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Dual Factor Theory

Hertzberg’s hypothesis states that there are two primary factors that affect motivation. These factors are referred to as “hygiene” and “motivating”. Hygiene factors include:

  • The company
  • The policies and administration
  • The type of supervision on the job
  • Salary
  • Security
  • Working conditions
  • Interpersonal relations

Herzberg states that these workplace factors do not lead to higher levels of motivation. The absence of hygiene factors from the work environment can lead to employee dissatisfaction.

The inclusion of “Salary” in this grouping has been thought provoking. I can infer from Hertzberg’s work that salaries and wages are not motivating factors. This conjecture has been a revelation to me. I have witnessed the limited affect that salary increases have on employees. In actual fact, the motivation and enthusiasm that initially accompanies a pay increase quickly loses impact. From a personal perspective, I have experienced and questioned the same feelings. Why is it that you feel so good after a pay increase, and a few weeks later, it feels like nothing ever happened? I believe that Hertzberg is correct in his hypothesis that money is not a motivator.

I can also infer from Hertzberg’s work that, if salary increases do not meet employee expectations, the level of job dissatisfaction will rise. This reaction supports another motivational process known as “Expectant Theory”. From my readings, it can be concluded that many of the motivational processes have overlapping principles.

One must ask the question, “If salary and wages are not considered motivators, what is?” Hertzberg has an explanation to this question. He feels that work, itself, is the primary motivator and there are factors that enhance the work experience. These motivating factors are:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Work Itself
  • Responsibility

Hertzberg's Hypothesis Motivating Factors

One can observe that hygiene factors are external forces that affect job dissatisfaction, whereas motivating factors are internal forces that affect motivation. These internal forces are human desires and feelings.

“In Herzberg’s view, until hygiene factors are right, the motivating factors cannot work. Herzberg argues, for example, that creating ever better and better working conditions will not improve motivation and performance beyond a certain level…Further and real increase in motivation and performance then comes from the motivating factors themselves” (Management Learning, 2002, p.1).

Herzberg does not put a specific weighting on the importance of either the hygiene or motivating factors. He suggests that these approaches must be used in combination and simultaneously. This appears logical because, every manager should desire to treat the employees fairly so there is little dissatisfaction. When employees are utilized, based on their skill sets, they will possess a sense of achievement. Employee achievement can lead to recognition, personal growth, and advancement.

From my reading, I have determined that I can be a catalyst in developing methods to enhance the motivational processes at my company. This may include changing work assignments for employees and developing an interdepartmental cross-training policy. Employees will be given the opportunity to assist and have input in the development of new procedures for their production processes.

The readings in the area of motivational psychology have allowed me to evaluate current practices at my company. I have developed a particular interest in the work of Frederick Herzberg. His dual factor theory is a logical process from which I can develop personal methodologies to affect the motivational processes at my company.

Your input is welcome. How do you motivate employees in your workplace? What have you found effective?

Works cited
Management Learning. (2002). Hygiene factors: Frederick Herzberg, dual factor theory. Retrieved on September 19, 2009.

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Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
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