The kind of manager you are depends in large part on how you view people. Unconscious assumptions about such factors as an employee's intelligence (stupid vs. smart), motivation (self-starting vs. lazy), and attitude toward work (averse to work vs. capable of enjoying and being stimulated by work) determine your basic management style, and the success of your company.

This quiz is designed to show whether you are a Theory X, Theory Y, or Theory Z manager. Theory X developed from "Scientific Management," a concept best illustrated by the time-and-motion studies of a late-nineteenth-century industrial engineer named Frederick W. Taylor. Taylor, so the story goes, observed that the workers under his supervision at Midvale Steel Philadelphia brought their own shovels to work, regardless of what size coal lumps they would have to shovel. He suggested to management that the company furnish shovels corresponding to the size and weight of the individual load, thus increasing the total amount of coal each worker could shovel in a day. Efficiericy in production, the Theory X cornerstone, led to the assembly line and industrial production.

Most observers agree that Theory Y management philosophy was derived from a series of experiments in the 1930s at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Chicago. Employees had been divided into two groups: a "test" group that worked under changing lighting conditions and a "control" group that worked under constant lighting. When the test group's light conditions improved, their productivity increased, as expected. But what mystified researchers was a similar jump in productivity when illumination worsened. To compound the mystery, the control group's output rose when the test group's did. Harvard professor Elton Mayo concluded that both groups felt management was giving them special attention and so responded with improved performance. This discovery of human-relations management was called Theory Y.

Theory Z is so new it is not yet integrated into management textbooks. However, the best-known explanation is contained in a book by William Ouchi, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese Challenge (see INC., April 1981, page 128). Theory Z proclaims that letting employees participate in making decisions increases their motivation and productivity. This management style emphasizes long-range planning, consensus decisiori-making, and mutual worker-employee loyalty.

Some managers favor Theory X, others Theory Y. A few are likely to becorne Theory Z managers. Most, however, are some combination of the three.

There is no "right" style of management, because the appropriate style depends on the kind of people you employ and the kind of business you run. Thus, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers to this quiz. But identifying your style can help you determine its appropriateness.


In the columns below write the score you assigned to each next to the number of that statemerit. Then write the scores at the bottom of each column.

Everyone uses some combination of styles, but the column with the highest score will identify your management philosophy. If all three of your scores are within a few points of one another, you probably adjust your style to fit particular situations. This may be right for your business, but be aware it employees may sometimes wonder what to expect from you. If the test shows you to be strongly X, Y, or Z, consider if that is the management style your business demands.

Theory X score Theory Y score Theory Z score

equals the equals the equals the

sum of: sum of: sum of:

(1) (2) (6)

(4) (3) (10)

(8) (5) (11)

(9) (7) (13)

(15) (12) (16)

(18) (14) (17)

(19) (21) (20)

(23) (24) (22)

Total Total Total

Theory X. The philosophy of Theory X management style is based on the view of human nature embodied in the following three statements:

1) People have a natural aversion to work.

2) People need to be coerced, controlled, and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of company goals.

3) The average person prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has little ambition, and wants security most.

Theorists now ask how much of the behavior described above is inherent human nature and how much is behavior learned from bosses who manage with those assumptions. Perhaps the assumptions become self-validating. Workers who are always treated by an authoritarian management as though they were lazy tend to behave that way.

Theory Y. Theory Y assumptions represent a much more positive assessment of human behavior. They gave rise to the thousands of management training programs throughout the United States in the 1960s and '70s, the purposes of which were to help managers change their assumptions about human nature from a Theory X to a Theory Y outlook. Following are the basic premises of Theory Y:

1) The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.

2) External control and threat of punishment are not the only means for bringing about effort toward corporate goals. People will exercise self-direction and self-control to achieve goals they find important.

3) Commitment to objectives is in proportion to the rewards associated with their achievement.

4) The average human being learns, under proper conditions, not only to accept but to seek responsibility.

5) The capacity to exercise a relatively high degret imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in solving work problems is widely, not narrowly, present in the population.

6) Under the conditions of modern industrial life, the brainpower of the average human is only partially utilized.

Theory Z. Theory Z author William Ouchi concludes that Japanese managers get more out of their employees than U.S. managers because the whole structure of Japanese society encourages mutual trust and cooperation. This management philosophy is based on the following assumptions:

1) Long-term, even lifetime, employment is expected by both managers and employees.

2) Employees need freedom and opportunity to "grow."

3) Decisions should be group decisions involving workers and managers.

4) Subordinates are whole people at work (in contrast to being thought of as titles or as units of production).

5) Management has a broad concern for subordinate welfare.

6) Open communication, both vertically and horizontally,is the norm.

7) There is complete trust among groups and individuals because they all have the same goals -- the good of the organization.

8) Cooperation, not competition, is the basis for relationships within the company.