Fredrick Herzberg Motivational Hygiene Theory essay

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Table 1: Motivational Hygiene Theory

Each of the factors that comprise the model is briefly discussed here.

Achievement -- Often defined as the successful completion of a task, this attribute anchors the Motivators area of the Motivational Hygiene Theory model.

Recognition of achievement -- Herzberg meant for this to include recognition from anyone in the organization from a co-worker to a client to a superior. Herzberg mentions in his theories that recognition that combines the verbal and visual are the most effective (Herzberg, 1987).

The Work itself -- Only after a worker has been able to have their Hygiene factors met can they attain the level of satisfaction with the work itself, and this came out of the study of technical professionals cited earlier in this analysis (Backer, 1973).

Responsibility -- Related to the three most critical areas of learning and job achievement which are autonomy, mastery and purpose, responsibility is an intrinsic motivation within any job and once internalized, signals an employee is seeking to achieve not just limit sources of dissatisfaction (Baldonado, Spangenburg, 2009).

Advancement -- the progression within a job position that associates correlate to increased responsibility over time. Advancement can also be relative in the context of free time and the opportunity to seek balance in ones' career, which is a primary concern of Gen Y and younger workers (Baldonado, Spangenburg, 2009).

Personal growth -- Another relative term that defines the level of intrinsic satisfaction and growth a person experiences once the Hygiene factors within their job have been met. The ability to design jobs so there is inherent personal growth within them is also critical for this model to scale across entire organizations as well by employees internalizing the factors associated with it (Herzberg, 1987).

Hygiene factor listed here are seen as "satiators" which alleviate job dissatisfaction yet do not create inherent satisfaction on their own. These include the following:

Status -- From symbols to salutations in meetings, these are relatively meaningless in driving up satisfaction. Status is a satiator, not a motivator.

Security -- the sense of security in a job of not being at risk of being fired and having acceptable medical benefits.

Relationship with subordinates -- the morale of an organization and how employees interact with each other is essential in this area.

Personal life -- Gen Y workers seek this Hygiene factors for balance in their lives, having seen their parents sacrifice their entire lives for their jobs (Baldonado, Spangenburg, 2009).

Relationship with peers -- the morale of an organization and the level of trust between peers and superiors.

Salary -- Ironically this is a Hygiene factor, not a motivator. This illustrates Herzberg's belief that for true job satisfaction to occur the job's responsibilities and roles would need to be internalized.

Work conditions -- the basic work conditions in terms of safety, cleanliness and ability to concentrate on ones' job. This has also been seen as a factor in overall Hygiene factor acceptance or rejection (Herzberg, 1987).

Relationship with supervisor -- the most common reason for a subordinate leaving an organization is lack of congruence and understanding with their boss. This Hygiene factor seeks to define the level of trust with supervisors as a Hygiene factors and critical prerequisite for overall Motivation to occur. Trust is a critical catalyst of transitioning from Hygiene to Motivation (Baldonado, Spangenburg, 2009).

Company policy and administration -- Often cited as a critical catalyst of dissatisfaction (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2001) company policy and administration can either be flexible enough to serve as Hygiene factors or constrictive in their approach and prematurely stop motivation before it occurs. Herzberg considers this Hygiene factor the most difficult to successfully transition over the long-term as cultures dictate policies in many organizations (Herzberg, 1987).

Supervision -- Closely tied to trust, the supervision of an employee can either be a catalyst of trust and set the foundation for greater motivation or not. According to Herzberg this factor is most critical in transitioning an employee from being centered on Hygiene or satiation factors to motivational ones.


Backer (1973) Motivating Workers. Johannesburg: McGraw-Hill

Baldonado, a., and J. Spangenburg. 2009. Leadership and the Future: Gen Y Workers and Two-Factor Theory. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge 15, no. 1, (September 1): 99-103

Chapman, n.d.- Frederick Herzberg Motivational Theory [Online] Available from: Accessed on September 19, 2009.

Herzberg (1976) the Managerial Choice: to be efficient and to be…[continue]

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