Leadership and Motivation
Essays of Douglas McGregor
- Published: February 15, 1968
- Publisher: The MIT Press
- Published: April 15, 1966
- Publisher: The MIT Press
“Dilemmas of a managerial society” constitute the central theme emerging from this collection of writings by the late Douglas McGregor, formerly President of Antioch College (1948-1954) and Professor of Industrial Management at M.I.T. (1954-1964). Professor McGregor is credited with having been a leader in bringing industrial psychology to maturity in the eyes of the academic psychologists, and to practical applicability to the day-by-day activities of the managers.
This book is perhaps the clearest statement of a managerial theory that is scientific in outlook and approach, humanistic and democratic in spirit. It will be of basic interest to the psychologist, and its readability and freedom from jargon, as well as its practicality, will recommend it to the personnel manager and to the executive.
New kinds of organizations, requiring new modes of leadership, have been created by a historical series of fractures: the industrial revolution, which tended to separate a man's work from his inner life; the managerial revolution, which separated ownership and control; and the current “scientific” revolution, involving the introduction of automatic processes, a lessening of direct human interaction, and stricter regulation in the public interest, all of which have divorced the policymaker from wide areas of power and control.
The new leadership that Professor McGregor felt most appropriate for the modern organization is closely reflected in his style of thought and writing: it is persuasive, not prescriptive; direct, not circuitous; organized, but not rigidly systemized; intensely human, not detached. His studies have indicated that when basic economic needs are filled, higher motivations come into play (“Man lives by bread alone, when there is no bread.”). There is one notable exception to this rule – economic advancement remains the chief aim of workers who feel excluded from real participation in their organizations. For this reason, the author points out that the most effective – and the most equitable – course of leadership is to satisfy the higher needs of workers on all levels – the needs of self-respect, initiative, recognition, competence. The author calls for heterogeneity and flexibility in organization, the repression of narrow managerial “types,” programs of self-objectives and self-evaluations which relieve higher management not of responsibility but of its largely inoperative role as “judge” and “inspector.” The goal has been described by Peter Drucker as “management by objectives” in contrast to “management by control.”