Participative Management

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Lewin's theories interconnected the individual, organization and environment, stressing that one could not be understood without referring to the other. His Action Research Model offered the first hands-on application of theory to organization change processes. Lewin "training group" or "T-group" involved assembling groups of about ten participants, who acquired a better understanding about group dynamics and processes by observing and discussing their own group behavior. The T-group idea, which resulted in a very productive means for both learning and behavioral change, developed into the National Training Laboratories (NTL). The NTL has since become a highly influential research and training organization. Further, the T-group concept has evolved in several directions including encounter groups and sensitivity training as well as many of today's team-building techniques.

In 1960, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Douglas McGregor, who was one of Lewin's associates, published The Human Side of Enterprise. Here he delineated a pair of conflicting theories of management based on human nature. "Theory X" believes that humans are biologically passive, self-centered and indolent and thus require active control and management to encourage productivity. Conversely, "Theory Y" believes that humans are inherently motivated to personally develop and do their best. They will show the most productivity in their behavior and actions if given the maximum amount of responsibility for their own work. McGregor recognized the reality of Theory X, but said that it is the result of over-controlling management rather than the proof of its necessity. He suggested changing the traditional Theory X-style of management practices to provide more individual responsibility. In short:

Theory X Managers assume the average worker

? is gullible and not very bright.

? is indifferent to the organization's needs.

? dislikes work.

? · is motivated only by financial incentives.

? · must be closely supervised.

Theory Y Managers assume the average worker:

? feels work is natural.

? can enjoy work.

? is motivated by the desire to do a good job.

? might do a better job if control is minimized.

? has potential for development and advancement.

Recently, the increase in participative management signals a growing understanding among U.S. companies that a high productivity/high wage economy demands new relationships between labor and management. This relationship promotes a way…[continue]

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"Participative Management" (2005, January 13) Retrieved August 3, 2015, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/participative-management-61031

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