What is Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory (With Examples)

Herzberg’s Theory is closely related to Maslow’s need hierarchy. Both of them are based on human needs for motives that are which motivate an individual the hygiene or maintenance factors of Herzberg are roughly equivalent to Maslow’s lower-level needs as shown in the following figure.

what is herzberg’s two-factor theory with examples
what is Herzberg’s two-factor theory with examples

Herzberg extended the work of Maslow and developed a specific content theory of work motivation. In 1959’s he concluded that job satisfiers were related to job content and were allied to job context.

Two-Factor Theory

The satisfiers, as well as labeled “motivations” and the dis-satisfiers, were called ‘Hygiene factors’.

Taken together they become known as Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation or Hygiene theory.

Hygiene Factors of Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

According to Herzberg, hygiene factors or dis-satisfiers relates to the environment in which the employees do their work.

Therefore, When the hygiene factors fall below what the employee considers an acceptable level, He becomes dissatisfied.

However, at or above the acceptable level, dissatisfaction is removed.

Hygiene Factors:

  • Company policy and administration.
  • Technical supervision.
  • Interpersonal relations with supervisors.
  • Working conditions.
  • Interpersonal relations with peers.
  • Salary.
  • Job security.
  • Personal life.
  • Interpersonal relations with subordinates.
  • Status.

This absence of dissatisfaction leads only to a natural or indifferent state, not to any degree of satisfaction. Thus, the presence of these factors (such as salary, job security, good working condition, status, etc) will not motivate people in an organization.

Yet they must be present, otherwise, dissatisfaction will arise. 

Thus, they are a necessary floor to prevent dissatisfaction.

Two-Factor Theory Motivators

On the other hand, factors such as achievement recognition, growth, etc. All the satisfiers and therefore motivators.

Therefore, they all relate to the content of the nature of the job their existence will yield the feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Motivators Factors

  • Achievement.
  • Recognition of the intrinsic characteristics of the work itself.
  • Advancement.
  • The possibility of growth.
  • Responsibility.

When these factors fall below an acceptable level, They prevent job satisfaction.

So According to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory., an individual must have a job with challenging content in order to be truly motivated.

Thus, Managers have to note that only the motivators that can lead workers to perform are the managers’ desires.

Job Contents Factors in Two-Factor Theory

These factors are related to the content of the job.

They are inherent in the job rather than in the surrounding environment motivational factors include the following:

  1. The feeling of achievement.
  2. Recognition.
  3. Challenging work itself.
  4. Advancement.
  5. Increased responsibility.
  6. Opportunity for growth.

Difference between Maslow’s and Herzberg’s Theory

Thus, The motivating factors are roughly equivalent to Maslow’s higher-level needs as shown in the following figure for Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory.

There are some differences between the Two theories:

  • Maslow has given a hierarchy on the sequential arrangement of human needs suggesting that any unsatisfied need whether of lower order or higher order will motivate individuals. Herzberg has suggested the use of motivators to improve motivation and job performance and to depend on hygiene or maintenance factors of motivation factors.
  • Herzberg has attempted to refine and reinforce the need priority in the model and has thrown new light on the content of work motivation. Maslow’s theory has been considerably modified by Herzberg, especially by identifying two factors of human needs.
  • Maslow is silent on the job content aspect, Where Herzberg has emphasized job enrichment which is sent the deliberate upgrading of responsibility, scope, and challenging work.

Critical Evolution of Two-Factor Theory

Two-Factor Theory has been criticized on the following grounds:

  1. The theory is based on a small sample of 456 accounts and engineers which is not representative of the workforce in general.
  2. The theory focuses too much attention on employee “Happiness” rather than on performance level.
  3. Generally, The interview method used by Herzberg suffers from bias. People tend to tell the interviewer what they would like to hear rather than what they really feel. The analysis of the responses derived from this approach is highly subjective.
  4. The distinction between maintenance factors and motivation factors is not fixed. For Example, the salary for a Japanese worker may be a maintenance factor but it is very much motivated for a common worker in India. Thus, It is wrong to say that maintenance factors are only dis-satisfiers and satisfies. Such factors have been found as effective motivators in practice.
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