Management Dissertations - Herzberg's Two-factor Theory

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Herzberg's Two-factor Theory

Guided by the question what employees in the information society of the twenty-first century perceive as relevant for their personal motivation in comparison to Herzberg’s two-factor theory this dissertation presents a qualitative study conducted with a group of German knowledge workers. The participants reject Herzberg’s two factor theory as an adequate motivational theory for their workplace motivation. According to the participants view a cultural bias can be found in Herzberg’s theory. Furthermore the underlying assumption of Herzberg’s theory that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction depend on different factors is doubted. Instead it is suggested by the participants the difference needs to be made between motivation and job satisfaction. The theory does not reflect the German cultural tendency towards a team-based approach and the importance of safety needs for motivation. The motivator factors proposed by Herzberg only partially meet the perception of the group of participants. A mentally challenging work, visionary leadership and psychological safety are the key motivators in the researched organisation. Differences in the nature of the job and the cultural environment are suggested as reasons why earlier studies on Herzberg’s theory resulted in ambivalent findings concerning the validity of Herzberg’s theory. Implications of a possible misunderstanding of Herzberg concerning the relationship between job satisfaction, job dissatisfaction and motivation on the two-factor theory and other relevant motivational theories get discussed.

Revaluating Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

A 45th Anniversary

Honour where honour is due: in order to last for 45years without being disproved and maintain a place under the most influential of its kind an academic theory has to be a truly outstanding specimen. This is the case for Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory of workplace motivation, published in “The Motivation to Work” (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman) in 1959. In its essence the theory relates motivation and job satisfaction with a set of work-related factors and job dissatisfaction with a set of factors in the organisational environment.

Since its introduction in 1959 it can be said that the two-factor theory has had considerable influence on the body of science on workplace motivation. Despite existing criticism it can be stated that the two-factory theory fulfils all four criteria of a valuable academic theory (Whitsett and Winslow 1967), it has resolving and explanatory power, has generated a vast amount of further research (Herzberg 1993) and is a useful base for prediction on the topic of workplace motivation. In addition Herzberg (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman 1959) introduced a new research method to generate his findings, the so-called “critical incident technique” that caused great sensation and dispute in academic circles at that point in time. In this way Herzberg’s theory has lost nothing of its attractiveness to and influence on academics and manager’s alike over the past decades. In contrary it can still be found on the “manager’s motivational toolbag” for “managing into the new millennium” (Buhler 2003:20) and in modern academic textbooks (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002). The same holds true for Herzberg’s original research design, which is still used by current researchers all around the world to conduct studies on workplace motivation (Ruthankoon and Ogunlana 2003, Tamosaitis and Schwenker’s 2002, Timmreck 2001).

What makes Herzberg’s theory such an outstanding specimen amongst the various motivational theories are its underlying thoughts on organisational behaviour in general that draw largely on A.H. Maslow’s (1943) famous hierarchy of needs theory on human behaviour.

His findings in the field of motivation led Herzberg to become one of the trailblazers of the job enrichment movement during the late 1960s and 1970s that is now highly connected to his name and contributed much to Herzberg’s later fame (Clark, Chandler and Barry 1994, Hackman 1975, Reif, Ferrazzi and Evans 1974). With his ideas on job enrichment Herzberg introduced a change that still can be found in our modern job design.

Nevertheless paradigms have changed during the last 45 years. The new millennium has seen the coming of the information society and the knowledge era (Van Beveren 2002). Thus forcing change on the social and organisational environment (Mullins 2002). Writers such as Senge (1990) and Edmonson (1999) stress the importance of organisational learning and new team based approaches to keep pace with changes forced onto organisations by the growing degree of globalisation and the rapidly increasing body of knowledge. Table 0.1 highlights the changes in management during the last centuries.

