Hertzberg Theory of Motivation

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow Pages: 5 (1477 words) Published: October 7, 2011
Hertzberg's Theory: How managers might improve the motivation of employees.


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How managers might improve the motivation of employees using Hertzberg's theory Introduction
“If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do” -Frederick Herzberg. In other words, for people to do a good job they have to be motivated. According to Webster’s New Collegiate dictionary a motive is “something (desire or need) that causes a person to act”, to motivate is “to provide with a motive” and motivation is the “act of providing someone with the desire to take action”. Motivation can either be intrinsic (driven by interest and enjoyment in a task) or extrinsic (driven by external factors such as money and grades). Frederick Irving Herzberg (1923-2000) was an American psychologist famous for his influence in the management of businesses. He is credited with the introduction of the “job-enrichment” and the “motivator-hygiene” theory. Herzberg’s theories on management advocate for intrinsic motivation of employees rather than extrinsic motivation. Managers are at the heart of motivating employees and their application of Herzberg’s two- factor theory might be of help. The Dual structure theory

The theory is also known as the two factor theory. Fredrick Herzberg introduced the theory in 1959; as he sought to answer the question, “what do people want from their jobs?” He interviewed 203 American accountants and engineers (two of the most important professions in business). Herzberg asked the professionals questions a range of questions in relation to the times they felt extremely good or bad about their current and previous jobs. He asked them to give reasons for their feelings and account for the events that accompanied the feelings. Herzberg found that two different sets of factors affected their motivation at work. In case of absence or weakness in one set of factors the professionals expressed “dissatisfaction”. These factors were related to the job environment or the circumstances in which the job was done such as supervision and relationships with subordinates. Herzberg noted that these factors were not related to the job itself and hence extrinsic. He labelled these factors “Hygiene or maintenance factors”. He drew a list of these factors as: supervision, relationship with supervisor, company policy, salary, personal life, working conditions, relationship with subordinates, relationship with peers, status and security. When the second set of factors was noted present, the professionals expressed feelings of “satisfaction”. These factors included achievement and recognition. Herzberg noted that these factors were related to the job itself and hence intrinsic. These he termed, “Motivators or growth factors” creating job satisfaction: achievement, responsibility, recognition, advancement, growth, the work itself.

Herzberg concluded that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are not opposites, and consequently, managers need to realize that total elimination of job dissatisfaction will not cause job satisfaction in an employee and vice versa. The managers need to identify and prioritize programs at the work place to improve culture and work ethics. If a manager notices highly dissatisfied employees, he should focus on how the employees are supervised at work, review their salaries or even review company policies since the opposite of “job dissatisfaction” is to create a work environment with “no dissatisfaction”. The work environment can be further improved by providing job security; creation and support of a culture that respects and dignifies all employees; provision of a supervision that is effective, supportive to all employees and is non-intrusive and build job statuses by providing work that is meaningful for all positions in the company.

In case the employees are not dissatisfied, the manager should place more focus on motivation factors....

References: Hallowell, E., M. 2005. Overloaded Circuits: why smart people underperform. Harvard business review. 83, 54-62.
Herzberg, F. 2003. One more time; how do you motivate your employees? Harvard business review, 81, 86-96.
Manion, J. 2005. From Management to Leadership. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.
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