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- Motivation in theory
Motivation in theory
Herzberg's two-factor theory
Frederick Herzberg and his colleagues conducted a survey into what made people feel particularly good and particularly bad about their jobs. They found that what made people feel good about their jobs concerned responsibility and accomplishments and a feeling of growth in job competence these are the factors that satisfy. The second set of factors is called ‘hygiene' factors, these would make a person dissatisfied and improvements in these would reduce or remove dissatisfaction.
Hence his theory is referred to as ‘two-factor theory'. Two important conclusions arose from his research:
- the causes of satisfaction at work lie in the content of the job itself - the motivator
- the causes of dissatisfaction lie in the working environment - the hygiene factors or maintenance factors.
The hygiene or maintenance factors
Herzberg considered that maintenance factors only had the power to cause dissatisfaction; that is when they are absent. Their function is to allow the motivators to work. In other words if they are okay they are unimportant; if they are not okay they are a source of dissatisfaction. For example:
- university policy and administration - the overall operation of the organisation (how it is managed and organised)
- supervision - the social and technical ability of managers - factors in this category include knowledge of the job, fairness in allocated work, and help provided to colleagues
- working conditions - this related to all physical aspects of the job - the amount of work, facilities for performing it, and general appearance of the workplace
- interpersonal relations - the quality of relationships between management and the work team and between colleagues themselves
- salary - this covers all forms of monetary rewards, basic pay, bonuses, overtime rates, etc
- status - this is the regard the organisation has for its members, shown by certain extras apart from pay. Examples include having a personal office, having administrative support, etc
- job security - the actual security of tenure rather than the feeling of security - it includes items like fixed-term contracts, lay-off agreements and redundancy procedures.
The importance of these factors is their power to cause dissatisfaction if they are not of an adequate standard. Removing the dissatisfaction then does not create satisfaction but it does allow the motivators to come into play to improve job satisfaction and therefore performance.
The motivating factors
Herzberg uses this term to describe those factors arising from the job, which have the power to create satisfaction. They are effective in motivating people at work to greater performance and productivity. It is important to remember that they are all examples of factors arising directly from the actual job itself.
The motivators are usually regarded as the following:
- achievement - the personal satisfaction of completing a job, solving its problems and seeing the successful results of one's own efforts
- recognition - the acknowledgement of a job efficiently done - this may be something which arises from within the individual or be acknowledged by others
- work - the positive effects of the job upon the person - your job may be interesting, varied, creative and challenging. However, different people may find the same job more or less interesting; what is interesting to one person may be boring to another
- responsibility - the degree of control the person has over work - the amount of control that people can exercise is, in part, influenced by the authority and the responsibility that goes with it
- advancement - the opportunity to achieve promotion within the organisation - advancement also occurs when someone is given more freedom to exercise initiatives in his/her normal work
- growth - the opportunities to gain new knowledge and develop skills - it may be seen as the opportunity to use developed skills and abilities or to realise further potential in the job.
You will notice that the manager is not a motivation. The quality of supervision is a hygiene factor. However, a manager can still affect the motivation of his or her staff.
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