Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Definition: The Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory is given by Fredrick Herzberg and his associates, who studied the variables that are perceived to be desirable to achieve goals and the undesirable conditions to avoid.

In this context, the study was conducted wherein the experiences and feelings of 200 engineers and accountants were analyzed. They were asked to share their previous job experiences in which they felt “exceptionally good” or “exceptionally bad.” Through this study, Herzberg concluded that there are two job conditions independent of each other that affect the behavior differently.

The first set of job conditions has been referred to as maintenance or hygiene factor, wherein the same job conditions provide the same level of dissatisfaction, in case the conditions are absent, however, their presence does not motivate in a strong way.

The second set of job conditions is referred to as motivational factors, which primarily operate to build strong motivation and high job satisfaction, but their absence does not result in strong dissatisfaction.

Herzberg's theory

Hygiene Factors: Herzberg identified ten maintenance or hygiene factors, that are not intrinsic parts of a job, but are related to the conditions in which the job has to be performed. These are company policy and administration, technical supervision, job security, working conditions, interpersonal relationship with peers, subordinates and supervisors, salary, job security, personal life, etc.

Motivational factors: These factors have a positive effect on the functioning of the employees in the organization. There are six factors that motivate employees: Achievement, Recognition, Advancement, Work-itself, Possibility of growth and Responsibility. An increase in these factors satisfies the employees and the decrease in these will not affect the level of satisfaction.

Thus, Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory studied the variables which were responsible for the level of satisfaction and had been applied in the industry that has given several new insights


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