Herzburg's Two-Factor Theory (Hygiene Theory) - Explained
What is Hygeine Theory?
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Table of ContentsWhat is Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory?How does Hygiene Theory Work? Academic Research on Herzberg's Two Factor Theory
What is Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory?
The Herzburg two-factor theory, also known as the Herzburg's Hygiene Theory, posits that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not opposites. The research underpinning this theory identifies characteristics of jobs that related to job satisfaction - while a different set of job factors lead to dissatisfaction. Thus, eliminating dissatisfaction will not necessarily create satisfaction and vice versa.
The conclusion was that to remove dissatisfaction, the manager must identify and remove the factors causing it. To improve satisfaction, you must add those desired factors. Though, this can only be effective after removing aspects of dissatisfaction.
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How does Hygiene Theory Work?
Frederick Herzberg proposed the two-factor theory based upon what employment characteristics satisfy employees. He was able to conclude that satisfying and dissatisfying characteristics are different.
- Hygiene Factors - Dissatisfying factors are labeled as hygiene factors - as they are part of the context in which the job was performed (rather than functions of the job itself). Common hygiene factors include: work conditions, company policies, supervisions, salary, safety, and security.
- Motivators - Satisfying factors were labeled as motivators. Motivators, in contrast to hygiene factors, are factors are intrinsic to the job. Common hygiene factors include: personal recognition, achievement, engaging work, meaningful responsibilities, career advancement, and personal growth opportunities.
Herzberg's research found that motivators were far more effective in motivating employee productivity.
This theory provided a way to motivate through improved work conditions - which lead to a burgeoning of job enrichment programs.
These programs contained higher numbers of motivators.
The primary criticisms of this approach concern the definition of job satisfaction.
Also, there are issues in the ability to differentiate hygienes from motivators.
In some instances, variations of a factor could be each.
Also, it fails to address the quality of the relationship between management and subordinates.
In any event, the theory is foundational in modern leadership and management education and practice.