The psychologist Frederick Herzberg extended the work of Maslow and propsed a new motivation theory popularly known as Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene (Two-Factor) Theory. Herzberg conducted a widely reported motivational study on 200 accountants and engineers employed by firms in and around Western Pennsylvania.
He asked these people to describe two important incidents at their jobs:
(i) When did you feel particularly good about your job, and
(ii) When did you feel exceptionally bad about your job? He used the critical incident method of obtaining data.
The responses when analysed were found quite interesting and fairly consistent. The replies respondents gave when they felt good about their jobs were significantly different from the replies given when they felt bad. Reported good feelings were generally associated with job satisfaction, whereas bad feeling with job dissatisfaction. Herzberg labelled the job satisfiers motivators, and he called job dissatisfies hygiene or maintenance factors. Taken together, the motivators and hygiene factors have become known as Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation
Herzberg’s motivational and hygiene factors have been shown in the Fig.
According to Herzberg, the opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. The underlying reason, he says, is that removal of dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. He believes in the existence of a dual continuum. The opposite of ‘satisfaction’ is ‘no satisfaction’ and the opposite of ‘dissatisfaction’ is ‘no dissatisatisfaction’.
According to Herzberg, today’s motivators are tomorrow’s hygiene because the latter stop influencing the behaviour of persons when they get them. Accordingly, one’s hygiene may be the motivator of another.
However, Herzberg’s model is labeled with the following criticism also:
- People generally tend to take credit themselves when things go well. They blame failure on the external environment.
- The theory basically explains job satisfaction, not motivation.
- Even job satisfaction is not measured on an overall basis. It is not unlikely that a person may dislike part of his/ her job, still thinks the job acceptable.
- This theory neglects situational variable to motivate an individual.
Because of its ubiquitous nature, salary commonly shows up as a motivator as well as hygine.
Regardless of criticism, Herzberg’s ‘two-factor motivation theory’ has been widely read and a few managers seem untaminar with his recommendations. The main use of his recommendations lies in planning and controlling of employees work.