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Herzbergs Two Factor Theory Essay

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Motivation is an important driver in an organisation and is crucial to the management of intellectual capital. Motivation underlies what employees choose to do (quality and/or quantity), how much effort they will put into accomplishing the task, and how long they will work in order to accomplish it. Employees who are motivated will work more effectively and efficiently and shape an organisation’s behavior. A motivated workforce will have a strong effect on an organisation’s bottom line.

Motivation is strongly tied to job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is how individuals feel about the tasks they are supposed to accomplish and may also be influenced by the physical and social nature of the workplace. The more satisfied employees are with their jobs, the more motivated they will be to do their jobs well. There are several important studies relating to motivation.

These include Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Frederick Herzberg’s study of hygiene and motivational factors, Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, and J. Stacy Adams’ Equity Theory. It is worth noting that the paper will give some highlights of the above mentioned theories so as to give a bigger picture on the subject of motivation, further the paper will give brief definitions of some key concepts such as motivation and job satisfaction. It is also important to state here that the paper will restrict itself to the two factor theory by giving a brief explanation on the theory and then zero in on each of the hygiene factors in detail after which the position of the author on the subject under discussion will be outlined and the conclusion shall follow with the bibliography.

1.1 DEFINITIONS OF KEY CONCEPTS

As posited by Vroom (1964), the word “motivation” is derived from the Latin word movere, which means “to move”. Motivation is an internal force, dependent on the needs that drive a person to achieve. Schulze and Steyn (2003) affirmed that in order to understand people’s behaviour at work, managers or supervisors must be aware of the concept of needs or motives, which will help “move” their employees to act. Locke (1976) defines job satisfaction as the positive emotional state stemming from valuation of a person’s experience associated with the job. Job satisfaction is associated with salary, occupational stress, empowerment, company and administrative policy, achievement, personal growth, relationship with others, and the overall working condition.

It has been argued that an increase in job satisfaction increases worker productivity (Wright & Cropanzano, 1997; Shikdar & Das, 2003). Therefore, job satisfaction has a major effect on people’s lives. Locke (1976) indicated that job satisfaction most commonly affects a person’s physical health, mental health and social life whereby people who are satisfied with their jobs will tend to be happy with their lives. Breed and Breda (1997) indicated that job satisfaction may affect absenteeism, complaints, and labour unrest. In view of this, satisfied workers will be much more productive and be retained within the organisation for a longer period, in contrast to displeased workers who will be less useful and who will have a greater tendency to quit their jobs (Crossman, 2003). More importantly, satisfied workers not only perform better but also provide better service to customers, which could result in improving customer satisfaction.

It is assumed that motivation and satisfaction are very similar and that, in many cases, they are considered to be synonymous terms. According to Hersey and Blanchard (1988), motivation and satisfaction are quite different from each other in terms of reward and performance. The authors point out that motivation is influenced by forward-looking perceptions about the relationship between performance and rewards, whereas satisfaction involves how people feel about the rewards they have received. In other words, motivation is a consequence of expectations of the future while satisfaction is a consequence of past events (Carr, 2005).

Researchers have given considerable attention to employee job satisfaction because it is closely related to the quality of the employee’s life. Jenner (1994) insisted that increasing the employee’s job satisfaction or morale is an important technique for eliminating absenteeism, reducing turnover, and eventually raising productivity. Barber (1986) found that job dissatisfaction was associated with greater absenteeism and higher turnover rates. With high job satisfaction, the employee tended to show stronger organizational commitment and higher intention to remain with the company.

