Essay on Theory X and Theory Y Leadership - Perception, Power and Situational Leadership

Published: 2021-08-16
1438 words
6 pages
12 min to read
University of California, Santa Barbara
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The road for any organization to achieving its most productive mode of operation involves various factors. One of the most challenging elements to fine tune is the workforce. The productivity of employees in a company determines to a great extent productivity of the entire company (Gardner, & Stough, 2002). To the employees, productivity largely refers to how well the workmates work together. One of the tasks of a leader in an organization is to ensure that the employees under him or she relates well to themselves. Communication channels between the management and the employees should be clear for quick flow of information and ideas. Strong relations between the employees and the management and clear communication channels allow an organization to achieve a work environment where all involved work as teammates. It is only by achieving these factors that a company can reach its optimum state of the operational output.


Given the competitive nature of the market industries, specialists have been keen to monitor organizations that continually perform better than the rest. Different studies have often landed on varying reasons why one company fails while another prospers. The Laisez-faire (1962) case study, for example, emphasizes the importance of making decisions in a democratic form in a workplace. Autocratic leadership, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of the leader. The leader, in this case, makes all the decisions and the subordinates follow what the leader says. While all the studies ever conducted into this question vary from each other in one way or the other, they also agree on a few things. The most crucial of the factors that these studies agree on is on the importance of strong relationships between the employees. The importance of clear channels of communication and the value of a teamwork approach in the tasks that are performed at the workplace.


All businesses to a great extent involve many people working to achieve a single goal. The relationships between the people involved in the production process determine not only the speed of production but also the quality of goods produced. Employees relationships within an organization, directly affect four of the main workplace behaviors. These behaviors are job performance, organizational citizenship, absenteeism, and turnover. When it comes to job performance in any workplace, this majorly depends on an employees relationship with the rest of the organization. Employees who have significant relationships with their peers happen to perform well in their duties. Strong relationships mean that these employees are quick to ask for assistance in case they get stuck in a specific task. They also get people to correct them quickly if they make mistakes.

Organisational citizenship refers to the sense of belonging to employees about the organization they work for. This is among the hardest aspects for any company to achieve. Organizational citizenship stems from employees admiring the company they work for; it is from this admiration that these employees begin to associate themselves with the organization. A closer look at the appreciation that workers have towards their organization indicates that it is mostly about the relationships at the organization, rather than the building that makes up the organization (Arslan, & Staub, 2013). Strong relationships within the organization allow all the employees to get a sense of belonging to the organization. Companies that have achieved this have more dedicated employees. Employees of such companies will often commit more of their time and skills to see the organization prosper. Cases of absenteeism in this kind of organization are not typical.

Employees will often avoid going to work if they feel like they are not valued. The primary cause for this is lack of clear communication channels between the employees and the administration. Strengthening relationships in an organization will allow employees to forward their grievances to the management. Strong relationships within such a company will enable the administration to attend to the problems stated by their employees to enhance the work environment. Cases of absenteeism are rare in this kind of organization. The result of the implementation of stronger relations in an organization is an increased turnover at a lower cost of production.

Theory X and Theory Y Leadership

When it comes to enhancing relations in the workplace, the choice between theory X and Theory Y modes of leadership are determined by the type of employees in question. Lowly motivated employees call for theory X kind of leadership (Arslan, & Staub, 2013). To encourage stronger relationship in the workplace the type of theory X kind of leadership should be soft. With soft theory X kind of leadership, employees who fail to follow the set guidelines are faced with less strict rules. The idea behind this type of leadership is to correct these employees without creating a hostile environment in the workplace. Going with a hard theory X form of leadership for lowly motivated workers is likely to bring disunity between the employees and the management.

Theory Y form of leadership, on the other hand, is best placed to encourage more positive relationship in the workplace. The leader under this type of leadership has closer and better relationships with his or her employees. The relationship between the management and the employees under theory Y mode of leadership is mostly that of workmates rather than seniors to junior. Employees under theory Y take more responsibility for their work and require less monitoring (Arslan, & Staub, 2013). The freedom fostered by this type of leadership allows the workers to feel more respected and strengthen their relationship with their workmates and the management.

Communication and Teamwork

A conducive environment at the workplace can only be achieved while everyone in the organization has a clear channel of connection to the other (Goetsch, & Davis, 2014). The management of an organization should work to ensure that the channels of communication to the employees are not only clear but also go both ways. Each employee should be in a position to easily communicate to the management without feeling intimidated. This kind of transparent communications allows the administration to inform their employees of all the decisions that they are about to make regarding the business. Employees, on the other hand, use these channels of communication to strengthen relationships between themselves and also to address any problems that they could have among themselves.

Continued implementation of clear communication channels in an organization helps all the different departments work as a team. While the management is effectively communicating with their employees and vice versa, no one feels left behind. Continued implementation of these helps bring these two parts of an organization closer (Goetsch, & Davis, 2014). With time the entire organization works as a single machine, different department cooperate to achieve the goals of the entire business.

Perception power and situational leadership

Perception in the workplace refers to the beliefs held as true due to the past experiences, observations and current experiences (Lee-Kelley, 2002). What is essential about perception is that no one impression is permanent. Each understanding thrives when it is emphasized and continuously enforced. Handled correctly, the leadership of an organization can implement certain perceptions that are productive in the workplace and help eradicate others that are biased and stereotypes. Enforcing the opinion of all employees being equally capable without favoring any group and exterminating other that discourages some people can work wonders for the organization. Upholding the positive perceptions and eradicating the negatives will not only increase the employees turnover but also bring the different sectors of the organization closer.

When it comes to situational leadership, the idea is that there is no one correct model of leadership. A Successful leader is the one who can adapt and change the mode of leadership as per the situation on the ground (Lee-Kelley, 2002). Changing between theories X to theory Y of leadership, for example, can be crucial in leading different kinds of employees. Achieving the optimum state of production in an organization calls for constant fine-tuning of the various factors of production. Having strong relationships that are working for the benefit of the organization is, however, one of the given aspects each organization has to achieve. The other aspects are having a clear channel of communication and encouraging teamwork among the employees.


Arslan, A., & Staub, S. (2013). Theory X and theory Y type leadership behavior and its impact on organizational performance: Small business owners in the Sishane Lighting and Chandelier District. Procedia-social and behavioral sciences, 75, 102-111.

Gardner, L., & Stough, C. (2002). Examining the relationship between leadership and emotionalintelligence in senior-level managers, Leadership & organizationdevelopment journal. 23(2), 68-78.

Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. B. (2014). Quality management for organizational excellence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Lee-Kelley, L. (2002). Situational leadership: Managing the virtual project team. Journal of Management Development, 21(6), 461-476.

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