Motivation – Hygiene Theory / Herzberg’s Two - Factor Theory

Hygiene Theory or Herzberg's Two Factor theory of motivation was developed by Fredrick Herzberg on the basis of behavior science. He introduced this theory based on the contents of interviews conducted on 200 engineers and accountants. During the research, good and bad feelings of employees about the job were asked. In conclusion, two factors namely Hygiene and Motivating factors were identified as follows: 

1. Hygiene Factors 


Hygiene factors are also known as dissatisfaction or maintenance factors on job-context. Presence of these factors do not motivate employees but in the absence of these factors, employees will be dissatisfied or de-motivated. Following factors are included as hygiene factors: 
  • Rules and regulations of company 
  • Supervision and relationship with supervisors 
  • Salary 
  • Status 
  • Personal life 
  • Working condition 
  • Relationship with peers 
  • Relationship with subordinates 
  • Security 

Though these factors do not motivate employees but these factors are required to protect them from dissatisfaction. In order to get desired behavior of employees, managers should understand the feelings of employees and try fulfilling them. 
Herzberg's Two Factor Theory

2. Motivating Factors 


These are the factors which cause the high level of satisfaction and motivation in their presence but do not cause high level of dissatisfaction in their absence. These factors are also called motivators or satisfiers or job content factors. These factors are highly related with job content. Following factors are identified as the motivating factors: 
  • Achievement 
  • Recognition 
  • Advancement 
  • Work itself 
  • Personal growth 
  • Responsibility 

In conclusion, Herzberg suggested that to motivate employees, job should be enriched. It can be done through making jobs more challenging, innovating, providing job freedom, opportunity of growth and recognition, guarantee of goal achievement etc. since different people have different level of needs. So, one’s satisfier can be the dissatisfier to other. Therefore, manager should identify the behavior and needs of employees and apply to different factors to satisfy them. 

Advantages/ Merits of Hygiene Theory

  • It is a rational approach to motivation. It helps in understanding the effect of job content on motivation of employees.
  • It clearly distinguishes between the factors that motivate employees on the job and the factors that maintain employees on the job.
  • It recommends specific measures (i.e. motivators) to improve motivation levels.
  • It explains the significance of job enrichment on the job redesign and motivation. 

Disadvantages/ Demerits of Herzberg's Two - Factory Theory 

  • It is difficult to distinguish job-context factors from the job context factors in many cases; job context factors have elements of job context factors. 
  • The methodology used by Herzberg is sometimes questioned. Since raters have to make interpretations, different raters may have interpreted the responses in different ways.
  • It explains the reasons of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Thus, it is a fact, not a theory of motivation. 
  • It ignores the impact of situational variables on motivation.
  • This theory lays much emphasis on motivators and ignores the impact of hygiene factors on motivation.

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