From the mouth of a pig, good management
advice, May 13, 2007, 2D.
The 1995 movie Babe
introduced the world to Farmer Hoggetts talking sheep and barnyard animals. Babe the pig was the star of the movie along
with his co-star Fly the border collie, who became Babes adoptive mother. Fly comforted Babe and counseled him on how to
fit in on the farm. She even tried to teach
Babe how to herd sheep.
In one scene, Farmer Hoggett sends Babe
into a corral with instructions to round up some sheep and lead them out. Being Babes first time to undertake such a
task, he is uncertain how to get the job done. He
first tries running into the sheep pen making dog noises, but the sheep ignore him. Babe and Fly then have the following conversation:
Babe: This is
it's only your first try. But you're treating them like equals. They're sheep, they're
Babe: Oh, no
Fly: Of course they are. We are
their masters, Babe. Let them doubt it for a second and they'll walk all over you.
Babe: They'll laugh at me.
Fly: Then bite
them! Be ruthless, whatever it takes. Bend them to your will!
After biting one of the sheep on the leg,
Babe is reprimanded by the sheep and begins to cry. The
sheep tell him that he does not need to be mean and bossing, rather, he should just ask
them kindly. Babe did, and the sheep
willingly complied. After completing the
task, Fly asked Babe:
Fly: All right,
how did you do it?
Babe: I asked
them and they did it. I just asked them nicely.
Fly: We don't
ask sheep, dear; we tell them what to do.
Babe: But I did,
Mom. They were really friendly.
Babes experiences with the sheep
demonstrate Douglas McGregors concepts of Theory X and Theory Y management. McGregors theories describe two different
attitudes that mangers have about workers. A
Theory X attitude is one that workers inherently dislike work and will try to avoid it if
they can. Theory X managers view workers as
lazy, irresponsible, untrustworthy, and in need of firm and constant supervision.
A Theory Y attitude is that workers
desire to excel and are inherently good and eager to work.
Theory Y managers try to create positive work environments for their workers
and provide them with growth and development opportunities.
Theory Y managers respect, trust, and look out for the best interests of the
workerswhich is typically returned by the workers.
Babes Theory Y attitude toward the sheep led to the films
The attitudes that managers have about
their workers come out in the ways they work and interact with them. Theory X managers tend to rely on coercion and
intimidation to get workers to perform. Theory
Y managers use persuasion, inspirational appeals, and personal power. Optimal work outcomes tend to arise under
conditions of mutual trust, respect, and cooperationa consequence of Theory Y
attitudes. Maybe we can all learn something
from a talking pig.
to Articles Page