Why Do People Work? Brief Answer Using Herzberg's Theory

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Herzberg's two-factor theory of motivation is based on the assumption that we can ascribe an analogous set of needs to all individuals and is therefore catalogued as a content theory of motivation. The theory distinguishes two sets of needs; motivators and hygienes. Motivators increase the satisfaction and motivation of employees and include recognition, achievement, advancement, autonomy, and other intrinsic aspects of work. On the other hand, hygiene factors, such as supervision, salary, work environment, company policies, and relationship with colleagues, do not motivate but stop dissatisfaction. These factors are necessary for motivators to have effect. Herzberg's two-factor theory can help evaluate what other incentives work has apart from earning money.

According to Herzberg´s theory, salary is a hygiene and does not motivate people to go to work, but prevents them from being unhappy and frustrated. An adequate salary is therefore needed along with the other hygienes for the motivators to promote psychological growth and development. Consequently, what people really want to gain from work is something which motivates and satisfies them. Hygienes are only necessary to reach these motivators. People want to be recognised in the organisation; they want to feel responsible for their own work; feel that the job helps them to grow as human beings; and learn new things and undergo new experiences while in it. Before trying to provide the motivators for this ultimate gain a person must not be dissatisfied with his or her job and hence what he or she tries to achieve from working is an enjoyable working environment, with a sufficient wage, good company policies, nice supervision, and a positive relationship with his or her colleagues.

So what can a person gain from work apart from money if we base ourselves in Herzberg's two-factor theory of motivation? A pleasurable environment which feels comfortable to work in, a good relationship with colleagues, or a...
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