What is the Ouchis Motivation Theory

Theory Z

Theory Z by Ouchi (1981) is a practice-oriented leadership concept, where it ties in with the images of man in theories X and Y by McGregor. Type Z companies, which have similarities with Japanese companies and which can be found primarily in innovative industries, will be successful in the future, according to Ouchi, as the motivation and identification of employees are of great importance in these.

A normative leadership model that W. G. Ouchi developed on the basis of comparative studies in American and Japanese companies and their management methods. Ouchi assumes that North American and Japanese societies and their organizations differ significantly, even though they perform essentially comparable tasks. Ouchi describes the cultural environment of American organizations as heterogeneous, mobile and individualistic, while Japanese society is more homogeneous, stable and collectivistic. The significant differences in characteristics of North American, bureaucratic organizations (type A) and Japanese organizations (type B) are for Ouchi:



Analogous to McGregor, the social psychologist Chris Argyris also came to the conclusion in his book “Interpersonal Competence and Organizational Effectiveness” (1962) that passive behavior is the result of bureaucratic dressage. He therefore presented Theory Y as a humanistic one. These features complement one another. For example, renouncing professionalization, which results in increased personal dependency on the organization, requires the guarantee of lifelong employment if identification with the organizational goals is not to be jeopardized.
Ouchi presented American managers with a list based on the characteristics of type J without giving them any information about the origin of these characteristics. The managers questioned recognized in the characteristics profile presented to them the by far most successful American companies, such as IBM, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and Kodak, but also the U.S. Army. At the same time, the manager organizations that have such a profile described it as a career-politically favorable entry point for young managers. Ouchi refers to these American organizations with a Japanese profile as Type Z.
Z-Organizations are originally American and have never tried to copy Japanese organizations. In fact, Type Z organizations differ from Type J organizations in some characteristics:
· Lifelong employment is usually factual, but not formally regulated;
· A frequent performance evaluation and fast promotion because of the conditions on the North American labor market, but this takes place comparatively less often or more slowly than in organizations of type A;
· Use of traditional management techniques such as - management by means of target specifications (Mb0), formal planning and information systems, which are understood as an aid and do not dominate human decisions;
· A balance between implicit and explicit control mechanisms;
A lower homogeneity of the workforce than in organizations of type J, in which, for example, the employment of minorities is sometimes completely dispensed with.
Overall, type Z organizations are characterized by a very pronounced, homogeneous
Organizational culture. Ouchi compares the form of the social structure of Z-organizations with that of clans and sees them as an alternative to the traditional forms of social control by market and hierarchy. In these organizations, the influencing and control of the behavior of organizational members does not take place through goals and formal controls, but rather through a change in the entire organizational culture.
Ouchi suggests a 13-step development model according to which A-Organizations should be transformed into more successful Z-Organizations. An essential part of this development model is the implementation of a participatory and cooperative management philosophy as a prerequisite for development.

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