The “traditional” assumptions about the nature of people, according to Douglas McGregor, are included in Theory X as follows:



  1. Average human beings have an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if they can.
  2. Because of this human characteristic of disliking work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of organizational objectives.
  3. Average human beings prefer to be directed, wish to avoid responsibility, have relatively little ambition, and want security above all.
  4. Motivation occurs only at the physiological and safety levels.


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