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Friday, May 27, 2022

The meaning / Merits and Demerits / Application Theory Z to Nigeria School Administration


The meaning / Merits and Demerits / Application Theory Z to Nigeria School Administration


Education in all ramifications all over the world is seen as the most important instrument of social change in any society. In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FRN, 2012) maintains that education is a veritable tool for social change and national integration. FRN (2012:4) also affirms “efforts shall be made to relate education to overall needs of the Nigerian society” Achievement of the above goal is dependent on the quality of education offered to the citizenry especially in secondary schools and principals’ application of management by objective (MBO) in school administration in Nigeria. The broad goal of Nigerian secondary education as specified in the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2012) is aimed to preparing students for useful living within the society. Achievement of these aims has remained largely elusive in the school system due to poor application of management by objective by school principals in school administration. Babalola (2004) argued that achieving these aims appear unattainable due to problems of teachers and students’ management, finance, infrastructures, motivation, curriculum and supervision plus information and technology facilities. As a result, principals of secondary schools as school administrators continue to be subjected to blames that the complex task they perform are not efficiently and effectively channeled towards providing education necessary for the world of today and the future (Adebola 2006). Therefore, for the goals of secondary education in Nigeria to be achieved, effective school administration and management and techniques should be applied by school principals.

Theory Z has been called a sociological description of the humanistic organizations advocated by management pioneers such as Elton Mayo, Chris Argyris, Rensis Likert, and Douglas McGregor. In fact, the descriptive phrase, "Theory Z." can be traced to the work of Douglas McGregor in the 1950s and 1960s. McGregor, a psychologist and college president, identified a negative set of assumptions about human nature, which he called Theory X. He asserted that these assumptions limited the potential for growth of many employees. McGregor presented an alternative set of assumptions that he called Theory Y and were more positive about human nature as it relates to employees. In McGregor's view, managers who adopted Theory Y beliefs would exhibit different, more humanistic, and ultimately more effective management styles. McGregor's work was read widely, and Theory Y became a well-known prescription for improving management practices.

But in the 1970s and 1980s, many United States industries lost market share to international competitors, particularly Japanese companies. Concerns about the competitiveness of U. S. companies led some to examine Japanese management practices for clues to the success enjoyed by many of their industries. This led to many articles and books purporting to explain the success of Japanese companies. It was in this atmosphere that Theory Z was introduced into the management lexicon. Theory Z was first identified as a unique management approach by William Ouchi. Ouchi contrasted American types of organizations (Type A) that were rooted in the United States' tradition of individualism with Japanese organizations (Type J) that drew upon the Japanese heritage of collectivism. He argued that an emerging management philosophy, which came to be called Theory Z, would allow organizations to enjoy many of the advantages of both systems. Ouchi presented his ideas fully in the 1981 book, Theory Z: How American Companies Can Meet the Japanese Challenge. This book was among the best-selling management books of the 1980s.

Professor Ouchi advocated a modified American approach to management that would capitalize on the best characteristics of Japanese organizations while retaining aspects of management that are deeply rooted in U.S. traditions of individualism. Ouchi cited several companies as examples of Type Z organizations and proposed that a Theory Z management approach could lead to greater employee job satisfaction, lower rates of absenteeism and turnover, higher quality products, and better overall financial performance for U.S. firms adapting Theory Z management practices. The next section discusses Ouchi's suggestions for forging Theory Z within traditional American organizations.


Theory Z was first identified as a unique management approach by William Ouchi. Ouchi contrasted American types of organizations (Type A) that were rooted in the United States’ tradition of individualism with Japanese organizations (Type J) that drew upon the Japanese heritage of collectivism. He argued that an emerging management philosophy, which came to be called Theory Z, would allow organizations to enjoy many of the advantages of both systems. Ouchi presented his ideas fully in the 1981 book, Theory Z – How American Companies Can Meet the Japanese Challenge.

According to Professor Ouchi, Theory Z organizations exhibit a strong, homogeneous set of cultural values that are similar to clan cultures. The clan culture is characterized by homogeneity of values, beliefs, and objectives. Clan cultures emphasize complete socialization of members to achieve congruence of individual and group goals.

