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Motivation hygiene theory Herzberg

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The Motivation-Hygiene Theory by Frederick Herzberg is a motivation theory from 1959. The motivation-hygiene theory was developed by Hertzberg after he had conducted a study that motivated and demotivated staff. Herzberg discovered that the factors that made staff dissatisfied differ from what motivates staff. Simply increasing motivation through incentives such as bonuses or sanctions, therefore, does not work according to Herzberg.

According to Herzberg, managers must ensure that hygiene is in order. Herzberg does not refer here to the fact that vacuuming is good, but that there are as few demotivating circumstances as possible.

Demotivating factors according to Herzberg

According to Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, the most important demotivating factors are:

  • company policy
  • supervision
  • the relationship with the manager
  • working conditions
  • salary
  • relationship with colleagues

Motivating factors according to Herzberg

According to Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, the most important motivating factors are:

  • performance
  • recognition
  • the work itself
  • responsibility
  • prospects
  • growth

Conclusions motivation-hygiene theory Herzberg

The most important conclusion of Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory is that the basis (such as workplace and salary) must be in order, but that this is not the decisive factor in staff motivation. These are not material issues. If a staff member performs well, they automatically find their work more enjoyable. Appreciation, growth, and responsibility are more important than the salary.

Criticism on Herzberg

There is also criticism of the motivation-hygiene theory of Herzberg. It would be in the nature of people to take credit for things that go well, and to blame things that are not going well on others. Furthermore, satisfied staff would not necessarily be more productive or perform better.

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