Based on the design of our economy system, work is necessary to live a fulfilling life. However, there are rarely any people who truly love their jobs, and thus, more often than not, we find ourselves feeling truly miserable when it comes to work. In 1959, an American psychologist, Fredrick Herzberg aimed to study exactly what factors bring about motivation in an employee in work-places. The theory he presented is now known as the Herzberg Motivation-Hygiene Theory.
The Motivation-Hygiene Theory quickly became a rather major point in the topic of Motivation in Psychology, specially in the context of work-place motivation. This theory falls under the most basic theories of motivation, more specifically its Content Theories.
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During his research, Herzberg asked a group of employees about their good and bad experiences related to work. He was surprised to know that people’s good experiences were in no way connected to their bad experiences and vice versa. This gave Herzberg the two factors related to motivation in a work-place: Hygiene and Motivation. Due to this, his theory is also known as The Herzberg Two-Factor Theory.
What are Hygiene and Motivational Factors?
Hygiene or Maintenance Factors, according to Fredrick Herzberg, are basically the conditions in a work-place. These are secondary factors to the work and its working conditions, and while their presence fails to bring about any motivational change in the employee, their absence leads to a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction in the workers. This factor is sometimes also known as the Dissatisfaction Factor.
On the other hand, Motivational Factors are those which bring about long-term and a long lasting positive effect on the employees. These factors are those which bring the real motivational force when it comes to workers and their productivity level or output. Motivational Factors are positive in nature and their absence doesn’t bring any change in the employees behavior, however, their presence leads to increased productivity levels.
1) Hygiene or Maintenance Factors:
As said above, these factors revolve around the conditions in which the job has to be performed and their absence leads to dissatisfaction in employees. The factors most commonly include elements such as: salary; job benefits; job security; decent working conditions; comfortable conditions i.e. absence of extreme temperatures and comfortable seating; company policies; relationship with colleagues, etc.
The factors mentioned above, if present, don’t necessarily lead to any rise in productivity levels, however, once these factors are removed, it will lead to a job dissatisfaction which will decrease motivation.
Motivation comes after a person is truly and well-satisfied, i.e no external factors are becoming a hindrance. In other words, satisfaction leaves room for motivation to come into being and to grow, thus, a person feeling dissatisfied due to the secondary conditions (like having to work in a really cold room) will have his mind preoccupied and amidst this dissatisfaction, the individual will not be delivering the desired results needed. Thus, if employers seek maximum productivity rate and minimum dissatisfied employees, they must not have an absence in their Hygiene Factors.
2) Motivational Factors:
Motivational Factors in a job, as previously discussed, are those factors which with their presence, bring forward a remarkably long-lasting and positive motivation in employees. This factor can improve the productivity levels in employees drastically, as well as keep the workers motivated on their jobs for a long while.
Motivational Factors include six elements:
- The work itself.
- Personal growth.
Once the workers feel like an appreciated, respected and an important member of the team, they are motivated to keep performing better and better, to keep up with their reputation as well as grow in the field. Having been given enough responsibility leads to them feel proud of their achievements and in turn, the responsibility motivates themselves to keep on excelling. However, in this scenario the work itself is also a rather important element as the work should be under one’s capability and interests. Just mere payment doesn’t necessarily lead to long term fixes of motivation, the motivational factors are an essential when it comes to motivation in work-spaces.
The Different Combinations of Job Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction:
There are four kinds of different combinations when it comes to work and the workers satisfaction and dissatisfaction. These combinations are in relation to Herzberg’s Motivation Theory. They are as follows:
1) High Hygiene and High Motivation:
In this type of combination, the worker’s Hygiene Factor is completely present and thus, he is not feeling dissatisfied. On the other hand, his Motivational Factor is also high and thus, this employee is motivated to his absolute maximum with his maximum production level. This is the ideal combination.
2) High Hygiene and Low Motivation:
In this type of combination, the worker’s Hygiene Factor is completely present and thus, he is not feeling dissatisfied. On the other hand, his Motivational Factor is low and thus, though the worker has no complaints, he isn’t really motivated to perform and rather just views his job as a paycheck.
3) Low Hygiene and High Motivation:
In this type of combination, the worker’s Hygiene Factor is absent and thus, he is feeling dissatisfied and finding complaints. On the other hand, his Motivational Factor is high and thus, he is motivated but rather finds the job unsatisfactory or challenging.
4) Low Hygiene and Low Motivation:
In this type of combination, the worker’s Hygiene Factor is absent and thus, he is feeling dissatisfied. On the other hand, his Motivational Factor is also low and thus, neither is he motivated nor is he feeling any sort of job satisfaction. This is the worst combination.
We can conclude that an employer who wishes for a maximum productivity rate should firstly eradicate all dissatisfaction from the job and try increasing the employees motivational forces.
Now, if you find yourself slacking off and possessing close to no motivation to do your job, read and reflect on Herzberg’s Motivation Theory – or just send this link’s article to your boss anonymously, whatever you prefer.