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A little bit of history

(1) Douglas McGregor died at the comparatively young age of 58 in 1964. He had a fairly straightforward academic career, lecturing at Harvard University and MIT, and becoming one of the first Sloan professors. Because of his early death he did not publish much, but what he did publish has had a great impact. In 1993 he was listed as the most popu­lar management writer, alongside Henri Fayol, a Frenchman.

(2) Many leading management figures that followed him, including Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Warren Bennis and Tom Peters, have ack­nowledged that much of modern management thinking goes back to McGregor, and that his writing influenced subsequent ideas about lead­ership.

(3) In his comic classic Up the Organization, Robert Townsend, a former president of the Avis car-hire company, wrote powerfully in support of Theory Y:

People don’t hate work. It’s as natural as rest or play. They don’t have to be forced or threatened. If they commit themselves to mutual objectives, they’ll drive themselves more effectively than you can drive them. But they’ll commit themselves only to the extent they can see ways of satisfying their ego and development needs.”

►Question/Answer session:

1. Define each theory and say how they correspond with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

2. Why did Maslow criticize theory Y? Do you agree with him on the matter?

3. Give an appropriate translation of the passage in italics.

4. ‘People will commit themselves only to the extent they can see ways of satisfying their ego and development needs.’ Comment on this and be sure to draw upon your own personal life experience.


1) the hierarchy of needs

2) to fall into five different categories

3) to satisfy the needs

4) physiological needs

5) safety needs

6) social needs

7) esteem needs/ ego needs

8) self-actualization needs/ self-fulfillment needs

9) to create dissatisfaction

10) the authoritarian style

11) the participative style

12) to be committed to objectives

13) an excuse for failure


(1) Didier Girardet owns a small chain of four car dealerships in the region of Bourgogne. Part of the business is selling cars, both new and second hand. The other half provides servicing and repairs for customers. When he first started the business 30 years ago, he had two employees doing repair work from a run down garage in the back streets of Dijon. Today he has over 100 employees spread across four premium sites. Each site has a manager, with a head of sales and a head of servicing and repairs underneath them.

(2) Didier relies heavily on the four site managers. They have day-to-day operational control of the business. He monitors their work and keeps a careful check on the performance of each site. Performance is checked both against previous periods and site to site. Didier is capable of making hard decisions. For example, five years ago he sacked one site manager who had been in the post for just 18 months when his site consistently underperformed the other sites in the group.

(3) This was a difficult decision, though, for Didier. He sees himself as a ‘people person’, and believes strongly in teamwork. Employees are encouraged to develop their own capabilities with a heavy emphasis on staff training and empowerment. Workers are encouraged to make decisions for themselves. Occasionally mistakes are made, but Didier believes firmly that this is an inevitable part of taking responsibility.

(4) Each week, he has a three hour meeting with the four site managers, his ‘board of directors’ as he likes to call them. Everything to do with the running of the business is discussed at these meetings. Didier expects his site managers to be frank and there can be major differences of opinion about how to develop the business. Ultimately, he has to make the key decisions but he always consults with others to hear what they have to say.

►Case task:

  1. Explain what is meant by the term ‘teamworking’.
  2. Explain two factors which could suggest that Didier is a democratic leader.
  3. Analyze whether Didier Girardet would hold McGregor’s Theory X view of management or a Theory Y view.
  4. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Didier Girardet’s leadership styles of empowering his subordinates.




(1) Total quality management (TQM) is the idea that controlling quality is not something that is left to a ‘quality controller’, a person who stands at the end of a production line checking final output. It is (or it should be) something that permeates an organization from the moment its raw materials arrive to the moment its finished products leave.

(2) TQM is a process-oriented system built on the belief that quality is simply a matter of conforming to a customer's requirements. These requirements can be measured, and deviations from them can then be prevented by means of process improvements or redesigns.

(3) The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFOM) says that TQM strategies are characterized by the following.

q The excellence of all managerial, operational and administrative processes.

q A culture of continuous improvement in all aspects of the business.

q An understanding that quality improvement results in cost advantages and better profit potential.

q The creation of more intensive relationships with customers and suppliers.

q The involvement of all personnel.

q Market-oriented organizational practices.

Common failings include the following.

q Insufficient executive commitment.

q Unrealistic expectations.

q Failure to set priorities.

q Poor measurement methods.

Date: 2016-01-05; view: 712

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