This article throws light upon the top five models of organisation behaviour which represent beliefs about how managers think and act. The models are: 1. Autocratic Model 2. Custodial Model 3. Supportive Model 4. Collegial Model 5. Systems Model.

1. Autocratic Model:

This model assumes that workers are lazy and dislike work. They do not assume responsibility for work and prefer to be directed by managers. They do not take initiative to work. Managers work in a formal environment and make use of authority to get the work done. Employees follow the orders and become dependant on them for fulfillment of their needs. Managers issue orders and instructions by virtue of their position and authority.

They use negative forces of motivation like threats and punishments to which the employees simply obey. They are not committed to the managers. There is strict and close supervision to get the desired performance from the employees, communication is one-way (top to bottom) and interaction of managers with employees is minimum.

This model is largely based on McGregor’s. Theory X assumptions about motivating employees which believes in external control to deal with employees or the exploitative- authoritative style of leadership. Employees’ performance is bare minimum in such situations as managers can use their authority to fire the employees.


Though this model is not much in use in the contemporary business environment, its use is appropriate when:

(a) Urgent action is required,

(b) Employees are unskilled, inexperienced and submissive and

(c) Employees have strong lower-order needs to satisfy.

2. Custodial Model:


Use of autocratic model develops frustration amongst employees as it is based on economic concept of the man. It assumes that people work mainly to satisfy their physiological needs. As this is not the case, there develops a sense of insecurity amongst employees and they look forward to satisfy their security needs also.

In order to overcome the frustration and develop better relationship with employees, managers follow the custodial model of direction. Managers use economic resources to provide fringe benefits and other economic rewards, like pension, gratuity etc. to employees. Money is used as a strong motivator to satisfy their security needs (job security); though, however, their physiological needs are largely met in the autocratic model.

Rather than being dependant on the managers or boss, employees become dependent on the organisation in this model. They want the organisation to provide them fair wages for which they cooperate with the management. Money serves as a maintenance factor as propounded by Herzberg.

It, thus believes in power of money rather than power of authority. Though workers are not dissatisfied with their jobs, they are not motivated to perform better. They are not allowed to participate in the decision­-making process, they cannot decide their rewards and, therefore, they are happy but are not motivated.


It assumes that managers know what is best for them. They are their custodians and decide what is good for them. This approach of paternalism does not work for employees who have strong higher-order needs of ego satisfaction, recognition and achievement. Workers in this approach are, thus, happy but not productive.

3. Supportive Model:

While autocratic model aims at satisfying physiological needs through use of power and custodial model aims at satisfying their safety needs through use of money, the supportive model aims to satisfy their psychological needs also besides physiological and safety needs through participative style of management.

Managers adopt relationship-oriented organisation behaviour and allow employees to participate in the decision-making process. Communication is two-way and a healthy work climate is ensured which takes care of the human side of the organisation. It provides supportive climate in the organisation where innovative abilities of employees are exploited to their fullest and they contribute to organisational goals to the best of their abilities.

Managers, thus, focus on human relations and attribute organisational success to satisfaction of human needs. There is synchronization of individual goals with organisational goals as both, organisation and employees work to satisfy each other’s needs. They have an attitude of care and understanding for each other. This model is similar to Theory Y assumptions of McGregor’s theory of motivation.


This model is appropriate when:

(a) Workers’ higher-order needs are predominant,

(b) They are self-motivated to work, and 

(c) Managers have trust and confidence in the employees.

4. Collegial Model:


‘Collegial’ means a body of people working together for a common purpose. This model aims at teamwork. People work together as a team. They are self-directed and take independent charge of their work. They set high targets, have full potential for development and are skilled at their work.

This model is an extension of supportive model. The manager, however, does not need to direct the workers through some kind of incentives. People have strong higher-order needs and produce goods results at work.

Since managers know their team is confident, capable and motivated, they often step back and let the people go on with their tasks. Managers empower the group to achieve their goals by handing over ownership to them. People look at organisational tasks as their own tasks and work hard to bring goodwill to the company.

This model is appropriate when:


1. Work is unstructured that requires people to use their innovative abilities.

2. Work is intellectually challenging where people are required to exhibit behavioural flexibility.

3. People have freedom to work to fulfill their higher-order needs; achievement; recognition; challenge at work.

5. Systems Model:

Under this model, people work to satisfy their self-actualisation needs; need to become what they want to become or to do what they want to do. They look for challenge and meaning in their work and are not satisfied by mere financial rewards. Employees do not see organisations as different from themselves.


They go beyond self- discipline and self-motivation and work to create organisational culture that serves as a benchmark for others. Organisations take benefit of such employees and employees also view organisations as a source of fulfillment of their needs. There is, thus, synchronization or mutuality of interests between the organisation and the employees. It requires transformational leaders who let the people decide for themselves and also for their organisations.

On analysing these models, it cannot be generalized whether one model is better than the other or any model is the best. These models are based on assumptions about people and how they react to different situations. Primarily, these models depend upon need hierarchy of the individuals. As one moves up the hierarchy, there is a shift in the model from autocratic to systems model.

When people have:

(a) Strong physiological needs, managers adopt autocratic model;

(b) In case of strong security needs, custodial model works better;

(c) In case of social and esteem needs, the best results are given when supportive model is adopted;


(d) High-order needs of achievement and self-actualisation are met through collegial and systems model.

Thus, it is observed that as one moves up the need hierarchy, each successive model focuses on human side of the organisations.

Use of these models is contingent upon the situation, which may relate to policies of the organisation, its culture and climate, the level at which people work, their level of maturity, work environment, personality factors etc.

However, in the contemporary business environment, people are important assets of the organisation and managers no more see them as passive and immature workers. They are independent, mature and prefer to work in an environment of participative style of management. There is, thus, tendency to focus more on supportive models. These models get the best out of workers, help in morale building and achieve the ultimate objective; organisational effectiveness.