Table 0.1 Comparing the paradigms

19th century

20th century

21st century

Theory of personhood

Interchangeable muscle and energy

A subordinate with a hierarchy of needs

Autonomous and reflexive individual

Information and Knowledge

The province of management alone

Management-dominated and shared on a limited basis

Widely diffused

The purpose of work


Accumulation of wealth and social status

Part of strategic life plan


With the firm and/or with the working class

Identify with a social group and/or the firm

The disenfranchised self


Disruptive and to be avoided

Disruptive but tolerated and can be settled through collective bargaining

A normal part of life

Division of labour

Managers decide, employees execute

Managers decide, employees execute thoughtfully

Employees and managers decide and execute


Concentrated on the top

Limited, functional sharing/ empowerment

Diffused and shared

Source: Mullins, Laurie J. (2002)

The radical changes in the organisational environment also made it necessary to develop new methods of analysis. Under the impression of the growing complexity of influences on organisations business research balanced its traditional static methods of quantitative research with the more flexible and dynamic research tools of qualitative research (Bryman and Bell 2003). Thus providing new ways of conducting research and revaluating the results of already existing findings.

This papers presents the results of a qualitative study conducted in a branch of a German software company in order to explore the perception of modern knowledge workers on their own workplace motivation and to compare these perceptions to Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Chapter one summarises Herzberg’s work on motivation and job enrichment as well as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory as an important predecessor to Herzberg’s work. Chapter two summarises the criticism on both Herzberg’s and Maslow’s work, provides a brief survey of Hofstede’s cultural framework and presents further literature relevant to the research. Chapter three introduces the company where the research was conducted and the participants. It also contains the methodology and method sections. Chapter four presents the findings of the research, while chapter five contains the discussion. Chapter six finally closes the paper with the conclusions, the limitations of the research and issues for further research.

Chapter 1: Herzberg, Maslow and Human Needs

This chapter highlights Herzberg’s two-factor theory of workplace motivation and his consecutive work on job enrichment as well as A.H. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory of motivation. The relations between the two theories are discussed.

1.1 Herzberg’s two-factor theory

It was in fact Herzberg’s psychological background that lead to the insights, which became the basis of his first research published in 1959 his well-known book “The Motivation to Work” (Herzberg 1993, Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman 1959). During his time working at a public health school Herzberg came to the conclusion that “mental health is not the opposite of mental illness” (Herzberg 1993:xii). The idea that things usually believed to be each others opposite do not need to be diametrically opposed if they are determined by different factors became the foundation of Herzberg’s theory on workplace motivation. Herzberg argued that if job satisfaction was determined by different factors than dissatisfaction with the job, job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction were not precisely each others opposite and had to be treated as different aspects of work (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman 1959). In order to prove this hypothesis Herzberg made use of the “critical incident method”.. Herzberg conducted his initial research with a sample of 203 engineers and accountants asking them to describe one situation (critical incident) where they felt good in their job and another situation where they felt bad at work (Herzberg 1993, Rollinson, Broadfield and Edwards 1998). The analysis of the interviews was conducted by a team of researches that had been trained to understand and categorise similar statements by the participants in the same way, so that the experiences described could be grouped under a set of generic terms (Herzberg, Mausner, Boch Snyderman 1959). After this coding procedure the results became quantified, simply by counting how often each generic term had been named in connection to job satisfaction or in connection to job dissatisfaction (Herzberg, Mausner, Boch Snyderman 1959). By this means Herzberg and his team were able to extract two sets of factors from the interviews, one that was repeatedly mentioned in connection to job satisfaction or a good feeling about the job and one that was linked to job dissatisfaction or a bad feeling about the job.

Job satisfaction, according to Herzberg, is mainly a result of the actual work conducted and a series of issues that contributed to the positive perception of the work, such as recognition, achievement, the possibility of growth, advancement and responsibility (Herzberg, Mausner, Boch Snyderman 1959, Tietjen and Myers 1998). Herzberg concluded that these factors not only cause job satisfaction, but to have a positive and lasting influence on motivation, if they are present. Therefore these factors became known as “motivators”. Dissatisfaction on the other hand was caused by factors in the job environment that did not directly contribute to the work itself (Herzberg, Mausner, Boch Snyderman 1959, Mullins 2002). The positive handling of these factors, according to Herzberg, could have only a short-term effect on motivation, while these factors caused severe dissatisfaction with the job, if they were handled badly. Herzberg referred to this factors as “hygiene”.

