The two factor theory of Motivation

In the late 1950s, Frederick Herzberg and his associates conducted a study of the job attitudes of 200 engineers and accountants. Herzberg placed responses in one of 16 categories: the factors on the right side of the figure were consistently related to job satisfaction; those on the left side to job dissatisfaction. From this research, Herzberg concluded that job dissatisfaction and job satisfaction arose from two separate sets of factors. This theory was termed the two factor theory.

Dis-satisfiers (which he called “hygiene” factors) included salary, working conditions, and company policy – all of which affected the context in which work was conducted. The most important of these factors is company policy, which many individuals judge to be a major cause of inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Positive ratings for these factors did not lead to job satisfaction but merely to the absence of dissatisfaction.

Satisfiers (motivating factors) include achievement, recognition, responsibility, and advancement – all related to the job content and the rewards of work performance.

Herzberg’s work was influential in the growth of job enrichment programs. This more complicated model of needs – whereby both satisfiers and dissatisfiers can be present for a person – underscores how important it is that managers understand differences between human beings when designing motivational approaches. For evidence of how needs vary among people and over time, talk to your classmates, friends, colleagues at work, and professors about satisfiers and dissatisfiers in their lives and then do it again a year from now.

Summary of need theory: Each of the need theories we have summarized emphasizes the satisfaction of some important personnel needs that people have acquired over time. Each theory also emphasizes that people decide on their degree of satisfaction by consciously comparing their circumstances with their needs. Finally, each theory leaves room considerable variation from person to person and within a person over time.

Wal-Mart managers consistently act as if they eave studied these various versions of need theory. Giving associates responsibility in their store areas is responsive to self-actualization needs. Some Wal-Mart policies seemed to be aimed at potential job dissatisfiers. Achievement, affiliation, and power needs can all be met by Wal-Mart policies. “Lower needs” such as financial security are part of the motivation equation at Wal-Mart.

TQM and needs Theory:

An effective quality program depends on motivated employees. Fortunately, when we think about needs theory we can see elements of a TQM program itself might build that motivation. Such a program engages everyone in the organizations in the quality effort and seeks to reward people on a number of levels. For employees, developing creative approaches to once routine work, having your ideas respected and implemented, contributing to a high quality product and being valued as an expert in your field are all factors that can meet needs and build motivation. Add financial incentives that mix and a dedicated motivated employee group can develop.

When Fort sanders Health System, based in Knoxville, Tennessee decided to establish a quality program, an 11-week pilot program was developed to get people involved once the organization had sense of how and where quality improvements were needed. A team alliance program was established to test how the employees felt about the potential changes in the organization. Voluntary teams were established throughout the organization, and a procedure was defined for the teams to follow when creating and submitting ideas on improving patient care and increasing savings and revenues. If a suggestion was implemented the team members received cash awards. Fully 90 percent of the company’s 2800 employees participated in the program generating $3.2 million worth of ideas.

The program had several other benefits. First, it became clear to managers that employees wanted to share their ideas. The program also pinpointed important areas where training was needed, including training of managers who were not supporting the quality effort. Indeed, the company spent ten months working with unenthusiastic managers and developing training programs to support their quality efforts. The quality approach at Fort Sanders Health Systems was devised to enhance the needs of the organization members and to reach quality goals through motivation directed at quality.

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