Although Theory Z organizations exhibit characteristics of clan cultures, they retain some elements of bureaucratic hierarchies, such as formal authority relationships, performance evaluation, and some work specialization. Proponents of Theory Z suggest that the common cultural values should promote greater organizational commitment among employees.

Theory Z has been adapted and modified for use in a number of U.S. companies. One adaptation involves workers in decisions through quality circles. Quality circles (also called quality-assurance teams) are small, usually having 5 to 8 members who discuss ways to reduce waste, eliminate problems, and improve quality, communication, and work satisfaction. Such quality teams are a common technique for harnessing the knowledge and creativity of hourly employees to solve problems in companies.

Theory Z is an approach to management based upon a combination of American and Japanese management philosophies and characterized by, among other things, long-term job security, consensual decision making, slow evaluation and promotion procedures, and individual responsibility within a group context. Proponents of Theory Z suggest that it leads to improvements in organizational performance. The following sections highlight the development of Theory Z, Theory Z as an approach to management including each of the characteristics noted above, and an evaluation of Theory Z. Realizing the historical context in which Theory Z emerged is helpful in understanding its underlying principles.



1. Increased productivity: The Japanese theory focus on the empowerment of employees through training and other motivational avenues and this leads to increased productivity of the employee.

2. Loyalty: The theory promotes loyalty among the employees. It focuses on providing job security to the employee who in turn becomes loyal to the company.

3. Employee satisfaction: The main goal is to ensure the employees are satisfied to work in the company. This helps boost their confidence and improve their creativity within the company.

4. Promotes trust and openness: Theory Z focuses on ensuring there is trust among the employees, managers, and other groups. Trust in the organization ensures there is openness and integrity among all individuals in the company.

5. Strong bond between employees and organization: Provision of a conducive working environment and participation in management promotes a sense of pride and belonging within the organization and this results in a strong bond between employees and the organization.

6. Employee involvement: Contribution of employees towards the decision of the firm act as a motivational strategy and employees will contribute to the success of the organization through their involvement.

7. Promotes teamwork: Theory Z ensures employees are able to work together as a team. There is no formal structure and the employees coordinate, share information, and resources with each other.

8. Commitment of employees: The Japanese management theory focuses on the development of employees’ skills and the creation of incentives that ensure there is coordination and commitment of employees in their daily responsibilities.

9. Promotes generalists: According to William Ouch, employees should be knowledgeable about various aspects of the company in order to participate in management decisions. The management should also have confidence in them.

10. Control system: This management style ensures there is an informal organizational structure that is aimed at boosting mutual trust among different groups of people in the organization.


1. Participative management not welcomed: Managers do not fully support employee participation in decision-making because of fear of the unknown.

2. Reluctant to initiate: Employees may be reluctant to participate in decision-making due to the fear of being criticized.

3. Employee retention: It is difficult to retain highly ambitious employees in the company. Even if you establish a great relationship and loyalty, the employees will leave to look for more job security.

4. Structured organization: According to Ouch, an organization should not be structured and this may lead to a lot of problems. Unstructured organization leads to a lack of responsibility.

5. Common culture: It is difficult to come up with a common culture supported by all employees. Each employee comes from a different culture and having a general culture for all is difficult.

6. Reduced performance: If there are no more rewards for a job well done, this results in a decrease in performance and some conflicts.

7. Not applicable to different cultures: The theory is based on Japanese management practices which have a unique culture thus, it may not be applied in other cultures.

8. No complete solution: This theory of management doesn’t offer a complete solution to various motivation problems of the organizations which operate in different environments


Management of school is one of the critical organization in which if care is not taken, it can thwarted the development of the learners thereby leading to poor academic performance and below are the ways in which the theory Z can be applied to achieved better managerial  goal in the school:

1. Trusteeship between Employer and Employee:

This is necessary in any cooperative effort. Management being a joint effort of employer and employee, (teachers) the faith and trust in each other is very vital to avoid conflict and to usher cooperation and harmony.