Herzberg regarded his findings as prove for his initial hypothesis that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction were unrelated matters (Herzberg, Mausner, Boch Snyderman 1959). Hence he regarded the opposite of job satisfaction to be no satisfaction and the opposite of job dissatisfaction to be no satisfaction. Thus the presence of motivator factors would cause satisfaction and motivation and their absence only no satisfaction. The hygiene factors on the other hand would mainly lead to dissatisfaction and would in a positive case only cause a zero state of motivation or satisfaction (Mullins 2002). Motivator and Hygiene factors are contrasted in table 1.1.

Table 1.1 Motivators and Hygiene Factors


Hygiene Factors


Company policy and administration


Technical supervision

Work itself



Interpersonal relations – supervision


Working conditions

Possibility of growth


Interpersonal relations – subordinate

Interpersonal relations – peers

Private Life

Job security

Source: Tietjen and Myers 1998

Herzberg (1968, 2003) further elaborated his perception of workplace motivation in his famous article “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees” that has become the most reprinted article of the Harvard Business Review of all times (Herzberg 1993). By comparing the two terms motivation and movement, Herzberg rejects the classical carrot and stick approach of management. Herzberg rather follows the notion that financial incentives, a pleasant social environment or the offering of status symbols as well as punishment and disciplining by management may move or drive employees towards the fulfilment of a certain task, but will not make the task itself more interesting or motivating (Herzberg 1968). In his later work Herzberg compared hygiene to heroine, stating that more and more hygiene improvements are necessary to achieve less and less motivation (Dowling 1971). According to Herzberg (1968) only well-designed jobs, challenging tasks and the acknowledging awareness of management and colleagues will fill employees with enthusiasm for their jobs and intrinsically motivate them to carry out their tasks. Management is requested not to push employees towards organisational goals, but to provide sensible and challenging tasks that allow their subordinates to grow while working towards the organisational goals. Goal fulfilment needs to be recognised by management in an appropriate manor. Despite Herzberg’s emphasise on the fact that motivation can only be achieved by the motivators, he stresses that a proper management of the hygiene factors is equally important in order to make work not only a motivating but pleasant experience (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman 1959, Mullins 2002).

1.2 Herzberg’s Contribution to Job Enrichment

Herzberg did not restrict his 1968 article to be a mere summary of his earlier work on motivation. Instead he additionally presented a list of what he called “principles of vertical job loading” (Table 1.2) that indicated how jobs needed to be modified in order to show off the motivators of his two-factor theory to their advantage (Herzberg 2003:93).

Table 1.2 Principles of vertical job loading


Motivators involved

A. Removing some controls while retaining accountability

Responsibility and personal achievement

B. Increasing the accountability of individuals for own work

Responsibility and recognition

C. Giving a person a complete natural unit of work (module, division, area, and so on)

Responsibility, achievement, and recognition

D. Granting additional authority to employees in their activity, job freedom

Responsibility, achievement, and recognition

E. Making periodic reports directly available to the workers themselves rather than to supervisors

Internal recognition

F. Introducing new and more difficult tasks not previously handled

Growth and learning

G. Assigning individuals specific or specialised tasks, enabling them to become experts

Responsibility, growth, and advancement

Source: Herzberg 2003

Herzberg’s approach to create more a more fulfilling job experience by giving jobs more motivating contents and hence more meaning became known as the job enrichment movement (Hackman 1975, Reif, Ferazzi and Evans 1974). The job enrichment idea was taken up by several other writers, who partially developed rivalling concepts to the one of Herzberg, such as sociotechnical systems, participative management and industrial democracy (Herzberg 1974). Although the theories on job enrichment overlap in certain aspects, it will be sufficient for the purpose of this paper on Herzberg’s motivational theory to focus on Herzberg’s own approach that became known as “orthodox job enrichment”, as this concept is most strongly linked to Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory (Herzberg 1974). In his paper “The wise old Turk” Herzberg (1974) presents are more complete approach to job enrichment compared to his principles on vertical job loading mentioned above. Job enrichment, he argues, is based on the relationships between ability, opportunity and performance reinforcement. The more ability an employee possesses to do his or her work, Herzberg points out, the easier this employee can be motivated to do a good job. This principle is of significance for the organisation’s policies on recruitment and selection as well training and development, as a person who is lacking the necessary competence is far more difficult to motivate. Ability on the other hand is of no use, if the job does not offer the opportunity to make full use of one’s own abilities, or as Herzberg (1974:71) puts it “managers cannot motivate a person to do a good job, unless there is a good job to do”. Finally the employee’s readiness to grow with his work needs to be reinforced. Appraisal systems do not only need to appreciate the employee’s growth, they need to reward growth with the potential for further growth and advancement, as “there is no sense in providing training without opportunity, no sense in offering opportunity without training, and no sense in offering both training and opportunity if the reinforcement is solely by hygiene procedures” (Herzberg 1974:71).