1.2 UNDERSTANDING MOTIVATION USING THEORIES

Theories of motivation can help us understand why people behave as they do. No theory has a Universal approach to explain human behaviour, because people are too far complex (Donnelly, et al.1996). Two important groups of theories are content theories and process theories. Content theories are concerned with identifying what factors in an individual or the work environment energise and sustain behaviour. Process theories try to describe how behaviour is energised, directed, and sustained. Process theories first attempt to define variables in choice, i.e., Should I work hard? (Choice); how hard do I Work? (Persistence).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs posits that behavior at a particular moment is determined by the strongest need. He placed them in a framework referred to as the hierarchy of needs because of the different levels of importance. Those needs that come first must be satisfied before a higher-level need comes into play. Equity Theory posits that perceived inequity is a Motivational force. Workers evaluate equity using a ratio of inputs to outputs. Inputs include qualification, experience, effort, and ability. Outcomes include benefits. Inequities occur when workers feel that outcomes are not compatible with inputs. Expectancy Theory asserts that employees are motivated to make choices among behaviors. If employees believe that effort will be rewarded, there will be motivated effort, that is, they will decide to work harder to receive a reward. Expectancy is the belief that certain behaviours will or will not be successful. Preferences are the values a person attaches to different outcomes.

2.0 THE TWO FACTOR THEORY

Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation (1959) explains and studies the factors that play a key role in making the employees of an organisation satisfied or dissatisfied with their work and job profiles. The two factors are- hygiene factors and motivators. If hygiene factors are absent, they can lead to creation of dissatisfaction among workers, but when they are adequate, they alone cannot lead to satisfying workers in the work environment. On the other hand, motivators are the factors that are related to the nature of the job and play a significant role in providing satisfaction among workers and leading to higher level of motivation (Bassett-Jones and Lloyd 2005). Employees all over the world not only want job security but also want quality employment. They desire to be given ample opportunities for advancement, good working conditions, and fair treatment by managers, autonomy on their work, challenging jobs and responsibility (Miner 2003).

These factors are included in the motivator factors given by Herzberg and still hold true today in contemporary business environment. Today’s organisations focus on teamwork and cohesion among the group so as to create an inductive environment for work where employees are motivated to work and contribute to attaining the goals of the organisation. Cock and Davis (1990) demonstrate that work quality is one of the major factors that determine satisfaction among employees in terms of motivation. For instance, if an employee has adequate money, but he has no meaningful work, then the employee starts feeling lack of self value, which is again in coherence with the Herzberg’s theory that when money stops being the driving force of motivation for employees, psychological rewards take its place and become more crucial as well as significant in terms of acting as a driving force of motivation.

So, money stops acting as the motivator for employees beyond a certain threshold (Critical Analysis of Adam J. Stacy’s and Frederick Herzberg’s Theories on Job Satisfaction of Employees 2012). In today’s business scenario, sources of satisfaction at work and the ways in which jobs can be designed so as to make the work itself more challenging and enriching can motivate employees and help organisations attain their aims and goals as mentioned in Herzberg motivation theory (Locke and Latham 2004). Herzberg stated that the only way to motivate employees in the organisation is to give them challenging work so that they can feel a sense of responsibility as well as belonging towards the organisation. Today, employees are involved in decision making due to which they feel more responsibility as well as find themselves at a higher level of motivation.

Intrinsic drivers dominate over external stimuli in terms of motivation and lead to enhanced contributions towards organisational success. According to Herzberg’s book on Work and the Nature of Man 1973, he says man has two sets of needs: his need as an animal to avoid pain, and his need as a human to grow psychologically. The biblical personages of Adam and Abraham are used to illustrate and develop the duality of man’s nature. Briefly, as Adam, man is pictured as an animal whose overriding goal is to avoid the pain inevitable in relating to his environment. On the other hand, looking at man in his totality, in addition to his avoidance nature there exists a human being who is impelled to determine, to discover, to achieve, to actualise, to progress and to add to his existence. These needs summarise the Abraham concept of man Work and the Nature of Man 1973.

A basic understanding of the concept is that man exists as a duality and has two sets of needs present at the same time. Another interesting and important aspect of man’s dual nature follows in that the two sets of needs of man are essentially independent of one another. That is, each of the two concepts of man consists of a system of needs that operate in opposing directions. Furthermore, seething the needs of one facet of man (Adam) has little or no effect upon the needs of the other facet in man (Abraham).

It should be noted that since both sets of needs exist in man at the same time both must be served and one will not substitute for the other. To illustrate, one cannot find happiness simply by avoiding physical pain, or avoid pain by finding happiness. From this illustration it becomes apparent that happiness and pain are not polar opposites of the same feeling originating from the same source; that is, happiness and pain are not on the same continuum. This is the principal upon which the Herzberg two-factor theory is based.

