Theory X

Under Theory X, a manager assumes that employees must be coerced to engage in work because they do not like it. This mindset leads managers to engage in detailed oversight of employees, constantly threatening them with punishment if they do not perform as told. A manager who subscribes to Theory X is more likely to use a comprehensive array of controls to oversee employee activities, which results in a relatively high cost structure for a business. In addition, decision making is concentrated at the top of the organization, with employees being given little opportunity to use their own initiative.

Today, the Theory X style of management is generally disregarded in favor of Theory Y, which assumes that employees are willing to take the initiative and so can be relied upon to make decisions. However, there are still situations involving tight deadlines where Theory X is used, to ensure that work results are completed on a timely basis.

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