Herzeberg Two Factors Theory

Herzeberg Two Factors Theory Presentation

Two Factors Theory (or Model) from the authorship of Frederick Herzberg seeks to explain the reasons that influence the peoples’ work in the organizations. In this model, Herzberg distinguishes two types of factors which influence the employees’ motivation – hygienic factors and motivator factors:

  1. Hygienic Factors: Only influence motivation negatively when they are not satisfied, becoming neutral when they are satisfied. From here we can assume that when one of the needs represented by these factors isn’t satisfied, discouragement is caused. But, if on the contrary, the need is satisfied, isn’t caused neither motivation neither discouragement. Include salary, work conditions, technical supervision, personal relations with the colleague supervisors and subordinates, rules and the organization’s way of operating, among others.
  2. Motivator Factors: Influence motivation positively, being, when satisfied the needs associated to them contribute for the increase of motivation and, if on the other hand the need isn’t satisfied, isn’t caused neither motivation neither discouragement. Include the possibilities of personal success and professional progress, the given responsibility, recognition for their success, interpersonal relations, nature of the performed tasks, etc.

Until here, Herzberg little added to Maslow’s theory and to his famous Needs Pyramid. In fact, Herzberg’s hygienic factors are very similar to the inferior needs of Maslow (physiologic, safety and social), while the motivator factors correspond to the superior needs (esteem and self-realization). The main difference relies on the fact that Maslow considers that any unsatisfied need motivates action, while Herzberg affirms that only the motivator factors incentive to work performance, being, create motivation.

For Herzberg, low hygienic factor levels cause dissatisfaction, which is canceled when these factors reach an adequate level; however, the dissatisfaction inexistence is not enough for a motivation existence for a better performance at work, which is only achieved through the motivator factors. On the other hand, the lack of motivator factors only means the inexistence of motivation and not necessarily dissatisfaction. This way, hygienic factors are powerful dissatisfaction sources but rarely of motivation, while motivator factors are powerful motivation sources but rarely dissatisfaction.

From here we can conclude that, for example, the salary levels should correspond to the expectations to avoid dissatisfaction but to raise the salary beyond their expectations doesn’t show significant motivation increase.

So, one of the ways to get an employees’ continuous motivation is through the attribution of duties and more complex tasks and with higher challenge level and that follow his personal and professional development. This is the base of the known, and, already commonly used in current organizations, tasks enrichment programs. The main goal of these programs is the productivity increase provided by bigger motivation and by absenteeism reduction.

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