Douglas McGregor’s Theoretical Models: Their Application in assessing Leadership Styles
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 4 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-4-April-2006
Douglas McGregor (1960) a thinker, leader, management and leadership theorist postulated over three
decades ago that every leader has core assumptions about human nature and these assumptions
influence the style of leadership practiced by the leader. McGregor’s views on leadership are important
because he was the first to apply behavioural science findings to the world of business and leadership.
He postulated the core leadership assumptions (Theory X and Theory Y) to assist leaders question
their underlying assumptions and perceptions about people.
Douglas McGregor (1960, 1967) believed that as companies become more competitive as a result of
technological advancements the success of organizations would be more dependent on the dynamics
of the people. McGregor was of the view that for most to be derived from people they are to be treated
as individuals, each with their own set of values and motivations. McGregor pointed out that people
must not be treated as machines but as living individuals who could be developed to help achieve
organizational goals. He emphasized the importance of leaders caring about their attitudes of people
because that potentially dictated the response they get from those they lead.