Business: Motivation and Hygiene Factors Essay

Submitted By FfionHafJones1
Words: 2167
Pages: 9

“Herzberg (1968) argues that pay is a “hygiene factor”. Critically evaluate his position drawing on your understanding of what motivates individuals and groups.”

This assignment will look at the origin of Herzberg’s theory, those who agree with Herzberg’s two-factor theory and those that disagree with his two-factor theory. The assignment will look into what motivation means to individuals, and how motivation creates job satisfaction. It will then be possible to evaluate the relevance of Herzberg’s and how relevant it is to all individuals.

Herzberg carried out a survey interviewing 200 Engineers and Accountants from Pittsburgh in the 1950’s. From his findings he came up with the two-factor motivation theory which consisted of motivational factors and hygiene factors. Both factors affect motivation in the workplace, but are very different and are completely unrelated. “Motivators refer to factors intrinsic within the work itself like the recognition of a task completed” (Tietjen & Myers, 1998) while “hygiene factors tend to include extrinsic entities which do not pertain to the worker’s actual job” (Tietjen & Myers, 1998).

Motivators make the employee content and when they are present they increase job satisfaction. They were named intrinsic factors as they are factors that are related to the job itself. Hygiene factors do not make the employee happy when they are present but they do dis-satisfy when they are not present or are in shortfall, the hygiene factors were named extrinsic factors as they are not related to the job itself but are related to the external environment surrounding the work, such as salary and supervision.

Employees that are not motivated are said to be moved rather than motivated. Employees are moved because they are forced to work, due to such things as putting food on the table, or because the supervisor has told them to. Employees that are motivated, work because they want to, for recognition, and enjoyment of the work etc.

Pay is one of the extrinsic factors that is considered a hygiene factor, which means that pay does not motivate an individual, but if the pay is insufficient it will de-motivate the individual making the employee dis-satisfied in the workplace, making pay a dis-satisfier.

To truly understand Herzberg’s motivation theory, the assignment has to look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. “This is the hierarchy of needs identified by Maslow; Self – actualization, self-esteem, social needs, security needs and physiological needs” (Herbig & Genestre, 1997). Maslow believed that once the needs of the initial level of the hierarchy of needs have been met, they will no longer motivate the individual, the next level up will then become the motivator. The first level is ‘physiological needs’, which are needed for surviving: food, water, breathing and sex etc, the next level up is ‘security needs’, and so once all the physiological needs have been met, security needs becomes the motivator. This will continue until the last level in the pyramid, the most complex level, self actualization, has been achieved.

“Maslow built up his five-level hierarchy of human needs and Herzberg developed motivation- hygiene theory through the application of psychology and social psychology” (Gao, Li, & Clarke, 2008). Herzberg concluded that there were two aspects to the motivation theory, the motivators and the hygiene factors. “The motivation factors are listed as satisfiers, so-called because they prompt us to higher levels of performance.” (Graham & Messner, 1998) this is the next level up on the hierarchy needs “The hygiene factors, borrowing from the medical term which prevents us from optimum performance, are called dissatisfiers” (Graham & Messner, 1998). These are the things preventing us from getting to the next level of the hierarchy of needs.

Pay is considered as a hygiene factor and hygiene factors are considered to “de-motivate when they are