Douglas McGregor was born in 1906 in the bustling border metropolis of Detroit, Michigan. McGregor worked as night clerk at the McGregor Institute and also played piano at its regular services. The Institute was very much a family affair which provides temporary accommodation for around 100 transient workers at a time. At 17, McGregor briefly considered becoming a lay preacher, enroll for a psychology degree at the College of the City of Detroit (now Wayne State University). At 19, he decided to get married, drop out of College altogether and earn his living as a gas station attendant in Buffalo. By 1930, McGregor had risen to the rank of Regional Gas Station Manager.
Due to high unemployment caused by the depression, McGregor institute received a grant to increase its facility. This encouraged Douglas to resume his studies. He completed his first degree in 1932. He then went to Harvard where he completed his MA and PH.D in Psychology. For the next two years he stayed on at Harvard as a psychology lecturer. In 1937 he set up an Industrial Relations Section at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1948, he became the President of Antioch College and was there for 6 years.
Douglas McGregor (1906 - 1964) is one of the forefathers of management theory and one of the top business thinkers of all time. He was a social psychologist who became the President of Antioch College. He later became a professor of management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (he was succeeded by Warren Bennis). His book The Human Side of Enterprise (1960) had a profound influence on the management field, largely due to his Theory X and Theory Y.
McGregor developed a philosophical view of humankind with his Theory X and Theory Y in 1960. His work is based upon Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, in that he grouped the hierarchy into lower-order needs (Theory X) and higher-order needs (Theory Y). He suggested that management could use either set of needs to motivate employees, but better results would be gained by the use of Theory Y, rather than Theory X. These two opposing perceptions theorized how people view human behavior at work and organizational life: