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Frederick Herzberg's Theory of Motivation: Overview

Frederick Herzberg's Theory of Motivation: Overview
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  • 0:02 Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory
  • 1:42 Strengths and Limitations
  • 2:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Swarthout
Frederick Herzberg's theory of motivation identifies two sets of factors that cause an employee to experience job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Learn more about Herzberg's two-factor theory of motivation and take a quiz to test your knowledge.

Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory

How can managers motivate employees to perform at the highest level of their abilities? Many researchers have tried to answer this question with a variety of theories and models. Unfortunately, no single theory can explain how to motivate all employees in every situation. But many theories do shed light on some of the key elements involved in employee motivation. One such theory of motivation is Herzberg's two factor theory.

Frederick Herzberg was a behavioral scientist who explored the factors that make employees feel satisfied or dissatisfied. In 1959, he published his conclusions in a book called The Motivation to Work. Herzberg called the factors that make employees feel dissatisfied the hygiene factors; he called the factors that make employees feel satisfied the motivators. Herzberg believed that these two sets of factors act independently of each other. Another name for Herzberg's theory is the motivation-hygiene theory.

According to Herzberg, factors that affect employee dissatisfaction, or hygiene factors, have to do with the external work environment. These factors include compensation, company policies, working conditions, fringe benefits, and job security. The hygiene factors only influence an employee's level of dissatisfaction and do not directly motivate an employee to perform at a high level. Factors that affect employee satisfaction, or motivators, are intrinsic to an employee's work. Motivators influence how an employee feels while performing a job and are more closely related to job performance.

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