Job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction represent two separate and distinct continua just as observed earlier with respect to happiness and pain.

Herzberg offers another analogy-as follows-to help explain this way of thinking about job attitudes; let us characterise job satisfaction as vision and job dissatisfaction as hearing. It is readily seen that we are talking about two separate dimensions, since the stimulus for vision is light, and increasing and decreasing light will have no effect on man’s hearing. The stimulus for audition is sound, and, in a similar fashion, increasing or decreasing loudness will have no effect on vision. Herzberg analysed and classified the job content factors or satisfying experiences as follows –Achievement -Recognition -Work itself -Responsibility-Advancement –Growth. According to Herzberg, these factors stand out as strong determiners of job satisfaction.

Job responsibility and advancement being the most important relative to a lasting attitude charge. Achievement, more so than recognition, was frequently associated with such long-range factors as responsibility and the nature of the work itself. Recognition which produces good feelings about the job does not essentially have to come from superiors; it may come from subordinates, peers, or customers. It is interesting to note that recognition based on achievement provides a more intense satisfaction than does recognition used solely as a human relations tool divorced from any accomplishment, The latter does not serve as a satisfier, Rush, H. M. F. (1969- 92-93; 9:370)

Compared with the satisfiers or motivators are the factors which cause low job attitude situations or job dissatisfaction. Such factors were found from the analysis of the study results to be associated primarily with an individual’s relationship to the context or environment in which he does his work. These factors are extrinsic to the work itself and are referred to as dissatisfiers or hygiene (or maintenance) factors. Herzberg categorized the context or environmental factors causing dissatisfaction to include: Dissatisfies: – Company policy and administration – Supervision – Working conditions – Interpersonal relations (with peers, subordinates and superiors) – Status – Job security – Salary – Personal Life

3.0 Hygiene Factors Why, for instance, do hygiene factors serve as dissatisfiers? Why, on the other hand, do motivators affect motivation in the positive direction? Consider the answers to these questions in terms of the distinction between the two sets of human needs (Adam vs Abraham). One stems from man’s animal nature and his need to avoid pain. This set consists of the needs for which the hygiene factors are relevant. The word “hygiene” is a medical term meaning preventative and environmental.

This is an –appropriate term in view of the fact that the hygiene factors represent the environment to which man as an animal is constantly trying to adjust. The dissatisfies or hygiene factors previously listed are the major environment aspects of work. Because these factors serve only to reduce pain, they cannot contribute to positive satisfaction but only to the avoidance of dissatisfaction. Herzberg found, for example, that good working conditions (Physical, environment, congenial co-workers, good supervision) were rarely named as factors contributing to job satisfaction; however, poor working conditions were frequently cited as sources of dissatisfaction.

Herzberg argued that improvement in the hygiene factors would only minimise dissatisfaction but not increase satisfaction and motivation. In order to motivate employees, the managers must ensure to provide the hygiene factors and then follow the motivating factors. When hygiene factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied; but at the same time they may not be fully satisfied. They will be in a neutral state. If we want to motivate people on their jobs, it is suggested to give much importance on those job content factors such as opportunities for personal growth, recognition, responsibility, and achievement. These are the characteristics that people find intrinsically rewarding.

Herzberg model sensitises that merely treating the employees well through ‘good’ company policies is not sufficient to motivate them. Managers should utilise the skills, abilities, and talents of the people at work through effective job designing. In other words, the work given to employees should be challenging and exciting and offer them a sense of achievement, recognition, and growth. Unless these characteristics are present in the job, employees will not be motivated.

A company policy that treats workers well may not be motivation in itself if there is no clear career progression plan or it hinders progression whether through strict staff development policy or lack of provision of scholarships. For example, some companies have policies that a worker needs to serve a minimum of 8 years for them to be granted paid study leave without sponsorship; in view of the life expectancy which is significantly reduced, it may not be possible for an employee to wait for that long. Additionally, an employee may have added responsibilities such as taking his children to school thereby making it extremely difficult for them to pay for their own studies. It is important to note that even in situations where this policy is elaborate, it may not bring motivation in itself unless it be accompanied by a motivator such as personal growth or recognition.

