The Two-factor Theory

The Two-factor theory (also known as Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory and dual-factor theory) states that there are certain factors in the workplace that cause job satisfaction while a separate set of factors causes dissatisfaction, all of which act independently of each other.

Frederick Irving Herzberg was an American psychologist, most famous for introducing job enrichment and the Motivator-Hygiene theory.

To better understand employee attitudes and motivation, Frederick Herzberg performed studies to determine which factors in an employee´s work environment caused satisfaction or dissatisfaction. He published his findings in the 1959 book The Motivation to Work, followed 1986 by the publication One More Time, how do you motivate employees

From interviews with 203 people, he developed the motivation-hygiene theory to explain the results from these interviews. He called the satisfiers motivators and the dissatisfiers hygiene factors, using the term “hygiene” in the sense that they are considered maintenance factors that are necessary to avoid dissatisfaction but that by themselves do not provide satisfaction.

This is, according to Herzberg, the tops six factors causing satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

A study made in June 2017 * reports that 7 out of 10 actually are satisfied with their job, but it depends greatly on what you are working with and your age. If you are older you have a higher position within the company, with more flexibility and a higher salary. Younger people haven´t climbed the corporate ladder yet and in the group of people working with maintenance hardly 60% are satisfied at work.

Humans tend to look at the aspects of their work that they like and project them onto themselves when things are going well. When times are bad, external factors seem to play a larger part.

So, what are you? A motivator or a hygiene factor? And if you are a hygiene factor what can you do to move towards being a motivator?

To many continues to be a hygiene factor and settle to living for work instead of working to live. Don’t let you be one of them.

You only get one shot to experience the adventure called life.


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Co-founder, UnlimitedKarma

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*In Sweden, the study made by SCB (Central Bureau of Statistics)

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