Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation

In 1959, Frederick Herzberg, a behavioral scientist proposed a two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory. According to Herzberg, there are some job factors that result in satisfaction while there are other job factors that prevent dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg, the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No satisfaction” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.

Herzberg classified these job factors into two categories-

Hygiene factors- Hygiene factors are those job factors which are essential for the existence of motivation in the workplace. These do not lead to positive satisfaction for long-term. But if these factors are absent / if these factors are non-existent at the workplace, then they lead to dissatisfaction. In other words, hygiene factors are those factors which when adequate/reasonable in a job, pacify the employees and do not make them dissatisfied. These factors are extrinsic to work. Hygiene factors are also called as dissatisfiers or maintenance factors as they are required to avoid dissatisfaction. These factors describe the job environment/scenario. The hygiene factors symbolized the physiological needs which the individuals wanted and expected to be fulfilled.

Hygiene factors include:


  • Pay –

The pay or salary structure should be appropriate and reasonable. It must be equal and competitive to those in the same industry in the same domain.

  • Company Policies and administrative policies –

The company policies should not be too rigid. They should be fair and clear. It should include flexible working hours, dress code, breaks, vacation, etc.

  • Fringe benefits –

The employees should be offered health care plans (mediclaim), benefits for the family members, employee help programs, etc.

  • Physical Working conditions –

The working conditions should be safe, clean and hygienic. The work equipment should be updated and well-maintained.

  • Status –

The employees’ status within the organization should be familiar and retained.

  • Interpersonal relations –

The relationship of the employees with his peers, superiors, and subordinates should be appropriate and acceptable. There should be no conflict or humiliation element present.

  • Job Security –

The organization must provide job security to the employees.