Herzberg's Motivation Hygiene Theory

The psychologist Frederick Irving Herzberg (1923-2000) extended the work of Maslow and proposed 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: (1) When did you feel particularly good about your job and (2) 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 feelings with job dissatisfaction. Herzberg labeled 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.

Frederick Herzberg: (Hygiene and Motivation Factors): Frederick Herzberg proposed that satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work resulted from Hygiene and Motivation factors.

Herzberg's motivational and hygiene factors have been shown in the Table 5.1.

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 'satisfaction' is 'no satisfaction' and the opposite of 'dissatisfaction' is 'no dissatisfaction'?

Table 5.1: Herzberg's Motivational and Hygiene Factors

Herzberg's Motivational and Hygiene Factors

*Because of its ubiquitous nature, salary commonly shows up as motivator as well as hygiene.

However, Herzberg's model is labeled with the following criticism :

1. People generally tend to take credit themselves when things go well. They blame failure on the external environment.

2. The theory basically explains job satisfaction not motivation.

3. 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.

4. This theory neglects situational variable to motive an individual. Regardless of criticisms, Herzberg's 'two-factor motivation theory' has been widely read and a few managers seem unfamiliar with his recommendations. The main use of his recommendations lies in planning and controlling of employees' work.

Distinction between Maslow's and Herzberg's Theories

Both Maslow and Herzberg theories focus on motivational factors. However, both differ from each other in their approaches. As discussed earlier, Maslow's motivation theory is based on the hierarchy of needs. According to this theory, only unsatisfied needs motivate individuals. Once a need is satisfied, it ceases to be a motivating factor. But, Herzberg's motivation theory is based on motivational and hygiene or maintenance factors. According to Herzberg, hygiene or maintenance factors prevent job dissatisfaction but do not provide motivation to workers. In his view, Maslow's lower order needs like physiological, safety and social needs act as hygiene or maintenance factors.

Comparison of Herzberg and Maslow Models : Both the models are dealing with the same problem. Maslow talks in term of human needs whereas Herzberg talks of goals which satisfy those needs. Maslow describes various factors which impel a person to behave as he does whereas Herzberg tells us what makes a man satisfied or dissatisfied with his job, which depends very much on factors available on or off the job. Both models represent the two sides of the same coin.

Maslow is helpful in identifying needs or motives and Herzberg provides us with insights into goals and incentives that tend to satisfy these needs. If we know the high strength needs (Maslow Theory) of individual which we want to influence, then we should be able to determine what goals (Herzberg) we could provide in the situation to motivate those individuals. On the other hand, if we know the goals of the people, the want to satisfy, we can very well predict their high priority needs. Hersey and Blanchard have combined these two things (needs and goals). Physiological, safety, social and part of the esteem and status needs under Maslow Model are all hygiene factors under Herzberg model. The esteem needs are divided because there is a different between status and recognition. Status may be classified with physiological, safety and social needs as a hygiene factor while recognition is classified with esteem as a motivational factors.

Keith Davis has shown integrated relationship between Maslow's theory and Herzberg's theory as shown below :

A Comparison of Maslow's Need-Priority Model with Herzberg's Motivation-Maintenance Model.

Fig. 5.5: A Comparison of Maslow's Need-Priority Model with Herzberg's Motivation-Maintenance Model.

The relationship between Motivation Hygiene Theory (Herzberg) and Hierarchy of Needs Theory (Maslow).

Fig. 5.6: The relationship between Motivation Hygiene Theory (Herzberg) and Hierarchy of Needs Theory (Maslow).

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