Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Posted on August 13, 2009 by


Psychologist Frederick Herzberg studied the characteristics of one’s job that lead to the work being satisfying or dissatisfying. He found that there are a set of characteristics, such as having responsibility, making achievements, and advancing, that lead to job satisfaction. He called these characteristics “motivators.” Interestingly, it isn’t the absence of these characteristics that lead to job dissatisfaction. There is a completely different set of job characteristics that lead to job dissatisfaction, and he called these “hygiene factors”. Examples of hygiene factors are job security, job safety, and salary. When these hygiene factors are present, they do not lead to job satisfa ction, but if they are absent, they lead to job dissatisfaction. For example, Kevin likes that his job at the car dealership has allowed him to learn more about cars, so that is a motivator. However, he doesn’t like that he has to sit in the passenger seat when crazy drivers take cars for a test drive because he fears they will get into an accident, so that is a hygiene factor. What motivates you at work? What do you expect to be there or you’ll be dissatisfied? Health insurance? Updated technology? Ample parking spaces?

This theory and additional psychological and sociological theories explaining how individuals and groups behave  are listed as the tool of Organizational Theories in the fourth edition PMBOK®’s Develop Human Resource Plan process.