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Herzberg's Two Factor Theory

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Herzberg's two factor theory is also known as Hygiene Theory. In this theory Frederick Herzberg suggested that there are two equally important groups of factors relevant to motivating staff namely the Motivational factors and Hygiene factors.

He argued that hygiene or the dissatisfiers do not actually motivate but need to be at least satisfactory if they do not have to demotivate people. As an example, a safe and healthy workplace will not in itself encourage employees to work harder but satisfies them enough so that other factors can motivate them. Nonetheless, if the working conditions are unpleasant, people will feel demotivated and these other elements will simply not work. But if the hygiene factors are satisfactory, Herzberg claimed that the five key factors are then able to motivate staff: challenging and interesting work; responsibility for tasks and duties; a sense of having achieved something worthwhile; recognisition at work and possibility of personal development, transfer and promotion.

The major criticism of Herzberg's model has been done for not including monetary incentives like good pay in motivating factors, rather they were the part of hygiene factors.Opsahl and Dunnette (1966) called it mystifying. It is interesting to note that in 1987 when Herzberg's article was reprinted to mark the 65th anniversary of Harvard Business Review, Herzberg dismissed his critics in relation with monetary incentive, basing his study on different countries out of which one was India. He suggested that growth was more important than money. Scholars like Dayal and Sayadain (1970) talk in favour of Herzberg's model in relation with India. They maintain that motives like advancement, stability and opportunity to use skills rank higher than monetary incentives (Laxmi Narayan, 1993). On the other hand, critics reveal that the research of these scholars have been primarily conducted on the managers and supervisors, ignoring the normal workforce of a company. In contrast to the supporters when Prayag Mehta (1978) held a research keeping the base equal with managers and workers, found that monetary incentives are not only the hygiene but also the motivating factor in a firm. When Rao conducted a research in 2001, he found that what India employees wanted more was recognition from superiors in order to satisfy their ego and increase their self worth in front of co workers.

If a conclusion is drawn, it can be seen that Herzberg's hygiene theory works on two levels in India. At the managerial level, one can find considerable support for it while at the lower management level monetary incentives prove to be an additional and rather important player in motivating. In these situations Maslow's need theory takes over Herzberg's Hygiene theory. In a country like India where education is still an issue, most of the people are skilled and not educated workers. For such people money is what defines them

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