2. Possessiveness between Employees and Organisation:

Possessiveness is the outcome of feelings that the organisation understands the value of the worker (teachers). He is the most important factor in the production and also leads the organisation to prosperity. He also has an equal right in all the aspects of organisational growth and he is always proud of his organisation. He feels that he is a part and parcel of the organisation. This feeling can foster goodwill and harmony beneficial to both.

 3. Self-Direction and Self-Control:

Management control and fear of punishment are not the only solution for achieving organisational objectives. A committed teacher will always have self-direction and self-control for his performance.

4. Try to Learn and Shoulder Responsibility:

An average human being under proper conditions tries to learn about his responsibilities and also to shoulder them. There are certain inherent human characteristics like shirking responsibility and having a feeling of insecurity, which need to be cured. In the school organization, when a teacher feels that his occupation is secured, he or she will put in his best to work for the development of the school

5. Encouraging Human Creativity and Imagination:

Creative thinking and proper imagination can help solve many problems. This quality is commonly seen among people. This requires encouragement. If creative thinking is rightly directed, it can bring innovations and constructive changes in the organisation. This implying that the theory gives room for teachers to creatively improvise means whereby teaching and learning will be conducive to the learners and the teachers

6. Direction of Physical and Mental Efforts:

A normal human being likes to work. Individual considers the work for his satisfaction, both mental and physical. Work should not be a source of dissatisfaction and punishment.

7. Reward Commensurate with Achievement:

An individual’s efforts directed towards organisational objectives with wholehearted commitment can be the source of objective and subjective satisfaction. He will have a mental satisfaction and complacency that organisational goal and thus, satisfying his ego and self-actualisation needs.

8. Utilisation of Intellectual Potentials:

Advantage of intellectual potential is utilised only partially of the employed personnel in an organisation. Usually the organisational interests and the individual interests may reach conflicting situation due to vested interests of the management. It warrants a cooperative effort both from employees and management.


This theory is rooted in the idea that employees who are involved in and committed to an organization will be motivated to increase productivity. Based on the Japanese approach to management and motivation, Theory Z managers provide rewards such as long term employment, promotion from within, participatory management and other techniques to motivate employees.

This theory assumes that hiring exceptionally great people means that they should be allowed to grow professionally within the company. Theory Z eschews the hiring of specialists; it prefers to have loyal generalists who wish to learn every business function inside out. Workers should be cross-trained, rotated, rewarded, given freedom, and empowered to the point that their job becomes one of the most meaningful aspects of their lives. Under this theory, managers are on the same level as the rest of the employees, and auspicious decisions are made by the entire staff.

One of the most important tenets of this theory is that management must have a high degree of confidence in its workers in order for this type of participative management to work. While this theory assumes that workers will be participating in the decisions of the company to a great degree, the employees must be very knowledgeable about the various issues of the company, as well as possessing the competence to make those decisions. The management sometimes has a tendency to underestimate the ability of the workers to effectively contribute to the decision making process.

Theory Z stresses the need for enabling the workers to become generalists, rather than specialists, and to increase their knowledge of the company and its processes through job rotations and continual training. In fact, promotions tend to be slower in this type of setting, as workers are given a much longer opportunity to receive training and more time to learn the intricacies of the company’s operations.

The desire, under this theory, is to develop a work force, which has more of a loyalty towards staying with the company for an entire career, and be more permanent than in other types of settings. It is expected that once an employee does rise to a position of high level management, they will know a great deal more about the company and how it operates, and will be able to use Theory Z management theories effectively on the newer employees.


In conclusion, the community is the next-of-kin of school organization, and requires a joint responsibility of the administrator and the community. Although the school serves the community, it is the function or duty of this administrator to make the first move of positive relationship with the community. The educational enterprise is an open system. A social organization thrives on effective interrelationships within it and with its relevant publics. Through is application of theory Z, the school organization will be able to achieve the set goals of education because were the employers and the employees are in good terms, there is bound to be development in the school.


Barney, J. "An Interview with William Ouchi." Academy of Management Executive 18, no. 4 (2004): 108–117.

Daft, R.L. "Theory Z: Opening the Corporate Door for Participative Management." Academy of Management Executive 18, no. 4 (2004): 117–122.

Leonard, D., and W.C. Swap. Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2005.

Ouchi, W.G. Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese Challenge. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1981.






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