Management Theories: Theory X, Motivation-Hygiene Similarity & Difference

          In any kind of an organization, there needs to be certain resources that must be utilized in order for the goals of the entity to be attained. Precisely, resources like finance, good management, and effective decision-making ought to be available for success to be achieved (NetMBA, 2011). Of all the necessary elements or resources required by a company, human capital stands out to be one of the most significant considering that without employees no meaningful activities can take place. It is against this background that many management theories have been created proposing ways that can be used to manage staff members for increased productivity (Changing Minds, 2011). Many theories have separate assumptions about the psychological perception of people or employees thus tend to develop management solutions based on the said assumptions. In this regard, this article aims at discussing the similarities and differences of two management theories, theory Y and the motivation-hygiene theory.

Motivation-Hygiene Theory

          The motivation-hygiene theory was initially proposed by Frederick Herzberg after he had carried out extensive research on the elements that contribute to either satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Generally, the motivation-hygiene theory suggests that there are specific factors that result satisfaction of employees when used in an organization thus enhancing their productivity and overall performance (Changing Minds, 2011). On the other hand, use of particular employee management can lead to poor performance and dissatisfaction of staff members in an entity. One of the main factors that lead to satisfaction of employees is the provision of a platform that allows staff members to achieve their set goals in relation to that of the organization (NetMBA, 2011). Again recognition of employee efforts and excellence in the workplace goes a long way in making a person feeling appreciated thus improving his or her satisfaction. Frederick observed that on itself, the work in question has the capacity to satisfy workers more so when an individual is given specific responsibility. In addition to achievement, being offered chances of individual advancement and personal growth are sited as relevant satisfaction factors. On the other hand, a bad company policy with respect to working environment together with poor or strict supervision acts as dissatisfaction drivers to staff (Changing Minds, 2011). General work conditions and poor salaries or remunerations make employees feel less motivated since their inputs are not recognized in monetary or benefit packages. Poor relationship with either one’s peers or bosses may lead to high rates of dissatisfaction, as one is not able to coordinate with others at the workplace.

Theory X

          Theory X is a management theory that was brought forward by McGregor Douglas on the basis that the major obligation of any management is to bring together all necessary factors of production, taking measures that will facilitate productivity in addition to motivation of employees. The theory mainly focuses on motivation of workers and assumes that naturally, people dislike work and try to avoid it as much as possible (Clark, 2011). As such, employees have to be pushed in order to perform allocated duties failure to which efficiency will decrease, at least from the point of view of theory X. According to McGregor and Theory X model, people or employees to be specific, never have ambition and are better off as follower rather than leaders. This can be interpreted to mean that most employees avoid taking up responsibilities they harbor no driving force to greater heights. A distinct feature about theory X is that it assume that people have little intelligence, do not appreciate changes and they are self centered considering that they never care about what the company aims to attain in the future (Clark, 2011).

Similarities and Differences

          The above-discussed theories share a lot in common but also have numerous differences between them. To start with, both theories emphasizes on the need to motivate employees for a better performance together with realizing that staff form a very strategic resource of any given organization. To some extent, it would be correct to say that both theories present a profiling of individuals and based on such profiling develop ways in which staff members ought to be treated in order for optimize performance.  A major difference between the two is that while theory X suggests that people dislike work while the motivation-hygiene theory insists that work can be a motivator to staff members. While theory X  argues that the only motivator for employees is money, The motivation-hygiene theory highlights five motivational drivers including achievement, responsibility and growth. Finally, the motivational-hygiene theory emphasizes on assisting the employee grow and advance his or her talents and abilities but theory X argues that one of the options to make an employee perform is to use tight supervision, threats , and control among others, an issue I tend to disagree with.

          That In light of the above discussion, it can be observed management theories provide a platform under which proposals to solve particular issues within the same context are floated. Most management theories in a given subject tend to develop assumptions about people then create solutions to the issue based on the assumption. It can therefore be concluded that whenever a management theory in any field ought to be used, careful consideration needs to be taken as applying certain theories can lead to negative impacts to the company.


Changing Minds (2011). Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory. Retrieved 25 May 2011 from:

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