Study notes

Motivation - Herzberg (Two Factor Theory)

  • Levels: GCSE, AS
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Other, Pre-U

Herzberg had close links with Maslow and believed in a two-factor theory of motivation. He argued that there were certain factors that a business could introduce that would directly motivate employees to work harder (motivators). However there were also factors that would de-motivate an employee if not present but would not in themselves actually motivate employees to work harder (hygiene factors)

Motivators are more concerned with the actual job itself. For instance how interesting the work is and how much opportunity it gives for extra responsibility, recognition and promotion. Hygiene factors are factors which 'surround the job' rather than the job itself. For example a worker will only turn up to work if a business has provided a reasonable level of pay and safe working conditions but these factors will not make him work harder at his job once he is there.

Herzberg believed that businesses should motivate employees by adopting a democratic approach to management and by improving the nature and content of the actual job through certain methods. Some of the methods managers could use to achieve this are:

  • Job enlargement – workers being given a greater variety of tasks to perform (not necessarily more challenging) which should make the work more interesting.
  • Job enrichment - involves workers being given a wider range of more complex and challenging tasks surrounding a complete unit of work. This should give a greater sense of achievement.
  • Empowerment means delegating more power to employees to make their own decisions over areas of their working life.
Key summary for Herzberg:
  • Workers motivated to work harder by motivators e.g. more responsibility, more interesting work, more praise for good work
  • Workers can become de-motivated if hygiene factors are not met e.g. pay, working conditions, relationships with colleagues
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Teacher of Business

Peter Symonds College, Winchester, Hampshire

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