Thursday, November 20, 2008


Theory X and Theory Y are theories that describe employee motivation. Theory X states that workers are only motivated by not getting in trouble. That is, workers are inherently lazy, do not want to work, and are not invested in their work or the company. Theory Y states that employees are motivated by doing good work. They enjoy working, and desire to be creative in their jobs. A manager in Theory X would act as an authoritarian boss, constantly prodding the workers to do their jobs. A manager in Theory Y would encourage ideas and value collaboration between management and employees.

Theory Z, which was developed after X and Y, is also known as the Japanese management approach. Theory Z can best be described as loyalty begetting loyalty. The company is loyal to the employee, providing long term employment, job security, promotion from within, and concern for the holistic needs of the employee and his/her family. In return, the employee has high job satisfaction and high production rates, and the employer sees low turnover. Examples of employers taking care of the employees holistic needs could include on-site daycare, (or crib in the cubicle- it happens!) exercise or meditation in the morning, and pets in the office place (I really wish I could bring my cat to work.)

Americans with disabilities act of 1990: this act prohibited discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in public accommodations (the library, the mall, etc). The law states that employers must make ‘reasonable accommodations’ for employees with disabilities. Personally, I knew a man who had kidney failure and needed dialysis. The only time the clinic could run him was in the morning, so a reasonable accommodation in this case was to push his shifts back a few hours three times a week to accommodate dialysis. An example I have experienced that was very illegal was another dialysis patient being fired because the employer said he was driving up the cost of the business’s health insurance.

Kettner, P. M. (2002). Achieving excellence in the management of human service organizations. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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