Module: Organisational Behaviour
Assessment Name: Academic Essay
Word Count: 2200
Accoring to Agarwal, (2007) organisation and management have been analysed and theorised since man first collaboratively worked together to achieve common goals. Motivational theory explores “ forces acting on or within a person that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of goal-directed, voluntary effect” and is a frequently investigated area of organisational behaviour (Barnet & Simmering, 2006. P.563). With no one unanimously supported theory, it is not surprising that each theory’s development attracts a flock of critics, each dedicating time and resources to questioning validity. Miner, (2007) gives a comprehensive account of theory, describing a good theory as one that presents unique insights, is interesting, purposeful, testable and well written, adding depth to the literature it is grounded in. It is from this yard stick that this essay aims to evaluate the two content theories developed by Frederick Hertzberg and David McClelland. Initially, each theory will be overviewed, to develop a general understanding of the conclusions made regarding motivational strategy. An evaluation of the strengths and limitations each theory presents will follow, identifying how these assessments can be applied to contemporary organisations. Through this it will be shown that regardless of the limitations theories experience, their development and subsequent scrutiny, continues to uncover the enormous potential associated with understanding and respecting the internal motivational make up of individuals.
Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Fredrick Hertzberg developed the Two-Factor Theory after conducting a study in the 1950s, which approached 200 engineers and accountants from different companies. Using the critical incidence technique, Hertzberg asked open questions, encouraging interviewees to identify and prioritise factors effecting their job fulfilment (Kondalkar, 2007). From this research Hertzberg suggested job satisfaction be approached by identifying ‘motivational factors’ with the potential to lead to satisfaction and ‘hygiene factors’ that risk dissatisfaction if not maintained to an appropriate standard (Kondalkar). Motivating factors were found to be associated with job content whilst hygiene factors stemmed from the context in which the job was performed (Wood et al, 2010). Diagram one, lists these factors and illustrates the limitations Hertzberg discovered in linking high-level motivation with hygiene factors. That is, “any improvement in hygiene factors do not motivate workers but their reduction below a certain level will dissatisfy them” (Kondalkar, p. 106). Also, it can be seen that no overlapping factors relating to both satisfaction and dissatisfaction exist, as the conclusion was made that they were independent “rather than opposite extremes on a single continuum as traditional views had held” (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010, p. 130).
(Content taken from Kondalhar, 2007, pp. 105-106)
Upon evaluation, a number of criticisms have come forward, many relating to the breadth of Hertzberg’s study. The research involved limited respondents; all male white-collar workers in accounting and engineering firms; therefore the needs of many occupational groups were not reflected (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010). Also the study failed to recognize individual diversity and the varying prioritisation of needs relating to ones age, gender and culture (Wood et al, 2010). Wagner and Hollenbeck (2010), question Hertzberg’s “critical-incident technique” claiming that it “is a questionable research method, subject to errors in perception…memory and…subconscious biases” (p. 131). This view is echoed by Wood et al (2010), who are concerned that Hertzberg’s method may have encouraged respondents to attribute positive...