The purpose of this paper is to advance that a significant part of McGregor's legacy was from considering human behavior as important to organizational life and management, and to step outside thinking of the time to incorporate social science research and thinking. While others have followed his lead, the idea of looking beyond those fields for useful frameworks for additional insights – as he did by incorporating psychology – has been largely overlooked. This paper seeks to propose such an approach as adding to the breadth and depth of organizational/managerial understanding.
There is no methodology, per se, other than reading. The approach is to trace highlights of McGregor's thinking, influences on him and by him, and to introduce fields of thought that can further those aims of better informing the “human” side.
Spiral dynamics (SDi) and finite and infinite games provide well developed frameworks for better understanding “human” aspects of organized behavior both socially, and in the management and research of organizational behavior. Considering them is also in line with McGregor's legacy of stepping outside traditional management theory to inform his thinking and arguments.
There has not been research on Finite dynamics, but there is documentation of work done with SDi. The implications of each include better understanding of culture components of organized behavior, especially in a global environment, comparing results of already occurring phenomena (e.g. mergers) in light of the ideas proposed. A key limitation is creating and using further operational measures for some studies.
The practical implications are significant in terms of offering new ways to better analyze, understand, and act on socially (“human“) based factors that address issues within and across cultures. These include guidelines for balancing interests of corporations with national/global economies, post merger behavior, identifying other factors that affect issues of loyalty, commitment, motivation, alignment, etc. as issues of cultural diversity in organizations (especially global ones).
The first implication is that it takes recognition of dynamics advanced by both approaches for them to have conscious impact. They already conform to events known to have happened. SDi was used repeatedly to improve societal harmony by Mandela in post‐Aparheidt South Africa. Finite and […] poses hyotheses and distinctions about factors that help explain recent global economic meltdown, and ways to prevent future occurrence. While “business” in nature, the social implications are vast.
The originality here lies primarily in thinking outside the boxes that have emulated, evaluated, or expanded on the central thrust of McGregor's thinking. Other than placing finite and infinite games in a management/organizational context, and suggesting some questions for research and practice, the only other original thought was to consider the “meta” legacy of McGregor's example of going outside management thinking to inform what he believed to be valid, rather than stay strictly within the domains of social science and traditional management thinking. All this, of course, in the pursuit of advancing his concern for the human side of enterprise.
Lerner, A. (2011), "McGregor's legacy: thoughts on what he left, what transpired, and what remains to pursue", Journal of Management History, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 217-237. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511341111112613Download as .RIS
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