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Question

In administration, what is the principle of ‘X and Y’ about?

Solution
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Answer: Motivation.

The most likely “principle of X and Y” related to motivation in administration is McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. This theory, proposed by American psychologist Douglas McGregor in 1960, explores two contrasting sets of assumptions about human nature and what motivates employees.

Theory X assumes that:

  • Employees dislike work and naturally try to avoid it.
  • They lack ambition and need constant supervision and direction.
  • They are best motivated by external rewards and punishments.
  • They prefer clear instructions and structured tasks.

Theory Y, on the other hand, assumes that:

  • Employees find work inherently satisfying and enjoy exercising their abilities.
  • They are self-motivated and creative when given the opportunity.
  • They seek responsibility and ownership of their work.
  • They are capable of self-direction and making responsible decisions.

By understanding these contrasting views, leaders can adapt their management styles to suit their teams and individual employees. Theory X often leads to more authoritarian and controlling leadership, while Theory Y encourages empowerment, delegation, and participation.

Therefore, when discussing the principle of “X and Y” about motivation in administration, McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y are the most likely candidates. While other principles involving two elements might exist, this specific theory holds significant weight in the field of organizational behavior and its impact on employee motivation.

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