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The Human Side of Enterprise, Annotated Edition [Hardcover]

Douglas McGregor
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 21, 2005 0071462228 978-0071462228 1

“What are your assumptions (implicit as well as explicit) about the most effective way to manage people?”

So began Douglas McGregor in this 1960 management classic. It was a seemingly simple question he asked, yet it led to a fundamental revolution in management. Today, with the rise of the global economy, the information revolution, and the growth of knowledge-driven work, McGregor's simple but provocative question continues to resonate-perhaps more powerfully than ever before.

Heralded as one of the most important pieces of management literature ever written, a touchstone for scholars and a handbook for practitioners, The Human Side of Enterprise continues to receive the highest accolades nearly half a century after its initial publication. Influencing such major management gurus such as Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, McGregor's revolutionary Theory Y-which contends that individuals are self-motivated and self-directed-and Theory X-in which employees must be commanded and controlled-has been widely taught in business schools, industrial relations schools, psychology departments, and professional development seminars for over four decades.

In this special annotated edition of the worldwide management classic, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Senior Research Scientist in MIT's Sloan School of Management and Engineering Systems Division, shows us how today's leaders have successfully incorporated McGregor's methods into modern management styles and practices. The added quotes and commentary bring the content right into today's debates and business models.

Now more than ever, the timeless wisdom of Douglas McGregor can light the path towards a management style that nurtures leadership capability, creates effective teams, ensures internal alignment, achieves high performance, and cultivates an authentic, value-driven workplace--lessons we all need to learn as we make our way in this brave new world of the 21st century.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

McGregor’s enduring principles—Brought to life for the next generation of managers.

“Today, there is indeed growing evidence to suggest that we are in the early or middle stages of a second industrial divide, which has been variously characterized as involving an information revolution, increased interconnection across global markets, the rise of flexible specialization in production and service operations, and a transformation toward knowledge-driven work in all sectors of the economy.

McGregor understood, anticipated, and helped point the way toward what may well emerge as a future model of work, organizations and society that is rooted in core assumptions driving participative, interdependent, authentic, inventive and productive relationships. However, the alternative, an economic “race to the bottom” based on increasingly individualistic, control-oriented and competitive assumptions, is also a very real possibility. As we venture forth, McGregor's insights about the 'human side of enterprise' continue to be a beacon. We must continue to ask, as he did: 'What are your assumptions (implicit as well as explicit) about the most effective way to manage people?'” --From the Introduction by Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

About the Author

Douglas McGregor is one of the most influential management thinkers of all time. His Theory Y approach is at the core of virtually all of today's leading management and workplace models. He was a founding faculty member of MIT's Sloan School of Management and served as president of Antioch College.

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld is a Senior Research Scientist in MIT's Sloan School of Management and Engineering Systems Division, where his scholarship centers on underlying values and assumptions about people at work, in organizations, in complex systems, and across societies-building on and extending the core of McGregor's contribution.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (December 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071462228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071462228
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that changed management March 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Douglas McGregor was a great boss. Wise, witty and insightful, he had extraordinary respect for his employees and believed that if they had the opportunity, they would be enthusiastic, responsible and ethical in the workplace. He believed this so strongly that he wrote this book in 1960 and forever changed management, whose predominant philosophy at that time was that people were inherently lazy, and would work only if you forced and punished them. McGregor was only 58 when he died in 1964, but his contributions to management theory and practice ensure his enduring legacy. In his introduction to this edition of McGregor's classic, commentator Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld points out that in 2004 and 2005 - nearly 50 years after it was published - business journalists and theorists still referred to McGregor's work repeatedly in print. Furthermore, you can apply his philosophy and principles to your everyday life and relationships. McGregor has a tendency to overwrite and, at times, he doubles back over territory that he's already covered. But these are quibbles. getAbstract believes this persuasive book will alter your views about management and your fellow workers. If you supervise others and you haven't yet read it - what are you waiting for?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Editor's comments on review by "a reader" November 22, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recently discovered the posting about this book under the name of "a reader," which I find troubling.

On the one hand, I join in the view that the beginning of the book has too much material. This was discussed with the publisher; we erred on the side of being inclusive and, in retrospect, we should have kept things simpler as an entry into the text.

On the other hand, it is offensive in many ways when this person (using a pseudonym) implies that inserting additional comments throughout the text is equivalent to Downs Syndrome.

Behind these comments is both a reification (rather than an appreciation) of the original text and an over simplification of what I believe Douglas McGregor meant by "Theory Y."