Herzberg (1974) continues by presenting eight features a “good” job should include, direct feedback, a client relationship, a learning function, the opportunity for each person to schedule his own work, unique expertise, control over resources, direct communications and personal accountability. Direct feedback can consist of the immediate response of the supervisor to the results of the subordinate or even better the opportunity for the subordinate to independently verify his or her efforts him or herself. The relationship to a specific client gives the employee the opportunity to better understand the needs and problems of his or her customer and participate in their solution. Herzberg (1974) recommends to organise internal supplier-client relationships for back office employees in order to increase their interest in the overall work processes. New learning refers to possibilities for the employee to grow psychologically in order to keep his or her job meaning or purposeful. It further allows the employee to constantly update his or her knowledge in order to maintain the necessary competence in a fast changing economical environment. Scheduling is supposed to grant the employee the freedom of how to structure his or her tasks. While the deadlines are still set by management the employee becomes free to set his or her own pace to keep them. Unique expertise aims at giving each employee a more or less individual field of competence in order to increase his or her identification with the task. Control over resources is meant to allocate the means for a project to the lowest possible level of hierarchy in order to increase the responsibility of the lower ranks. Direct communications authority allows employees to address their colleagues in other parts of the organisation in formal matters directly without having to involve the hierarchy. Thus saving time and improving the social relations within the organisation. Personal accountability finally frees the employee from doing single in itself meaningless tasks and provides responsibility for a coherent set of tasks with which the employee can identify. Although these factors are closer to reality than the principles of vertical job loading in table 1.2 it is still fairly obvious how their implementation can contribute to including the motivators of Herzberg’s two-factor theory mentioned in table 1.1 into the employees’ daily work.

In 1979 Herzberg published an even more refined view on job enrichment, based on a model that highlighted the central importance of the client relationship for orthodox job enrichment. The relationship to a client, according to Herzberg, would improve an employees opportunity to constantly update his knowledge of the customer’s needs and requirements thus enabling to stay in touch with the latest developments, increasing his knowledge and contributing to the employee’s unique expertise. Herzberg’s model of job enrichment is depicted in figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1 Herzberg’s Model of Job Enrichment


Over Resources

Direct Feedback

New learning

Client Relationship

Unique Expertise



Direct Communications Authority

Personal Accountability

Source: Herzberg 1979

1.3 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Published in 1943 A.H. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is in fact not only a predecessor of Herzberg’s two-factor theory, but its basis as it will be pointed out later (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002). Maslow (1943) suggests that motivation is a result of five different sets of human needs and desires, namely physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualisation needs (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002, Clark, Chandler and Barry 1998). Physiological needs refer to the most essential issues of human survival such as food and drink, air to breath, sleep, reproduction and so on. Safety needs include physical safety, but also the human desire for predictability and orderliness. Love needs consist of all sorts of social affiliation and their advantages. Esteem needs include self-esteem and the confidence in one’s own abilities as well as the recognition and admiration by others. Self-actualisation needs finally refer to the ultimate experience of self-fulfilment and the idea of becoming the person one always wanted to be. Although Maslow (1943) only wrote about a hierarchy, his levels of needs usually are pictured as a pyramid (Figure 1.2).

Figure 1.2 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs







Source: Mullins 2002

People, according to Maslow (1943), process through these levels of needs in a hierarchical order, as one level of needs gets satisfied it loses its motivating effect making the individual long for the satisfaction of the next set of needs. Without at least a certain degree of satisfaction in one level of needs, however, people will not be interested in the satisfaction of the higher levels and hence no motivation will be triggered by those higher needs. Maslow (1943) gives the example of the starving person that cannot be motivated by any other means than food. If this person had enough to eat, food will cease to be a motivator and - given the fact that physiological needs in general are perceived satisfying - the person’s motivation will turn to the realisation of the next higher set of needs.

