. According to them, people have a natural inclination to dislike work; therefore, they have to be forced to work since they can do nothing on their own. Also, in this theory, average people can only be directed as they always avoid responsibilities. Average people have a deep desire for security, and they are not ambitious. For a manager with the above type of attitude, he or she can try to avoid generalizing the work force, since no group of individuals can fit perfectly to the above descriptions. If a manager thinks that a worker is lazy or has a poor attitude toward work, he can spend more time supervising that particular worker. A trustworthy, hardworking worker can be left to work under little or no supervision.
The Y theory depicts a management style that is participatory in nature; in that, the manager tries to give special attention to each member of the workforce and this enhance the performance. In this management approach, the manager’s assumptions are: work is natural and various people will work to attain goals if they deem them valuable. Employees are shown the work reward relationship but most importantly, the management takes keen interest in every employee. In this approach, workers accept as well as seek responsibilities; they are free to exercise their creativity at all level. Additionally, the level of trust between the workforce as well as the management is kept high. The management’s perception of employees is of considerable essence if a manager has the attitude shown in the Y theory; he or she trusts the employees and hence allows them to supervise themselves. The overall effect is that the worker’s performance is enhanced, and the supervisor can be involved creatively in another activity elsewhere. The management can also participate more on employees work and assume the role of mentoring and empowering the employees. This is another way in which the manager with Y attitude toward the workers can enhance their performance.
On the other hand, Theory Z describes how the workers view the management and how the management views the workers. It is a new theory, and a hybrid between the American and the Japanese theories. This theory focuses on combining what is best from the Y theory as well as the modern way of Japanese management. It contrasts sharply with the above theories in that a considerable amount of attention is given to employees and still focusing adequately on the management. A manager with Z attitude towards the employees will lay more trust on employees and posses an assumption that workers are more interested in teamwork in an organization. The manager will also encourage generalization as opposed to specialization, and most importantly, job rotation as well as broadening of workers skill. This attitude is satisfactory, but in the initial stages of setting goals in an organization, it is next to impossible to have all the workers involved in making the decision. The main goal of the organization is in most cases supposed to be communicated downward. At this level, it cannot be possible to allow the employees’ participation. Their participation as employees could be best utilized, if they are allowed to apply their knowledge and creativity in the best way to accomplish a task in their part. The managers can also take advantage of generalization since it discourages boredom, and encourage creativity. This can be extremely vital in improving performance in an organization.
In conclusion, the X theory is not workable in today’s world as it may infringe on workers right. Workers should be given their rights and coercing should be discouraged.
However, a thing or two can be borrowed from theory the X theory. With favorable balance, a blend of theory Y and Z theories can be used in a modern environment where workers are trusted and allowed to supervise themselves, and being allowed to participate in such ways as their abilities can allow.