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Herzberg Two-factor Theory of Motivation

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Herzberg Two-factor Theory of Motivation essay
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In 1959, Frederick Herzberg, a behavioral scientist proposed a two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory. According to Herzberg, there are some job factors that result in satisfaction while there are other job factors that prevent dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg, the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No satisfaction” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.

This means that in order to achieve higher performance of employees it’s necessary to eliminate the factors that create dissatisfaction in order to create a sort of foundation and then on the base of it it is possible to build a motivation system by adding the factors that create satisfaction. The hygiene factors are: money (the salary should be internally fair and externally competitive), supervision (employees need to feel the feedback, supervision should be effective, supportive and non-intrusive), work conditions, relationship within a group (culture of respect and dignity), job security.

Remedying the causes of dissatisfaction will not create satisfaction. But it creates a base for motivation. To create satisfaction, Herzberg says you need to address the motivating factors associated with work. He called this “job enrichment.” The motivators are: achievement, recognition, praise, work itself (interesting and meaningful work), responsibility (here we can see an application of theory Y, that people are motivated by responsibility and a possibility to solve problems), promotion, growth, a possibility of learning.

According to Herzberg, the hygiene factors cannot be regarded as motivators. The motivational factors yield positive satisfaction. These factors are inherent to work and motivate the employees for a superior performance. Employees find these factors, which can also be called «satisfiers», intrinsically rewarding. The motivators symbolize the psychological needs that are perceived as an additional benefit.

The Two-Factor theory implies that the managers must stress upon guaranteeing the adequacy of the hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction. Also, the managers must make sure that the work is stimulating and rewarding so that the employees are motivated to work and perform harder and better. This theory emphasizes upon job-enrichment so as to motivate the employees. The job must utilize the employee’s skills and acompetencies to the maximum. Focusing on the motivational factors can improve work-quality.

However, there are some weak points the the theory:

  • the fact that people tend to blame failure on external environment and to take credit themselves when the things go well may affect the evaluation process.
  • there is no overall measure of satisfaction – an employee may dislike a part of his or her job but like it overall
  • Herzberg assumed but did not investigate the direct correlation between satisfaction and productivity.

Anyway Herzberg theory and the questionnaire based on it helps to evaluate the level of job satisfaction of the employees and to get some ideas what can be done to improve it.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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