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View Poll Results: Which style of management and view of human nature would you like to see prevail?

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  • Theory X (Please explain)

    1 14.29%
  • Theory Y (Please explain)

    5 71.43%
  • neither (This can mean a lot of things. Please explain)

    1 14.29%
  • both (This seems confusing. Please explain)

    0 0%
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  1. #1

    Default Which style of management and view of human nature would you like to see prevail?

    Theory X or Theory Y? Why did you answer the way you did? Poll will be public, so that people are more inclined to explain themselves and spark discussion.

    Also, to me, the management theory holds within it a view of human nature, and perhaps inherently a view of oneself as manager with respect to other human beings. Do you have further thoughts on that?

    Theory X
    In this theory, which has been proven counter effective in most modern practice, management assumes employees are inherently lazy and will avoid work if they can and that they inherently dislike work. As a result of this, management believes that workers need to be closely supervised and comprehensive systems of controls developed. A hierarchical structure is needed with narrow span of control at each and every level. According to this theory, employees will show little ambition without an enticing incentive program and will avoid responsibility whenever they can. According to Michael J. Papa, if the organizational goals are to be met, theory X managers rely heavily on threat and coercion to gain their employees' compliance. Beliefs of this theory lead to mistrust, highly restrictive supervision, and a punitive atmosphere. The Theory X manager tends to believe that everything must end in blaming someone. He or she thinks all prospective employees are only out for themselves. Usually these managers feel the sole purpose of the employee's interest in the job is money. They will blame the person first in most situations, without questioning whether it may be the system, policy, or lack of training that deserves the blame. A Theory X manager believes that his or her employees do not really want to work, that they would rather avoid responsibility and that it is the manager's job to structure the work and energize the employee. One major flaw of this management style is it is much more likely to cause diseconomies of scale in large businesses.
    Theory Y
    In this theory, management assumes employees may be ambitious and self-motivated and exercise self-control. It is believed that employees enjoy their mental and physical work duties. According to them work is as natural as play[1]. They possess the ability for creative problem solving, but their talents are underused in most organizations. Given the proper conditions, theory Y managers believe that employees will learn to seek out and accept responsibility and to exercise self-control and self-direction in accomplishing objectives to which they are committed. A Theory Y manager believes that, given the right conditions, most people will want to do well at work. They believe that the satisfaction of doing a good job is a strong motivation. Many people interpret Theory Y as a positive set of beliefs about workers. A close reading of The Human Side of Enterprise reveals that McGregor simply argues for managers to be open to a more positive view of workers and the possibilities that this creates. He thinks that Theory Y managers are more likely than Theory X managers to develop the climate of trust with employees that is required for human resource development. It's human resource development that is a crucial aspect of any organization. This would include managers communicating openly with subordinates, minimizing the difference between superior-subordinate relationships, creating a comfortable environment in which subordinates can develop and use their abilities. This climate would the sharing of decision making so that subordinates have say in decisions that influence them.
    I posted this in politics, rather than philosophy, because:
    1) The topic has to do with what you would in reality like to see happen.
    2) The topic seems a bit relevant to things like executive pay, and who people consider "victims", and other such things.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I'm absolutely in favour of Y, I believe that human nature is possibly between each of these polar points of X and Y but even at that only because culture and society has had a distorting effect upon what I consider to be naturally productive, reponsible and relating drives with everyone.

    The workplace which is X has been a workplace which has suffered more from entropy than workplace Y, although I do believe that X serves the propaganda objectives of certain managers and types of managers too.

    Accepting it and then accepting the sorts of management which goes along with it is inherently anti-democratic and authoritarian, it means that lousy individuals can trade on the supposed incompetence of subordinates to excuse failure and under productivity, the work force itself will be stifled and become preoccupied with trying to accurately read and predict their superiors intentions, needs, desires instead of getting the job done, showing any initiative or being able to perform autonomously, ironically things the managers can then put them on report for by way of a further more defensive/hostile managerial practice.

    Personally I believe these patterns of management have ramifications beyond the workplace, they poison people, its not a wonder when these are the prevailing norms within the environments were people spend the majority of their time that there is then apathy, neglect, abuse or shirking of just about any and every other duty they may possess, as parents, citizens, neighbours, tax payers, people.

  3. #3
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Oh god, I voted for X but I really meant Y.

    Anyway, of course Y - however, I´ve seen many "low-level" jobs where X seems to prevail for a combination of factors which seem to be hard to change - firstly, the repetitivness of the jobs makes it hard to have a consistent high performance. Secondly and unfortunately, those jobs seem to attract a segment of the population which lacks self-motivation, and thus needs constant supervision in order to perform. I am by no means saying that this lack of self motivation is inborn or unchangeable, but I find it to be the prevailing "culture" when I had to work there (as a student).
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  4. #4
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Neither X or Y, but I would say a lot more Y over X.

    I don't remember who did the study (it might be Google since they often do what I am about to explain) is that if you allow your employees even with just a few hours to do what they want, many of them will return back to work doing a lot better than if you'd continue forcing them to work. Some of these people may even come up with nifty experiments/projects for the company to use. The amount of pay may also have some effect, the less your workers are made to feel completely stressed out, the better. This means that if you can help them even slightly when it comes to something like medical, or perks like free employee food, it goes a long way to your employee having more time to think about work. That brings me to my next point...

