Hygiene Factors

Hygiene factors represent the need to avoid pain in the environment. They are not an intrinsic part of a job, but they are related to the conditions under which a job is performed. They are associated with negative feelings. They are environment related factors. They must be viewed as preventive measures that remove sources of dissatisfaction from the environment. Like physical hygiene, it does not lead to growth but only prevents deterioration. Maintaining a hygiene in the work environment will improve motivation any more than garbage disposal or water purification. Mr Fictitious who is in excellent health will not become any healthier by eating food, but if he does not eat food, he may become sick and die. Hygiene factors produce no growth in worker output they prevent loss in performance caused by work restriction.

Variables affecting Motivation in organizational setting


1) Company policy and administration
2) Relationships with supervisor
3) Work conditions
4) Salary
5) Relating with peers
6) Personal life
7) Relationships with subordinates
8) Status
9) Security


(1) Achievement (2) Recognition (3) Work itself (4) Responsibility (5) advancement (6) growth.

Motivators are associated with positive feelings of employees about the job. They are related to the content of the job. They make people satisfied with their job. If managers wish to increase motivation and performance above the average levels, they must enrich the work and increase a person’s, freedom on the job. Motivators are necessary to keep job satisfaction and job performance high. On the other hand if they are not present they do not prove to be highly satisfying.

Managerial Implications:

Herzberg’s theory casts new light on the content of work motivation. During the last thirty years, employees have been paternalistically maintained too much and enthusiastically motivated too little. Managers have been focusing their attention on hygiene factors often with poor results. They were preoccupied with the environment of work rather than work itself. The distinction of motivational and maintenance factors will help managers in spurring individuals to their peak performance. The most basic implications of the Motivation Maintenance theory is that in order to maximize human productivity it is absolutely necessary to satisfy employees’ maintenance needs and provide the opportunity to gratify their motivation needs. The key to motivation lies in structuring meaningful jobs, jobs that are challenging and rewarding that provide increased opportunities for achievement responsibility, growth and recognition. That is to say in place of dull, boring and de-motivating jobs challenging jobs should be provided by the managers.

Departure from the Traditional View:

Traditionally job satisfaction and dissatisfaction were viewed as opposite ends of a single continuum. When certain things are present on a job – good pay, opportunity for growth, healthy working environment – the employees will be satisfied. When they are absent he /she is dissatisfied. The absence of dissatisfaction is satisfaction.

Herzberg’s findings indicate that dissatisfaction is not simply the opposite of satisfaction or motivation. One can feel no dissatisfaction and yet not be satisfied. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction appear to be somewhat independent. They are not viewed as symmetrical items on a single scale, rather they are viewed attributes of different scales The factors that cause dissatisfaction are different from those that result in satisfaction. Satisfaction is affected by motivators and dissatisfaction by hygiene factors


Herzberg’s theory has been subjected to several troubling criticisms. Like Maslow’s models, Herzberg’s has been as controversial as to have been influential.

Research methodology:

(1) Herzberg is shackled to his method. His model is method bound. When researchers did not use the critical incident method, they obtained different results, (2) actually the theory is limited by the critical incident method used to obtain information. The subject stated are extremely satisfying and dissatisfying job experiences. People tend to tell the interviewer what they think the individuals would like to hear. So results obtained under the method may be a product of people’s defensiveness than a correct revelation of objective sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction (3) The method is fraught with procedural deficiencies also. The analysis of responses derived from this approach is highly subjective sometimes the researchers have to interpret the responses.
Source: HRM