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Herzberg Two-Factor Theory

30 October, 2015 - 15:11

In 1959, Frederick Herzberg published The Motivation to Work,  1 which described his studies to determine which aspects in a work environment caused satisfaction or dissatisfaction. He performed interviews in which employees were asked what pleased and displeased them about their work. From his research, he developed the motivation-hygiene theory to explain these results.

The things that satisfied the employees were motivators, while the dissatisfiers were the hygiene factors. He further said the hygiene factors were not necessarily motivators, but if not present in the work environment, they would actually cause demotivation. In other words, the hygiene factors are expected and assumed, while they may not necessarily motivate.

His research showed the following as the top six motivation factors:

  1. Achievement
  2. Recognition
  3. The work itself
  4. Responsibility
  5. Advancement
  6. Growth

The following were the top six hygiene factors:

  1. Company policies
  2. Supervision
  3. Relationship with manager
  4. Work conditions
  5. Salary
  6. Relationship with peers

The implication of this research is clear. Salary, for example, is on the hygiene factor list. Fair pay is expected, but it doesn’t actually motivate someone to do a better job. On the other hand, programs to further develop employees, such as management training programs, would be considered a motivator. Therefore, our retention plans should be focused on the area of fair salary of course, but if they take the direction of Herzberg’s motivational factors, the actual motivators tend to be the work and recognition surrounding the work performed.