Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The concept of management style was introduced in Lecture 3 where Theory X, Theory Y and Theory Z styles were mentioned but not defined. Now we define and contrast them in hopes that the advantages of the Theory Z style are made clear. This lecture is short but the concepts are fundamental so do the exercise carefully. Much of the material in this brief lecture is shamelessly borrowed from Management in Action by William Hitt, See page 12.
Management styles can be grouped by the two parameters that measure a manager’s concern for productivity and for people. A convenient way to examine Theory X, Y, L and Z managers is to compare their concerns for people and productivity as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3 Two Measures of Managers’ Style are Their Concerns for Productivity and for People
Few managers fit in the same box all the time and for all situations but examining managers with this simple approach is instructive. The Theory L manager doesn’t need discussion as it should be obvious that a manager that has little concern for either people or productivity isn’t an effective manager. A simple view of Theory X managers is that they believe workers:
• Are lazy
• Must be controlled and punished when things go wrong
• Prefer to be directed
In contrast Theory Y managers believe workers:
• Accept and seek responsibility
• Will exercise self-direction and self-control
• Have intellectual potentialities only partially utilized
Is either of these theories all right or all wrong? No, in fact a few workers do fit the Theory X manger’s views. However, ~95% of workers closer fit theory Y manager’s view and if saddled with a Theory X manager are likely to respond with low effectiveness (even though their productivity may appear acceptable) because their needs for safety, belongingness and self-esteem aren’t being addressed. They may even change jobs, if that option is available. This leaves the Theory X manager with more and more workers that fit the 5% description, thereby making this manager’s organization less and less effective over time.
A problem with Theory Y managers is that most workers, while fitting the Theory Y expectations in general, need leadership to perform at the level of their capability. The Theory Y manager’s lack of focus on objectives allows his people to underperform.
According to Hitt Theory Z managers have as much focus on productivity as Theory X managers but Theory Z managers believe teamwork is essential to productivity and therefore their beliefs are:
• People are basically good
• Treat people as persons, not objects
• People are “works in process”, not static
• Value individual differences
• Value the individual as a whole person
• Prize openness and honesty
These beliefs lead Theory Z managers to:
• Foster trust
• Deal with differences of viewpoints
• Take planned risks with people
• Emphasize cooperation
Thinking back to the previous lecture we see that the behavior of a Theory Z manager helps workers move from left to right on Maslow’s hierarchy because their needs for safety, belongingness and self-esteem are being addressed. In time a Theory Z manager’s trust in people results in a returned trust in the manager. When mutual trust is achieved the workers are ready for being empowered by the manager to have more and more control over their work processes. If the workers are properly trained for their jobs and in process improvements techniques they can handle empowerment properly. Empowerment facilitates self-actualization and results in the highly motivated workforce needed for a highly productive organization.
If you are familiar with well know business leaders of the past 25 years answer the following questions. If not, Google the managers mentioned below to see if you can learn their styles (X, Y, L, or Z) before answering the questions.
1. Where would you classify Jack Welch in the ‘70’s & 80’s? in the ‘90’s?
2. What personnel practice of Jack Welch resulted in high organizational effectiveness but introduced competition between employees that limited the effectiveness from being as high as it could have been?
3. Where would you classify the infamous Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap?
4. Where is your boss?
5. Where are you?
6. Where would you like to be?
7. What actions should you take to get to where you would like to be?
8. Compare these steps to the draft plan you prepared in the previous exercise and modify your plan as you believe necessary.
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