What are your assumptions (implicit as well as explicit) about the most effective way to manage people?
So began Douglas McGregor in this 1960 management classic. It was a seemingly simple question he asked, yet it led to a fundamental revolution in management. Today, with the rise of the global economy, the information revolution, and the growth of knowledge-driven work, McGregor’s simple but provocative question continues to resonate-perhaps more powerfully than ever before.
Heralded as one of the most important pieces of management literature ever written, a touchstone for scholars and a handbook for practitioners, The Human Side of Enterprise continues to receive the highest accolades nearly half a century after its initial publication. Influencing such major management gurus such as Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, McGregor’s revolutionary Theory Y-which contends that individuals are self-motivated and self-directed-and Theory X-in which employees must be commanded and controlled-has been widely taught in business schools, industrial relations schools, psychology departments, and professional development seminars for over four decades.
Now more than ever, the timeless wisdom of Douglas McGregor can light the path towards a management style that nurtures leadership capability, creates effective teams, ensures internal alignment, achieves high performance, and cultivates an authentic, value-driven workplace–lessons we all need to learn as we make our way in this brave new world of the 21st century.