Essay on the Two Factor Theory by Frederick Herzberg

He found that employees associated bad times on the job with one set of factors and good successful working experiences with a totally different set. Herzberg described the former factors as dissatisfies and the latter as motivators. He has called the dissatisfies as hygiene factor.

Dissatisfies included such matters as pay, allowance, organisational policy and administration, behaviour of supervisors and working conditions. Traditionally, above factors were believed as motivators.

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Herzberg envisaged that these factors simply prevented dissatisfaction and not led to satisfaction. High motivation did not result from their improvement but dissatisfaction did result from their deterioration.

Motivators included such factors as achievement, recognition, responsibility, growth, advancement and other matters associated with the self-actualisation of the individual on the job. According to Herzberg, workers can be motivated as follows:

(i) Increase the accountability of individuals for their work;

(ii) Give a person a complete natural unit of work;

(iii) Give additional authority to an employee in his activities, and

(iv) Assign individuals specific or specialised tasks, enabling them to become experts.

Herzberg’s two factor theory came as something of a shock to the managers who believed that their pay increase programmes, pension benefits were motivating people.

However, the conclusions of this theory were confirmed by the later researches and the principle of job enrichment propounded by him has made considerable contribution to the management literature.

This theory is also compatible with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Herzberg’s “Dissatisfies” are more or less equivalent to the Maslow’s lower order needs and his “satisfiers” are more or less equivalent to Maslow’s higher order needs.