Herzberg motivation theory attempts to answer the age old question of what do people get motivated by? What do they want in their jobs and how to improve the conditions for people to flourish?
Do employees want good working relationships, a better salary, better job prospects, status, or something else altogether?
Frederick Herzberg set out to answer this question in the 1950s and ‘60s to help managers better understand how to motivate their workers. In much the same way as Maslow and Vroom, he conducted a number of experiments to determine the effect of motivation. He did this by asking people to describe instances when people were unhappy in their jobs and also when they were happy.
Herzberg found an interesting set of results: He identified that those people that felt good about their jobs gave totally different responses to those that were unhappy. These results formed a significant paradigm shift in understanding, which allowed him to adopt a model called Herzberg motivation theory; also referred to as Hertzberg Hygiene Theory or Two Factor Theory.
The Herzberg motivation theory is a simple, yet powerful tool which still forms the bedrock of motivational practices today and is used to help organisations create the optimum environment to motivation in its individuals.
From his research, Herzberg found that there are certain characteristics of a job that consistently relate to job dissatisfaction, and there are other factors which, in the same breadth, relate to job satisfaction. These factors can be seen in the diagram below:
The main conclusion of Herzberg motivation theory is that there is no real correlation between job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction. What I mean by this is that:
By using Herzberg’s hygiene theory, simply eliminating the causes of dissatisfaction in a job WILL NOT CREATE SATISFACTION! It will merely create a situation whereby the person is neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. In other words, they will be in a ‘neutral state’, but will not be motivated.
This, is a drastic shift in thinking, as in many instances in management, most people can probably admit that the thought of eliminating something that causes dissatisfaction in the work place is all that needs to be done. In reality, though, it only stops the dissatisfaction and does not add to satisfaction and motivation!
The same is true for satisfaction: by improving the factors around job satisfaction, without eliminating the dissatisfaction factors, you will not achieve a motivated individual.
If an individual is working within a company with outdated and sub-standard policies, whilst also operating in a negative and hostile environment, contrary to many people’s beliefs; simply giving them a pay rise will not suddenly motivate them.
Equally too, if someone is working under a poor supervisor and has relationship issues with that person, by simply giving them extra money to stay may not add to this person being motivated, as the demotivating factors are still there.
There are many examples one could use to highlight the workings and logic to Herzberg motivation theory, but the general concept is that in order to motivate an individual, you have to do two things:
To successfully apply Herzberg’s theory, you need to adopt a two –phased approach:
Examine every job to see if it can be made better and more satisfying for the worker. Typical things to look at when doing this are: