McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

In 1960, Douglas McGregor reiterated the need for an understanding of the relation between behavior and motivation. He classified manager attitudes into two extremes termed Theory X and Theory Y. According to (Montana & Charnov, 2008) through his theories, McGregor believed that organization managers could motivate their employees through either Theory X or Theory Y. In his Theory X, which he termed as a traditional approach, McGregor asserted that in order for managers to motivate their employees, then they must threaten, coerce or control them. His alternative theory is the Theory Y, which suggests that people have the abilities to be responsible. The two theories have similarities and differences that make their applications distinct within organizations.

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Comparison and Contrast of McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

            The major similarity between Theories X and Y is based on their building principle that is based on motivation of employees. Theory X and Y were created based on the assumptions that manager had the ability to manipulate employee behavior through different motivational strategies regarded as theories X or Y. However, the major differences between the two theories occur with regards to the approach of managerial motivation of employees.

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            According to Theory X, it is assumed that employees dislike work and tend to avoid responsibilities, and as such they must be coerced for them to work hard. In contrast, Theory Y is based on the assumption that most employees can self-direct owing to the fact that they like work and seek for responsibilities (Leonard & Trusty, 2015). In addition, the two theories differ with regards to the extend in which the managers or supervisors view the motivations and abilities of the employees. The managers who are Theory-X oriented tend to have a limited view of the motivations and abilities of their employees. Such managers hold a strong believe that employees must be supervised closely, strictly controlled and motivation be based on money, authority and discipline (p. 266).          

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In contrast, Theory-Y holds a much higher and different opinion to the employee abilities. According to (Leonard & Trusty, 2015) the managers under this theoretical orientation are of the believe that if organization employees are provided with appropriate conditions together with implementation of necessary approaches, then they can exercise self-control and self-direction into achieving worthwhile objectives. The authors stress that the view needs the management to fits its objectives into each of the employee needs. In essence, Theory-X is rooted in the believe that the employee higher level of needs are critical to their self-development and personality.

The Applications of the Findings in Criminal Justice

            Douglas McGregor’s theories of motivation and personality have increasingly found their use in the criminal justice department as individual development tool. The criminal justice department is relatively new in the field of correction and face continuous scrutiny from law makers and social scientists. The main focus in these organizations is the treatment of offenders as humans rather than social liabilities (Cronkhite & Cronkhite, 2013). Owing to the nature of the work that is associated with the criminal justice department, the findings of the theories of motivation and human behavior and motivation are critical in achievement of success in correctional facilities.  

            The findings of McGregor’s Theory-Y can be of great use in the criminal justice system. There is increasing focus on the treatment of inmates as humans and Theory-Y which focuses on the development of human behavior by meeting the needs rather than through force and coercion is increasingly becoming invaluable in the criminal justice department.  Through Theory-Y inmates within the criminal justice can be motivated to reach the objectives of the correctional department through the recognition and development of individual inmate needs.

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The Applicability of the Theories on Current Day Employees

            As outlined earlier, the criminal justice department has been the center of focus owing to past issues that have affected the way inmates have been treated. Through adoption of human motivation and behavior oriented strategies, such as can be resolved. McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y can be applied to the criminal justice department to correct the management approach to management of employees as well as treatment of inmates. Theory Y can be applied as a motivational tool to help improve the productivity of employees through the provision of appropriate rewards.

How the Theories Benefit Criminal Justice Personnel and Organizations

McGregor’s theories can be used to enhance the professional confidence of the criminal justice personnel towards better work quality. According to (Allen & Sawhney, 2014) there is a general believe that police work requires professional satisfaction, personal motivation, self-pride and individual expectations. This is where the Theory Y comes into perspective to motivate and enhance the productivity among the personnel and within criminal justice department. An example on which McGregor’s theories have been employed is the Pulaski, Tennessee Police Department. Using the McGregor’s theories the managers in the Pulaski, Tennessee Police Department realized that something that glorified employees served as a powerful internal motivational force, in which the department capitalized for long-term and widespread organizational benefit.

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