In the 1950s and 1960s, psychologist Fredrick Herzberg sought to understand employee satisfaction by asking people what they wanted from their jobs. He asked people to describe situations in which they felt really good and really bad about their jobs.

These results became known as Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory (also known as Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory). Herzberg's findings revealed that certain characteristics of a job are consistently related to job satisfaction while different factors are associated with job dissatisfaction (see Table 18.1).

Table 18.1 Herzberg's Factors for Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction

Factors for Satisfaction Factors for Dissatisfaction
Achievement Company policies
Recognition Supervision
The work itself Relationship with supervisor and peers
Responsibility Work conditions
Advancement Salary
Growth Status

Source: Frederick Herzberg, “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” Harvard Business Review (January 2003).

The characteristics associated with job dissatisfaction are called hygiene factors. When these have been adequately addressed, people will not be dissatisfied. (Notice the double negative, “not dissatisfied.”) Herzberg acknowledged the complexity of the salary issue (money, earnings, etc.) and concluded that money is not a motivator in the same way as the primary motivators such as achievement and recognition. ...

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