Topics: Motivation, Frederick Herzberg, Employment Pages: 15 (5074 words) Published: December 8, 2012
European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online) Vol 3, No.9, 2011

Application of Frederick Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory in assessing and understanding employee motivation at work: a Ghanaian Perspective Kwasi Dartey-Baah (Corresponding Author) Department of Organisation & Human Resource Management, University of Ghana Business School P.O. Box LG78, Legon, Accra-Ghana, West Africa Telephone: 00233209621292 Email:

George Kofi Amoako Department of Marketing, Central Business School P.O. Box 2305, Tema, Ghana, West Africa Telephone: 00233202620174 Email: Abstract This paper critically examines Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory and assesses its application and relevance in understanding the essential factors that motivate the Ghanaian worker. The two-factor theory of motivation explains the factors that employees find satisfying and dissatisfying about their jobs. These factors are the hygiene factors and motivators. The hygiene factors when absent can lead to dissatisfaction in the work place but when fully catered for in the work environment on their own are not sufficient to satisfy workers whereas the motivators referring to the nature of the job, provide satisfaction and lead to higher motivation. This paper adds to the understanding of what motivates the Ghanaian worker most and creates the platform for a re-evaluation of the thinking and viewpoint that workers rate motivator factors higher than the hygiene factors in the work setting. Keywords: Frederick Herzberg, hygiene factors, motivators, employee, Ghana 1. Introduction There are numerous motivation theories that have influenced the way organisations manage employees to achieve a motivated work force. These theories attempt to explain why people behave the way they do and advice on factors and strategies which when employed can get the best out of employees in terms of their commitment to work. Notwithstanding, because of the complex nature of the issues worth considering when motivating people, it is always not an easy task when it comes to organisations motivating workers for effective performance. Vroom and Deci (1970) put it: "The question of what motivates workers to perform effectively is not an easy one to answer". Indeed, a motive is something, which impels a person to act, a reason for behaviour. Motivation refers to the forces within an individual that account for the level, direction and persistence of effort expended at work Schermerhorn et al (1985). Competition as a result of globalisation, information technology and industrialisation has compelled managers all over the world to seek to motivate their employees in order to get the best out of them and to stay competitive. This has led managers to employ all sorts of techniques to motivate and satisfy their employees. Although managers are quick to sometimes provide incentives like salary increases, provide security and good working relationships and opportunities for growth and advancement; the question is; do these incentives motivate and satisfy employees to give off their best at the workplace? Frederick Herzberg in a bid to understand this question and the issue of employee satisfaction and motivation in the 1950s and 60s set out to determine the effect of attitude on motivation by asking people to


European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online) Vol 3, No.9, 2011

describe situations where they felt really good and really bad about their jobs. Herzberg found out that people who felt good about their jobs gave very different responses from the people who felt bad. The results formed the basis of Herzberg’s ‘Motivation-Hygiene Theory’ also known as the ‘Two-Factor Theory’. The conclusions he drew from this theory were extraordinarily influential and still form the bedrock of good motivational...

References: Adair, J E. (2004), “The Concise Adair on Teambuilding and Motivation”, Neil Thomas, London, Thorogood. Buckinham, M & Coffman, C. (1999), “First, Break All the Rules: What the World 's Great Managers Do
European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online) Vol 3, No.9, 2011
Differently”, Publishers: Simon & Schuster.
Vroom, V. & Deci, E.(1970), “Management and Motivation”. Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Performance, Vol 8, Issue 2, pp (217-229).
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