Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y have both their advantages and disadvantages, though many would prefer to call them their strengths and weaknesses. The biggest advantage of using Theory X and Theory Y is that they are easy to understand. In addition to this, they can help a manager to focus on his thoughts on the different ways in which individuals relate to and carry out work.
Although the theories are not used explicitly today, due to their disadvantages or weaknesses, they can provide a guiding principle of positive approaches to management. McGregor's methodology was flawed and in turn his conclusions were not even representative of the material that was defective. While his theory suggests that most people fall into certain work attitude extremes, his samples did not provide the evidence to support it. Many argue that although the theories are easy to understand they are far too simplistic to be useful.
The theories do not stand up to any criticism or scrutiny. In McGregor's Theory X it is suggested that management assumes employees are lazy and will try to avoid work if and when they can. They are also suggested to assume that employees inherently dislike work. This theory has been proven counter-effective in most modern workplaces and practise. In comparison, Theory Y has the idea that the managements assumes all employees are ambitious and self-motivated.
The management are suggested to assume that all employees exercise self-control and that they enjoy their mental and physical work duties. The latter theory has a much more positive view about employees and it is suggested that the employer is under a lot less pressure than one who is influenced by the management style of Theory X. McGregor considers Theory X and Theory Y as two different continua in themselves, they are not different ends of the same continuum.