McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and the Hawthorne Studies

Douglas McGregor’s theory X and theory Y are based on human supervision and motivation. The two theories define two conflicting models of motivation of employees that are applied by various human resource managers. With reference to the two models, different administrative styles are formed from the two contrasting sets of general expectations of how employees are motivated (Petri & Govern, 2013). Theory X focuses on the significance of strict administration, fines and external prizes while theory Y focuses on the role of job satisfaction and encouraging employees to approach tasks with less supervision.

Another theory of human motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in which Maslow was of the view that people need to be motivated in order to realize achievement of certain needs, and that the moment a person fulfills his/her need, he/she begins seeking fulfilment of the next one.  Therefore, the need to fulfill each need becomes stronger the longer the period of denial or not achieving the desired need. The theory is represented in a pyramid model with five basic levels of hierarchical needs. The lowest needs in the pyramid are the biological needs which include air, food, shelter and warmth (Maslow, 2013). The next are the safety needs, followed by love and belongings, self-esteem, and finally the level of self-actualization. The theory emphasizes that one must strive to achieve satisfaction of basic needs at a lower level before continuing to fulfill higher levels like self-esteem and self-actualization.

Another aspect that contributes to human motivations in the society is Hawthorne Studies, which were done with the main aim of finding out if employees were more responsive and productive under specific environmental conditions like better lightings and clean environments. The results showed that employees were indeed more responsive to social factors (Petri & Govern, 2012). The studies showed that employee performances are dependent on social factors, while financial factors and good working environments are less essential in improving their productivity, but rather tries to help one meet individuals needs and the desires to belong to specific group and status in the society.

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