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

Sait Gürbüz, Faruk Şahin, Onur Köksal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1888-1906
Number of pages19
JournalManagement Decision
Volume52
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • management
  • military personnel
  • organizational behavior
  • organizational commitment
  • social exchange
  • Theories

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