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Revisiting of Theory X and Y: A multilevel analysis of the effects of leaders’ managerial assumptions on followers’ attitudes

Sait Gürbüz (Department of Defense Management, Defense Sciences Institute, Turkish Military Academy, Ankara, Turkey)
Faruk Şahin (Department of Business Administration, Nigde University, Nigde, Turkey)
Onur Köksal (Department of Business Administration, Nigde University, Nigde, Turkey)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 11 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of leaders’ Theory X and Y managerial assumptions on subordinates’ attitudes and behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

Military leaders (n=50) completed a questionnaire with Theory X and Y scale and their subordinates (n=150) completed a questionnaire with the scales of satisfaction with leader, affective commitment, and organizational citizenship behavior. The paper used hierarchical linear modeling to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results indicated that the Theory Y management style is significantly and positively associated with subordinates’ satisfaction with the leader, affective commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviors. The Theory X management style had a significantly negative impact on subordinates’ satisfaction with the leader, but no significant impact on affective commitment and organizational citizenship behavior. The findings of the present study suggest that the Theory X and Y managerial assumptions are a worthwhile basis from which to examine several important organizational and individual outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The sample consisted of military personnel and were predominantly male. This may limit the generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications

The findings of the present study suggest that the Theory X and Y managerial assumptions are a worthwhile basis from which to examine several important organizational and individual outcomes.

Originality/value

Although McGregor's (1960) Theory X and Y have contributed to management and leadership thinking and practice for many years; empirical studies examining the Theory X and Y managerial assumptions in a work environment are very scarce. By examining the effect of leader's Theory X and Y managerial assumptions on follower's attitudes and behaviors, the study provides important insights for leadership literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ministry of National Defense or the Turkish Armed Forces. An earlier version of the research was presented at the 54th International Military Testing Association Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia, November 5-9, 2012.

Citation

Gürbüz, S., Şahin, F. and Köksal, O. (2014), "Revisiting of Theory X and Y: A multilevel analysis of the effects of leaders’ managerial assumptions on followers’ attitudes", Management Decision, Vol. 52 No. 10, pp. 1888-1906. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-06-2013-0357

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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