Chris Argyris and the Immaturity-Maturity Model of Motivation: Treat People as Adults
Chris Argyris offers us a more sophisticated view of McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y model of motivation. His conclusion is that we need to treat people as adults.
Argyris put forward his ‘Immaturity-Maturity Theory’. This suggested that if you treat people like children, you motivate the wrong behaviors.
Watching this video is worth 2 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)
This video is part of course module number 3.7.2
Program 3: Managing and Leading Individuals
Course 7: Motivation
Section 2: Process Models of Motivation
Primary videos about Process Models of Motivation include:
– Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne Experiment https://youtu.be/jRMO43s5NGY
– Victor Vroom and Expectancy Theory https://youtu.be/WDgF7Avijlc
– John Stacy Adams and Equity Theory https://youtu.be/ksnCw96vg7M
– Douglas McGregor and Theory X & Theory Y https://youtu.be/fS5iqEf1Azs
– Rensis Likert and High Producing Managers https://youtu.be/MTgkCe_hhWs
Chris Argyris looked at the relationship and tension between people’s needs and the needs of their organization.
His theory is that personality evolves from Immaturity to Maturity, across a continuum. And this ‘Immaturity-Maturity Theory’ suggests that employee apathy arises where managers treat employees like children. And if they do so because of organizational constraints, there is a conflict (or tension) between people’s needs and those of the organization.
We can represent the Immaturity-Maturity continuum as a series of endpoints:
If organizational controls impose passivity, dependence, and subordination, it will favor immaturity. This will bring out either:
– More immaturity behaviors in less mature individuals
– Frustration and compensating behaviors in more mature individuals. They will create internal networks that work against the imposed hierarchy.
Therefore, what we need to do as managers and leaders is:
– Align organizational and individual goals
– Treat people as equals
– Allow them independence, autonomy, and agency
– Encourage the development of skills and knowledge
1. Think back across your whole career to date. How have each of your managers, bosses, and senior colleagues treated you (in terms of immaturity-maturity)? How did their treatment of you make you feel? What can you learn from your own experiences about how you can manage and lead your own team? (2 MC CPD Points)
2. If you have not done so, it would be helpful to take a look at our video Douglas McGregor and Theory X & Theory Y https://youtu.be/fS5iqEf1Azs
3. Take a long, hard, dispassionate, honest look at the way you treat each of the people in your team. To what extent do you treat each of them as a fully mature individual? And to what extent might you treat some of your team as less mature? (2 MC CPD Points)
4. Start to notice every interaction you have with a team member. If you catch yourself treating anyone as less than completely mature: stop. Change the way you are acting. (2 MC CPD Points)
For a solid introduction to motivation:
– HBR Guide to Motivating People https://geni.us/sO2IKgn
The best of modern thinking on motivation, in accessible business books. These are all modern classics:
– Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us https://geni.us/uq3EBO
– Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action https://geni.us/vjErAN
– Lead, Motivate, Engage: How to INSPIRE Your Team to Win at Work https://geni.us/ABkZEx
– Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smart https://geni.us/E39I
– Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations https://geni.us/uMaP
– The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work https://geni.us/tiEkeH
Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
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Links to our book recommendations are affiliated through Amazon