The original text is brilliant and visionary. It was not designed, however, to be put on a pedestal. A journey into deep underlying assumptions is complicated, challenging, engaging, and interactive. By inserting my own editor's comments and entries submitted by many others, we have attempted to create a dialogue with the text. Could this be further improved? Absolutely. Is it appropriate to take a management classic and integrate dialogue and commentary? I say, "yes" -- it is a way of showing appreciation for the relevancy of the original text.

Although it is not stated, I suspect what is really going on with the posted comment is a fundamental difference of opinion on what is meant by "Theory Y." There is a school of thought (perhaps including this reader) that interprets McGregor's "Theory Y" as only valuing teamwork, consensus, and a unitary approach to management.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Human side of enterprise is a forgotten landmark in the history of management-research and thinking, which is very surprising considering it clearly provides an explanation for the pitiful state we find within many organisations today. Maybe it's been ignored because it shines a clear light on the fallacious assumptions many organisational designers and developers have about human beings? Maybe it has been ignored because people in influential positions feel threatened by the perceived loss of power and control any change of assumption might bring?

Whatever the reason we are left feeling that the greatest waste in organisations today is the waste in human potential, and this, McGregor points out, is a result of the wrong-headed and unscientific assumptions management have about encouraging the best from people.

McGregor's system and research demonstrates clearly that systems designed to control people certainly provide control but we must ask, what type of control and at what cost? - the cost to productivity, innovation, enterprise, society and human fulfilment?

It is no mistake the book is called `The Human side of enterprise' and not - The Human side of THE enterprise. We are talking here about the enterprise of humans as a natural instinct, not the organisational enterprise which is an unnatural construct.

Traditional management systems are an invention to maintain control over power and resources in an effort to maintain compliance. This creates organisations where everything is forbidden unless permitted and limits the enterprise and potential of human beings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite management book February 9, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love reading management and leadership books. This is my favorite, as Dr. McGregor addresses every issue in management from motivation to bonus pay. The notes add a little extra to this timeless classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Management Theories Unveiled! March 9, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Below are selected excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "It seems clear to me that the making of managers, in so far as they are made, is only to a rather small degree the result of management's formal efforts in management development. It is to a much greater degree the result of management's conception of the nature of its task and of all the policies and practices which are constructed to implement this conception. The way a business is managed determines to a very large extent what people are perceived to have "potential" and how they develop. We go off on the wrong track when we seek to study management development in terms of the formal machinery of programs carrying this label."

2- "All managerial decisions and actions rest on assumptions about behavior...We can improve our ability to control only if we recognize that control consists in selective adaptation to human nature rather than in attempting to make human nature conform to our wishes."

3- "The desirable end of the growth process is an ability to strike a balance - to tolerate certain forms of dependence without being unduly frustrated, and at the same time to stand alone in some respects without undue anxiety."

4- "The power to influence others is not a function of the amount of authority one can exert. It is, rather, a function of the appropriate selection of the means of influence which the particular circumstances require. Conventional organization theory teaches us that power and authority are coextensive. Consequently, relinquishing authority is seen as losing the power to control. This is a completely misleading conception.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book to understand McGregor
I thought that this was a nice book, with good commentary too. I have used some elements in teaching about the subject of motivation.
Published 6 months ago by Nina
5.0 out of 5 stars Gifted
This item was a great find for me. I was able to give it as a gift because it was in great condition and for a great price. Thank you.
Published 16 months ago by Lisa A Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars I bought this book for my son and read it before I gave it to him.
I thought it was a little stiff and formal- Had good insight to people and why they do the things they do- It kept referring to 'managing' people- You don't manage people, you... Read more
Published 18 months ago by D. Heady
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insight
This book provided some great insight into revolutionary leadership techniques of the time. If you liked this one, check out Mary Parker Follet's Prophet of Management for a more... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Kenny R
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Fresh and Readable
We all recognise the inspiration that comes from working in motivated, high performing teams and have wondered, "Why can't it be like this all the time? Read more
Published 19 months ago by Bill Young
5.0 out of 5 stars "The greatest waste is the waste of human potential" - D.McGregror
"It's amazing when you think about when Douglas McGregor came up with his theories on management during the 1960's. Read more
Published on June 1, 2011 by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for Human Resources
This book is the defining moment for the correct utilization of human potential. It is a great resource for those really interested in the development of the people in their... Read more
Published on November 9, 2006 by Kenneth W. Brock
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