Theories of Motivation in the Workplace: Meg Whitman

Essay by mbholzmbUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 2011

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Meg Whitman


Meg Whitman is not the typical success story that people turn to when they need motivation. She did not have to overcome a horrible childhood or face a life threatening disease, there were no devastating setbacks or traumatic experiences that shaped her life. Instead, she has led a very impressive life marked by one good decision after another. Hers is not a story of an underdog but instead a brilliant display of the power of motivation. Meg grew up in an upper-class waterfront community near Long Island, New York with two older siblings, a successful father and a stay-at-home mother. She graduated high school one year early and in the top ten percent of her class. After high school she was accepted into Princeton University, where she would receive her Bachelor's degree in economics. Next, she attended Harvard Business School where she earned her Master's in business administration.

Shortly after graduation, she married her college sweetheart, Griffith Harsh and the two set out on a life journey that would take them across the country and back chasing opportunity (Whitman, & Hamilton, 2010).

Theory Y

Douglas McGregor developed a theory that divided people into two categories; those who believe that people are mostly good and those who do not. Theory X managers believe that if people are left to their own device, they will be lazy and unproductive. These managers feel that micromanagement is the only way to ensure that work gets done correctly and on time. On the other hand, Theory Y managers believe that people want to do well in their professional life and just require a little guidance every now and then to make them successful (Latham, 2007).

Theory Y Applied

One of the things that attracted Meg to the eBay CEO position was the...