    Although, minimum wage jobs are a different story. I guess it is because a person's dignity isn't as left intact. People are made to feel like, for a lack of a better term, shit. I mean (forgive me for interjecting this,) the fact that people like Romney believe that people who work such jobs are inherently lazy is a big misconception. With the amount of work added on top of small pay and not enough resources to pull into other areas that need to be pulled into, I can see why people get cranky at the thought that people would consider them lazy. Most of these people would probably be happy to get away from government dependence because it is one less thing to think about.

    On a side note, I posted a few flyers around my campus begging the question of why it was easier to believe that ~150m people were lazy instead of just the top 500 people being inherently greedy with no significant care for their workers. I had 1 person reply to that flyer with a handwritten(but biting) message of his/her own. A day after the flyer and that handwritten message was put up, another person went to that spot and shredded the handwritten piece of paper and left it scattered on the ground. As for my flyer? It was left intact and unscathed. Neither the Republicans, nor Democrats on campus touched the flyer.

    Edit: Correction from 1.5m to 150m

  5. #5
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Y for sure.

    It's why the guy who runs Valve is a personal hero of mine.

  6. #6

    Default

    I really want to vote Y but I have seen enough people that X was a better fit for. It feels like there is a bit of bullshit consultant type banter to the theory. Some people are self motivated, some people are not.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    The descriptions make X sound pretty bad...but essentially it's incentive and punishment - it doesn't HAVE to be cruel. Y is creativity and for esteem in one's work.

    But I don't see a problem with having a well run X. If people do the job well, they get incentives. As a worker, having my own sense of esteem in doing a good job is important to me in large part because I just like performing well, I think that process makes me a better person, it doesn't have to be reinforced by the environment but that's nice. I'm ok with a clear job description, and good incentives (aka $). Excessive punishment and distrust isn't a good thing ever. Supposedly that's more likely to happen in X and that is probably true, but I don't think it must be done like that. Simply: you don't do a good job, you don't get paid as much. You keep doing a bad job, you get fired.

    I don't really understand what the key differences are here.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  8. #8
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    The descriptions make X sound pretty bad...but essentially it's incentive and punishment - it doesn't HAVE to be cruel. Y is creativity and for esteem in one's work.

    But I don't see a problem with having a well run X. If people do the job well, they get incentives. As a worker, having my own sense of esteem in doing a good job is important to me in large part because I just like performing well, I think that process makes me a better person, it doesn't have to be reinforced by the environment but that's nice. I'm ok with a clear job description, and good incentives (aka $). Excessive punishment and distrust isn't a good thing ever. Supposedly that's more likely to happen in X and that is probably true, but I don't think it must be done like that. Simply: you don't do a good job, you don't get paid as much. You keep doing a bad job, you get fired.

    I don't really understand what the key differences are here.
    The difference is in expectations. In X, the expectations are lower than in Y. And we've seen over and over that people will behave as they are expected to behave. In other words, there would be less "time theft" at work, for instance, if employees weren't treated as though they're guilty of it already.

    The only argument I could see working in favor of X is one in which the type of work is cited as fundamentally degrading in some way that makes Y impossible.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    The difference is in expectations. In X, the expectations are lower than in Y. And we've seen over and over that people will behave as they are expected to behave. In other words, there would be less "time theft" at work, for instance, if employees weren't treated as though they're guilty of it already.

    The only argument I could see working in favor of X is one in which the type of work is cited as fundamentally degrading in some way that makes Y impossible.
    I see the expectation difference, and i see (and believe) how that relates to performance.

    They just seemed to mix in some factors of power structure, esteem, and incentive in a way which I don't know if they really add up (or what they are suggesting entirely), but this comparison (as presented) is pretty slanted.

    I prefer Y (even suggested I have traits of Y) but I was unclear about incentives in the second one because they weren't mentioned, instead workers just wanted to do a good job. Which is nice, but I still want to know what my incentives are, because at some point, I need money.

    That wiki article could use some editing.

    This all seems like a dressed up way of saying "don't be a repressive and suspicious control freak and your workers will work better and be happier." Which I guess is true sometimes. Other times you can be a repressive and suspicious control freak and your workers will stop slacking off and generally maintain the same bad attitude as before.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    I really want to vote Y but I have seen enough people that X was a better fit for. It feels like there is a bit of bullshit consultant type banter to the theory. Some people are self motivated, some people are not.
    But which are channelling the truer version of human nature?

    I've encountered some serious management bullshit in my day and this isnt even close, can I ask you, if X is a "better fit" should it be an option? As near as is possible I really think people should be exposed as often as possible to life with the training wheels off, working lives are life, for most people the majority of their life.

    Part of why I hate the fact that personal responsibility has become a trojan horse for right wingers seeking to protect their privileges from meritocratic underdogs is that it IS a seriously good idea.

    While it is a concept abused in order to draft in further restrictions on educational opportunities in the UK, pricing working people out of universities, restricting the amount of times exams can be sat by school leavers etc. in a better world were the way is totally unobstructed for those who are prepared and self-motivated surely it would be less and less easy for slackers to complain they're a victim of circumstances?

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