Herzberg Two Factor Theory and Major Critisms

Topics: Motivation, Employment, Two-factor theory Pages: 7 (2241 words) Published: March 21, 2012
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Frederick Herzberg’s (1959) is a behavioural scientist who proposed a two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory. In his theory, Herzberg suggested that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are caused by different and independent sets of factors. A study was conducted in which two hundred (203) accountants and engineers were interviewed. They asked open-ended questions which required them to recall times when they have felt either negative or positive at work as well as their reasons for having felt that way. Their job attitudes were analyzed and in an effort to understand what motivated and satisfied employees based on his findings the two-factor theory was established. According to his theory, he found that when people are satisfied, they attribute their satisfaction to the work itself, while when people are dissatisfied with their jobs; they are concerned with the environment in which they work. There are some job factors that provide satisfaction to employees while others prevent employees from being dissatisfied. The traditional view states that if one is not satisfied then they are dissatisfied. However to Herzberg, satisfaction is not the opposite of dissatisfaction, there is either satisfaction or no satisfaction, there is dissatisfaction and no dissatisfaction (see Figure 1 below).

Herzberg placed the job factors into two categories, these are hygiene and motivation. As per his findings there are certain characteristics of a job that contribute to satisfaction while there is a completely different set that led to dissatisfaction. He believed that job satisfaction is caused by a set of motivating factors, related to the nature of the job, achievement in the work, recognition and promotion opportunities. These motivators should promote persons to higher job performance; alternatively, job dissatisfaction is as a result of “the conditions that surround the doing of the job,” such as physical working conditions, salary, job security, and relations with others, which he called hygiene or maintenance factors. These are not an intrinsic part of a job but refer to the environment and has a function of preventing job dissatisfaction. It is important to underline that if hygiene factors are at a very low level, workers are dissatisfied, but the reverse is not true. When hygiene factors are satisfied and the environment is good, workers are not dissatisfied, but not necessarily satisfied and they are motivated to higher performances. However, when motivators are satisfied, workers are satisfied and often this satisfaction leads to better performances. Factors Affecting Job Attitudes

Hygiene Factors
Hygiene factors are those which enable employees to feel motivated. While they did not lead to long term satisfaction, without them employees would experience dissatisfaction. In other words, they helped employees not to feel dissatisfied. These factors represent the needs that employees wanted and expected to be fulfilled. Examples of Hygiene factors are:

1.Pay – this should be suitable and satisfactory. It should be equal to and competitive with salary being paid to others in the same industry in the same regions. 2.Company and administrative policies – these should be flexible, fair and clear. For example, working hours should be flexible, dress code, breaks, vacations, etc. 3.Fringe benefits – health care plans should be offered to employees as well as benefits for family members. 4.Physical working conditions - these should be safe, clean and hygienic with modern or updated equipment in good working condition. 5.Status – the position that the employee holds should be well known and kept. 6.Interpersonal relations – all employees whether in managerial or supervisory positions should have a good working relationship free from conflict or humiliation. 7.Job security – this should be provided for employees.

All of the factors mentioned above can eliminate job...

References: Allen, W. R., Gilmore, H. L. (1993). What do Managers Do? Fourth Edition.
De Leon, E.B. (2005). Industrial Psychology. Motivation, Job Satisfaction and Job Involvement.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., Snyderman, B.B. The Motivation to Work. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers; 1993.
Herzberg, F. (1987), “One more time: How do you motivate employees?” Harvard Business Review, Sep/Oct. 87, Vol. 65 Issue 5, p109-120.
Motivation in the Workplace - Motivational theory: Herzberg’s two factor Theory. Retrieved from: www.bizhelp24.com/personsl/employment-and-development/motivation-in-the-workplace.html. July 2010.
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