There are a number of managerial styles that are adopted by different supervisors; some are strict and do not consult while others are open and make workers autonomous. The quality of supervision alone, however, will not motivate a worker. Even when the supervision is good, it may not motivate a worker unless this good supervision is coupled with achievement, where the worker is given a normal task load and these tasks are smart in nature. Only then can this be a source of motivation. Despite being good, the supervisor must be seen to apply the concept of equity in dealing with subordinates, if this aspect is absent, then the workers may be dissatisfied

Factors that involve the physical environment of the job: amount of work, facilities for performing work, light, tools, temperature, space, ventilation, and general appearance of the work place. In a company were working conditions are poor, workers will not be motivated to work. For example, a receptionist who works in a small and stuffy room will not be motivated to go for work the following day. Even if such a person worked in an air conditioned room with good chairs, but the company does not recognise her contribution to the organisation, she may decide to leave the organisation because she will not be motivated. So it is only when these factors are combined that one will be motivated. For example, when such a worker’s contribution is recognised even by management writing her a letter of appreciation, then there will be motivation and satisfaction.

When it comes to job security, which is employee’s job tenure and/or the company’s stability or instability, objective signs of the presence or absence of security, it is worth noting that when a job is secured it will produce a good feeling or the psychological well being of the employee will be good. However, on its own, it cannot provide motivation unless a balance is struck between the motivators and hygiene factors as outlined by Herzberg

In Herzberg’s two-factor model pay is a maintenance factor that should not contribute significantly to motivation. The money that employees receive is actually a package made up of salary, and other fringe benefits such as transport, housing, furniture, medical allowance. Others include meal subsidy and utility allowances. This pay is given across the board or is universal and, therefore, a worker will not feel anything special about this pay unless it is given to workers who have performed exceptionally well and not to everybody else. In this case, it becomes a merit pay.

For example, a government worker who has been in service for five years at a given position will be given the same salary as someone who has just graduated from the university because they have the same position and qualification and salary scale. In such a situation, salary will not be a motivation for the one who has served longer. In view of this, the employee who has worked for five years will only be motivated if his salary is different on account of performance and length in service. Here, we see an aspect of recognition coming into play. In expectancy theory, pay can satisfy a variety of needs and influence choice and behavior, while in equity theory, pay is a major outcome that one compares with other employees.

The relationships between the worker and his or her superiors, subordinates, and peers-by which we mean the related interactions and social interactions within the work environment-play a major role in determining how employees feel about their work. Ordinarily a good and warm relationship with one’s supervisor would entail no dissatisfaction on the part of the worker. However, if the company does not recognise one’s effort or contribution to the organisation, then they will not be motivated. In order to motivate, good supervision has to be coupled with a good company policy and recognition.

4.0 Conclusion The concept of Herzberg’s Two-factor theory is one that focuses on understanding the acceptable hygiene factors that prevent the employee from being dissatisfied. It must be noted, though, that hygiene factors do not do much to motivate the employee and the management of companies has to seek other ways of achieving this. The main idea behind such factors is that they may spell the difference in the perceptions that employees hold with regards to their work and their relationship with their organisation of choice. It must be noted that both factors (hygiene factors and motivation factors) must exist in order for the employee to be motivated in his work, in the best way that he/she possibly can.

If there are missing factors (whether they may be hygiene factors or motivation factors), it is possible for the employee to be dissatisfied and not perform in the best way that they can. If all the hygiene factors are present and even when there is more than enough of a hygiene factor present, then it is possible that the employee would still not be motivated. Thus, in order for managers to successfully motivate their employees, there is a need for them to determine the appropriate and the sufficient motivation factors to use. Although, it is not always necessary that motivators keep motivating employees all the time and hygiene factors cause dissatisfaction. Some of these factors can interchange their roles as well. Therefore, it is required on the part of managers to adopt more pragmatic approach and apply a blend of both motivator factors and hygiene factors to attain the individual as well as organizational goals with efficiency and effectiveness


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