Frederick Herzberg, an American psychologist mostly known for introducing the two-factor theory or Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory. His theory tries to get to the root of motivation in the workplace. According to Herzberg’s Model theory, there are some job factors in the workplace that result in satisfaction while there are other job factors that cause dissatisfaction.
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Herzberg Model defined two sets of factors in determining an employee’s working attitude and level of performance name Motivation and Hygiene factors.
- Motivators: Motivation factors are essential to motivate an employee to higher performance.
Examples: Meaningful and challenging work, recognition for one’s achievement, responsibility, involvement in decision making, sense of importance to an organization, etc.
- Hygiene factors: These do not lead higher motivation or cause satisfaction but in its absence there is dissatisfaction. The term hygiene is used in the sense that these are maintenance factors. Hygiene factors are extrinsic to work.
Examples: Pay, job security, company policies, security, status, etc.
The Four Combinations
According to Herzberg’s Model, here are 4 possible combinations:
- High Hygiene and High Motivation: The perfect situation where employees are highly motivated and have fewer complaints.
- High Hygiene and Low Motivation: Employees have fewer complaints but are not highly motivated. The job is viewed as a pay check.
- Low Hygiene and High Motivation: Employees are motivated but have a lot of complaints. A situation where the job is exciting and challenging but salaries and work conditions are not up to standard or par.
- Low Hygiene + Low Motivation: Employees are not motivated and have many complaints.
Unlike Maslow, who gave little data to support his ideas, Herzberg and others have presented considerable empirical evidence to confirm the motivation-hygiene theory, although their work has been criticized on methodological grounds.
Limitations of the Theory
- The theory applies to white collar workers only.
- The most common criticism in this theory is that happy and satisfied workers produce more, which might not be the case. For example, if playing a better game of badminton is the means chosen to satisfy one’s need for recognition, then one will find ways to play and think about badminton more often, perhaps resulting in a lower output on the job due to a lower amount of focus.
- There is no objective way to measure employee satisfaction in this theory.
Implications of Two-Factor Theory
The Two-Factor theory implies that the managers or supervisors must stress upon guaranteeing the adequacy of the hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction. Also, the managers must make sure that the job is stimulating and rewarding so that the employees are motivated to work and perform harder and better.
This theory emphasises upon job-enrichment so as to motivate the employees. The work must utilize the employee’s skills and competencies to the maximum. Focusing on motivational factors can improve the quality of work.
Questions on Herzberg’s Model
Ques 01. _____ cause dissatisfaction in the workplace, are extrinsic to the work itself and linked to compensation and job security.
- Progression principles
- Hygiene factor
Job enrichment factors