Honour where honour is due: in order to last for 45years without being disproved and maintain a place under the most influential of its kind an academic theory has to be a truly outstanding specimen. This is the case for Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory of workplace motivation, published in “The Motivation to Work” (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman) in 1959. In its essence the theory relates motivation and job satisfaction with a set of work-related factors and job dissatisfaction with a set of factors in the organisational environment.
Since its introduction in 1959 it can be said that the two-factor theory has had considerable influence on the body of science on workplace motivation. Despite existing criticism it can be stated that the two-factory theory fulfils all four criteria of a valuable academic theory (Whitsett and Winslow 1967), it has resolving and explanatory power, has generated a vast amount of further research (Herzberg 1993) and is a useful base for prediction on the topic of workplace motivation. In addition Herzberg (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman 1959) introduced a new research method to generate his findings, the so-called “critical incident technique” that caused great sensation and dispute in academic circles at that point in time. In this way Herzberg’s theory has lost nothing of its attractiveness to and influence on academics and manager’s alike over the past decades. In contrary it can still be found on the “manager’s motivational toolbag” for