Herzberg constructed a theory based upon two types of factors

Herzberg constructed a theory based upon two types of factors; motivating factors and hygiene factors. This theory grouped together factors which boosted one’s motivation and thus increased an employee’s work ethic into the category ‘Motivating Factors’ whilst similarly grouping the parts of work which could potentially cause dissatisfaction under the term ‘Hygiene Factors’. Motivating factors may include growing responsibility for an employee or gaining recognition when they complete a task to a high standard. Alternatively, the level of job security and an individual’s pay falls under hygiene factors (King and Lawley, 2016). Although this theory appears straight forward, there has been conflicting views on whether pay should fall into the hygiene factor’s category. Herzberg believed that pay is only ever a motivating factor for an industry if an employee is striving to reach the next pay bracket. However, once they have reached the new band of pay and the effect of a pay rise has worn off then the initial boost in motivation diminishes. Furthermore, it is clear to Herzberg that a reduction in pay could have adverse effects and result in demotivation (King and Lawley, 2016). On the contrary some people believe that pay should be included in both motivating and hygiene factors as pay can cause demotivation, but wholly it drives people to work as an employee only gets paid if they complete their work. Neither idea is completely correct as it can highly depend on the individual’s preferences and their subjective opinion on whether pay will affect their levels of motivation within the workplace.
Moreover, previous theories state ways in which an employee can be motivated by their employers. This is through redesigning the job by either job rotation, which means alternating the task of the less skilled workers to ensure the use of a wider variety of skills and a mixture of activities within the working environment, and job enlargement, which entails giving each employee a few tasks to complete each with the same level of difficulty (King and Lawley, 2016). However, Herzberg counteracts this level of theory with the argument that it may not increase motivation. He believes job enrichment is the best method to ensure an increase in motivation, this is where employers give more responsibility to employees, which in turn will increase the variety of the tasks provided and boost motivation (King and Lawley, 2016). Herzberg claims that this is the only way to increase workplace motivation, however he neglects to show that his theory combines the previous theories within it. Therefore, the claim that job rotation and job enlargement would be unsuccessful at boosting motivation may be questioned.
When conducting the theory Herzberg originally used accountants and engineers as his test subjects, it was from this test that he concluded that motivating factors contribute to satisfaction and hygiene factors add to dissatisfaction (King and Lawley, 2016). These are relatively skilled workforces to assess and so to make this theory more wholesome of the working environment the theory may need to be retested on some less skilled areas of the workforce, for example within a supermarket or a coffee shop. This way Herzberg’s theory would be relevant for more types of job and therefore be a more well- rounded recognised motivational theory.
There are some definite insufficiencies with Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory. One common flaw of the theory is the failure to recognise situational factors affecting the workplace environment (Heery and Noon, 2008). These situational factors could include the general temperature of the area as this could have a significant impact on a person’s motivation to complete any given tasks, or alternatively, the lighting of the surroundings as a darker environment can tend to cause employees to work at a slower pace and thus could demotivate potentially. These circumstances show coherent flaws in Herzberg’s theory and so put into question how comprehensive his concept on motivation are. A final flaw of Herzberg’s Two Factor theory is the assumption that increased job satisfaction leads to increased productivity (Heery and Noon, 2008). This assumption is never actually stated or proven and so it puts into question the overall summery of the Two Factor Theory. It queries whether a motivational factor does increase motivation or consequently productivity, since there is no evidence of a positive correlation between the two the theory could be irrelevant.


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