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Theory X beliefs about students would, in the spirit of the theory and the words of

McGregor himself, [reflect] an underlying belief that management must counteract

an inherent human tendency to avoid work (McGregor). Management in this case
would expect students to be lazy, to prefer missing classes, and to doing only the
minimum amount of required coursework. This is based on the assumptions that
students prefer direction, dislike responsibility, and would rather take security and
consistency over achievement. In order to counteract these things, minimum
attendance policies, minimum assignment hand-in policies, and participatory mark-
based policies could be implemented. In this case, students would generally be
expected to achieve a baseline minimum of performance and little else. Theory X
only tackles the lower-level needs in Maslows hierarchy, however by only
providing substantial and external rewards, it neglects the levels of belonging,
esteem, and self-actualization; which makes it somewhat ineffective at fostering
long-term growth. This is where theory Y comes in: while theory X has a ready-
made excuse for failure (The Economist) human limitations theory Y preaches
self-motivation and internal rewards. A scholastic management that believes in
theory Y would act first from the baseline assumption that students are willing to do
as much work as they are committed, and therefore encourages the work to be
meaningful to them. Offering opportunities to go above and beyond the requisite
amount of academic accomplishment and to furnish higher meaning to menial work
would be the policies of such an organization; this could be accomplished in offering
rewards for excellence in the application of academics to real-life problems, a
plethora of simulatory tasks in academics itself with encouragement to duplicate it
elsewhere, and creating an atmosphere where innovative lines of thought and
action are nurtured and lauded. These policies are much more effective in creating
an environment where the highest standards of achievement can be sought and
realized. However, it is important to bridge the gap between theory and practice;
Maslow was greatly impressed by and influenced by McGregors work, but even he
found that [theory Y] in its most extreme form did not work well (The Economist).
As such, even the most libertarian organization will still possess a number of
strictures. University of Waterloo can be said to be an organization that prefers to
assume theory Y about its students; this is most clearly seen by the amount of
assistance given to enterprising entrepreneurs from programs like Velocity, offices
like the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, and
organizations like Research Entrepreneurs Accelerating Prosperity. However, much
of the purely academic coursework still retains stringent guidelines for a requisite
amount of work. Just as Maslow recognized [theory Ys] inhumanity to the weak,
so must organizations also compensate for its weaker participants and tailor some
of its policies towards the assumptions of theory X.

Word Count: 469

Works Cited
McGregor, Douglas. The Human Side of Enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960.
"Theories X and Y." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 2008. Web. 21 June