Two Factor Theory - Motivational Theory

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

The Two-Factor Theory is sometimes also called motivation-hygiene theory. Proposed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg when he investigated the question, “What do people want from their jobs?” He asked people to describe, in detail, situations in which they felt exceptionally good or bad about their jobs. These responses were then tabulated and categorized.

From the categorized responses, Herzberg concluded:

  • Intrinsic factors, such as advancement, recognition, responsibility, and achievement seem to be related to job satisfaction.

  • Dissatisfied respondents tended to cite extrinsic factors, such as supervision, pay, company policies, and working conditions.

  • The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction.

  • Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying.

Job satisfaction factors are separate and distinct from job dissatisfaction factors. Managers who eliminate job dissatisfaction factors may not necessarily bring about motivation.

When hygiene factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied; neither will they be satisfied. To motivate people, emphasize factors intrinsically rewarding that are associated with the work itself or to outcomes directly derived from it.

Criticisms of the theory:

  • The procedure that Herzberg used is limited by its methodology.

  • The reliability of Herzberg’s methodology is questioned.

  • No overall measure of satisfaction was utilized.

  • Herzberg assumed a relationship between satisfaction and productivity, but the research methodology he used looked only at satisfaction, not at productivity.

Regardless of criticisms, Herzberg’s theory has been widely read, and few managers are

unfamiliar with his recommendations.

  • The popularity of vertically expanding jobs to allow workers greater responsibility can probably be attributed to Herzberg’s findings.

  • Contemporary Theories of Motivation

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