Sorry Mr. McGregor! We misunderstood you.

Text books are usually expected to give theories as accurately as possible, so that they can inspire learners to establish connection to reality and explore more applications of those theories. Usually, I don’t find many good text books. They are often put into standard templates, offer standard definitions which in my view make the thinking process insipid, and even more often I find the authors of text book promoting certain theories as better or worse with unsubstantiated logic. That is to simply say, I find that most text books don’t serve their intended purpose. So, when students ask me which text book they have to read to prepare for the exams, I have a big trouble going against my feelings and recommending them ‘some’ book. Instead, I prefer asking them to explore, and the result is inevitable–their feedback on my teaching takes a deep dive, and I become a Villain.

Anyway, our stargatherer asked me recently to offer some commentary on the motivational theory called ‘Theory X and Theory Y’ which is credited to Douglas McGregor. I am not sure whether to call this theory popular or unpopular, because it finds place in most text books that deal with human behaviour and motivation; and from what I hear of it, and myself thought of it earlier, it is the most useless theory there can be. After all, which manager in the world would be so clear to see his employees as those who ‘dislike work‘ and/or ‘feel that work is natural‘. If you are unaware of what it is, read from below how the book Organizational Behaviour by Stephen Robbins explains it.

theoryx and y obrobbins

Half-Page Explanation from Organizational Behaviour by Stephen Robbins

Since I was about to comment on it, I thought I should know more about this theory than this half-page that the text book offers. So, after a three-hour struggle wading through the same content offered from dozens of links, my good fortune took me to the Digital Library of India website. I found that the original book by McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise, published in 1960 was available. My guess at this point was that not many current teachers also would have laid their eyes on this book. I began reading the book–and I have put my observations from the book on a Prezi (Click Here).

Just to sum it up, I figured that a theory that is vastly explained in 240-pages, first of all, cannot be reduced to half-page meaningfully. As difficult as it might be, the effort of summarizing McGregor’s views, whatever the book by Robbins indicated turns out to be incorrect in my view.

PS: I wish I could embed the Prezi I made into this post. But it was only after making the Prezi that I discovered that does not support embedding iFrames. By the way, this is my first Prezi. I will make better ones from now.


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