When it comes to employee satisfaction, it can be a rather difficult area to understand and in many ways, knowledge about it seems to be lacking or misunderstood. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory is an explanation of the factors that satisfy or dissatisfy employees. It provides an interesting look at the factors that might make an employee satisfied or dissatisfied with their job. The theory also shows the overall complexity of keeping employees satisfied.
“The opposite of job satisfaction is not job dissatisfaction but, rather, no job satisfaction; and similarly, the opposite of job dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction, but no job dissatisfaction”
-Frederick Herzberg, 1987
The theory takes into consideration the quality of supervision, employee job security, pay, and quality working conditions whereby the absence or poor quality of which may cause job dissatisfaction but its presence will not necessarily aid in job satisfaction (Kurian, 2013, p.136). The idea is to learn what factors satisfy employees or what factors dissatisfy employees. The theory breaks these job satisfaction factors into two categories: the motivating factors and the hygiene factors.
Those items that fall into the satisfier category, or motivating factors, are as follows: achievement, recognition, the work one is doing and their perception of it, responsibility, advancement, and growth (Smerek & Peterson, 2006). The category focusing on dissatisfaction, called hygiene factors, contains 10 items: company policy and administration, supervision, relationship with supervisor, working conditions, salary, peer relationships, personal life, subordinate relationships, status, and security (Smerek & Peterson, 2006).
Books by Frederick Herzberg
According to the Two-Factor Theory you cannot improve job satisfaction by improving any of the 10 hygiene factors, but only by improving the 6 motivating factors; In other words, an improved relationship with your supervisor will not make you like your job any more than you already do, it will just help you not hate it. The absence of the motivating factors will not actually make you dissatisfied with your job, but you will not be satisfied with it either (Smerek & Peterson, 2006).
Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory adds a layer of complexity in working towards motivating employees to be more satisfied with their jobs and role within a company. It provides a rough framework of ideas that may cause job satisfaction or job dissatisfaction. Understanding this theory may assist in the goal of improving employee job satisfaction, but much of the difficulty with this theory is the variations in employee personality and perceptions that do not seem to be given a large enough priority in importance and potential to cause problems within group dynamics.
Originally Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Administration Concentration in Information Resource Management on April 28, 2015
The above is an excerpt from the scientific literature review section of my graduate project.
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