Management Philosophies and Motivation

Management philosophy can set the foundation for a positive work climate and influence a manager's approach to motivation. The way a manager views employees and communicates with employees affects their behavior.

Two popular theories are Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y, which talk about how managers create self‐fulfilling prophecies based on how they treat their employees.

Another theory by Chris Argyris centers on what he refers to as the mature worker. In his book Personality and Organization, Argyris contrasts the management practices found in traditional organizations with the needs and capabilities of the mature adult personality.

For example, the concept of work specialization is supposed to make people work more efficiently because the tasks are very defined. Argyris believes that this concept may actually be counterproductive because it will limit an employee from reaching self‐actualization.

Like McGregor, Argyris is concerned about how managers treat people. He believes that if managers treat their employees in a positive manner—as responsible adults—their employees will be more productive. However, Argyris takes this concept one step further. He believes that mature workers want additional responsibilities, a variety of tasks, and the ability to participate in decisions. If not, he believes that the result will be employee absenteeism, apathy, and even alienation.