Motivation Theories – Herzberg Motivation Theory

The Herzberg motivation theory is one of the content theories of motivation. It is also known as Herzberg’s two-factor theory.


Frederick Herzberg arrived at the theory by interviewing 203 Pittsburg engineers and accountants. They were asked to recall events that made them feel good about their work and those that made them feel bad about their work. It was found that factors that caused satisfaction were different from those that caused dissatisfaction.

These two groups of factors were called motivators and hygiene factors.

Motivators – produced satisfaction when present and were capable of motivating the person.

Hygiene factors (maintenance factors) – Could not give satisfaction or motivation when present, but their absence caused dissatisfaction.

These distinginctions were derived from two separate “need systems” of individuals. The first is a need to avoid unpleasantness. This need is satisfied by hygiene factors. The second is a need for personal growth, which is satisfied by motivator factors.

His findings are covered in his book “Work and the Nature of Man.” This theory therefore focuses on motivation of employees in the workplace.

These theories do not seem to have much relevance as far as achieving your dreams is concerned, so I would not like to dwell on them too much.


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