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Your Attitude Is Showing: A Primer of Human Relations, Tenth Edition by Elwood N. Chapman, Sharon Lund O’Neil

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Supervisory Styles

You may hear your supervisor or a college professor discuss Theory X and Theory Y, what Douglas McGregor identified as assumptions that mold behavior. What are they?

  • Theory X (representing a more structured climate) supports management by control. It states that the worker should be directed and controlled in order to achieve high productivity. A basic assumption is that most employees are not self-motivated. Leaders with a Theory X orientation often reach consistently high productivity levels in their departments. They also have the reputation of doing an excellent job in training their employees.

  • Theory Y (representing a more democratic/permissive climate) encourages participative management. It states that workers will ...

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