The general, underlying structure of the theory is outlined below: 

The psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding process in which older behavioral systems or levels become progressively subordinated to newer, higher order systems. The individual tends to change psychology, or level of existence, as the conditions of existence or environment change.                                                                          

Each successive system or level is a state of equilibrium through which the individual may pass on to further levels. When an individual is in one of the states of equilibrium the person has a psychology that is particular to that state. The persons’ acts, feelings, motivations, ethics and values, concepts, perceptions, responses to stimuli, thoughts, and preferences for management are all appropriate to that psychological level. If the person were functioning at a different level, the acts, feelings, motivations, thoughts, and preferences would be different.

A person may change, in a stepwise progressive or regressive manner through a hierarchially ordered series of levels, or may stabilize for a lifetime at any one or a combination of levels in the hierarchy. The behavior of any level may be shown in a predominately positive or negative manner. The facility to change will be determined by both genetic or constitutional potential and the individual’s conditions of existence or environment.

Thus, an individual lives in a potentially open system of levels of existence, but often settles into what approximates a closed system - if either or both factors for change is lacking. When at any one level, the individual has only the behavioral degrees of freedom afforded at that level. 

Therefore, an individual can respond positively only to managerial principles appropriate to that person’s level of existence, or psychology, and will respond negatively to a managerial style not appropriate to the level. As the persons’ environment or conditions of existence change and if the potential for change exists, the individual will begin to live by a different psychology requiring a change in management style. The preceding “appropriate” management principles, if unchanged, are now likely to result in negative behavior on the individual’s part.

            The concepts above are not new ideas. The more experienced and successful mangers seem to have arrived at a common-sense feel for the ”differences,” “pattern of differences,” and “pattern to change.” Intuitively, perhaps, or through understanding of the above these managers provide each individual within the work group with a management style that is in tune with that individual’s specific needs. The true task of management in the consideration of managerial style is not to seek a monolithic style and become proficient in its application, but rather to learn of the psychological differences or levels of people, see the pattern to these levels, and provide the style of management appropriate for each level. The improvement in overall organizational life, effectiveness, productivity, and performance when it is done is more than sufficient return on the effort. 

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