Herzberg motivation theory

Easy Guide To Herzberg Motivation Theory (Two Factor Theory)

Two Factor Theory (Herzberg Motivation Theory)

It is Frederick Herzberg, a behavioral scientist who developed the two-factor theory of work motivation in 1959. It is also known as motivation-hygiene theory, dual-factor theory, Herzberg motivation theory. He identified employee’s job satisfaction and dissatisfaction factors namely motivating factors and hygiene factors through interviews.

Herzberg is among the first behavioral scientists to look at motivating employees from different angles. His two-factor theory is based on the contents of interviews conducted on 200 engineers and accountants. In carrying the research, Herzberg and his associates asked participants to describe job experiences that produced good and bad feelings about their jobs. From the research, he found that there are two sets of needs or factors, viz. hygiene factors and motivating factors.

Let’s understand the two factors of Herzberg motivation theory:

Two factor theory of motivation

#1 Hygiene Factors

In Herzberg two factor theory, hygiene factors are also known as dissatisfiers or maintenance factors. These are external to the job itself. The presence of these factors does not motivate employees but the absence of it causes dissatisfaction. When these factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied but they will not be satisfied either. Hygiene factors include:

  • Company Policy and Administration
  • Supervision
  • Relationship with Supervisor
  • Working Conditions
  • Salary
  • Relationship with Peers
  • Personal Life
  • Relationship with Subordinates
  • Job Security
  • Status
  • Security, etc.

These factors are necessary to maintain a minimum level of need satisfaction. They bring employees to zero levels of motivation from the negative direction. Therefore, Herzberg felt that managers have to focus on hygiene or maintenance factors. If they do not focus on these factors, the desired behaviors will not be obtained from the employees.

#2 Motivating Factors

In Herzberg two factor theory, motivating factors are also known as motivators, satisfiers, or job content factors. These factors are job-centered and relate directly to the job itself. The presence of motivating factors causes a high level of motivation and job satisfaction, whereas their absence does not cause high dissatisfaction. Motivating factors include:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Advancement
  • Work Itself
  • Personal Growth
  • Responsibility

Herzberg came to the conclusion that enriched jobs are the key to motivating employees. An employee is motivated to devote his best effort only when he finds challenging jobs, the scope of innovation, freedom, growth, and recognition of his efforts and achievement from the management.

According to Herzberg, satisfaction is affected by motivators and dissatisfaction is by hygiene factors. It should be noted that one’s hygiene factors may be the motivating factors of another. Therefore, a manager needs to identify the behavior of subordinates to inspire them to get things done. He needs to know worker’s psychology and treat them accordingly.

Evaluation of Herzberg Motivation Theory

Many scholars appreciated Herzberg two factor theory of motivation whereas many criticized it. Some usefulness and criticisms of Herzberg two factor theory are as follows:

Usefulness/Importance of Two Factor Theory

An important contribution of the two-factor theory is that hygiene factors consisting of good monetary benefit, better working environment, and other welfare activities of the job context do not lead to a high level of motivation, they are only preventive measures. Motivating factors consisting of challenging jobs, job responsibility and achievement, recognition, etc. are crucial for employee’s motivation.

Following are the usefulness of Herzberg two factor theory,

  • Herzberg first introduced the concept of research and experiment on work motivation.
  • Financial incentives like salary, wage, and other fringe benefits only are not the motivating factors.
  • Hygiene factors prevent dissatisfaction whereas motivating factors provide satisfaction.
  • It emphasizes the value of job redesign and job enrichment in motivation.
  • It focuses on that job satisfaction is not the opposite of job dissatisfaction.

Criticisms of Two Factor Theory

Though Herzberg’s motivation theory has gained widespread popularity among businesses and other organizations, it is criticized by many management scholars. Following are the limitations of Herzberg two factor theory:

  • Herzberg drew conclusions from a limited experiment covering only engineers and accountants.
  • In his study, subordinates were asked to report exceptionally good or exceptionally bad moments. This methodology is defective as it creates a bias among human beings at the time of giving answers.
  • There may not be any direct cause and effect relationship between satisfaction and performance.
  • In this theory, too much emphasis has been given to job enrichment. However, on-the-job enrichment is not only motivational but off-the-job satisfaction of workers is also more important.
  • It is difficult to differentiate job context factors from job content factors because in many cases job context factors have elements of positive satisfaction to jobholders.

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