Maslow (1943) himself pointed out the hierarchical order in which he arranged the needs was not a strict one. Instead several issues can have an influence on this order. First of all a set of needs does not need to be entirely satisfied in order to allow the individual to proceed to the next level, already a certain degree of satisfaction can be enough for the individual to aim for another set of needs. In this case, however, the unsatisfied parts of the earlier level will remain motivators. Additionally the structure of the hierarchy may vary according to personalities. Some people may have a stronger interest in esteem than in love and therefore want to satisfy the esteem needs earlier. Psychotic persons may have no interest in specific satisfaction of certain levels of needs such as love at all, while highly idealistic persons may sacrifice everything in pursuit of just one single need. Another group of persons may be satisfied with settling in one level of the hierarchy without being interested in satisfying any higher levels. Furthermore it has to be kept in mind that definitely most actions taken by individuals serve more than just one set of needs. A dinner with friends in a luxurious restaurant for example will not only satisfy physiological needs but may also satisfy aspects of love and esteem.

Although Maslow’s theory initially was not meant to be applied to the work context it soon became influential in the analysis of workplace motivation as well (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002). Steers and Porter for example elaborated real-life incentives within the work environment that could be used to serve all of the employees’ needs as shown in table 1.3. Alderfer further extended Maslow’s thoughts in his ERG theory (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002).

Table 1.3 Application of Maslow’s Theory to the Work Context

Needs levels

General rewards

Organisational factors

1. Physiological

Food, water, sex, sleep

a Pay

b Pleasant working conditions

c Cafeteria

2. Safety

Safety, security, stability, protection

a Safe working conditions

b Company benefits

c Job security

3. Social

Love, affection, belongingness

a Cohesive work group

b Friendly supervision

c Professional associations

4. Esteem

Growth, advancement, creativity

a Social recognition

b Job title

c High status job

d Feedback from the job itself

5. Self-actualisation

Growth, advancement, creativity

a Challenging job

b Opportunities for creativity

c Achievement in work

d Advancement in the organisation

Source: Mullins 2002

Alderfer’s extension of Maslow’s original theory became known under the name ERG theory, because it reduced Maslow’s five levels of needs to three, existence, relatedness and growth (Mullins 2002). The existence level includes Maslow’s physiological needs and the aspects of physical safety. Relatedness consists of aspects of the love-needs as well as the social aspects of safety and esteem. Growth as the third level includes the self related issues of esteem and the self-actualisation needs. In contrast to Maslow Alderfer considered the possibility that individuals also can progress down the hierarchy (Mullins 2002). Furthermore research by Alderfer revealed that existence needs indeed increase or decrease in importance according to their grade of satisfaction (Mullins 2002). On the other hand research did not support the notion that the satisfaction of existence needs caused an increased interest in relatedness or growth needs. Alderfer therefore believed the sets of needs to resemble more a continuum, in which people constantly shifted between the needs, than an actual hierarchy (Mullins 2002).

1.4 Combining Herzberg, Maslow and Related Writers

The literature on motivation and organisational behaviour regards Maslow’s work as the foundation of Herzberg’s two-factor theory and highlights the obvious linkages (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002). Connections can be drawn between Herzberg’s hygiene factors and Maslow’s lower level needs and Herzberg’s motivators in comparison to Maslow’s esteem and self-actualisation needs. By comparing Herzberg’s, Maslow’s and Alderfer’s theories in one table their relation becomes visible.

Table 1.4 Linking the Theories

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs


ERG theory


two-factor theory





Growth/ Relatedness


Hygiene Factors



Hygiene Factors


Relatedness/ Existence

Hygiene Factors



Hygiene Factors

Source: adopted from Mullins 2002

Despite the individual differences between the three theories, they share common ground by relating motivation to human needs. The more general theories of Maslow and Alderfer state that all sets of needs can have motivational effects as long as they are not satisfied, while Herzberg assumes that the satisfaction of lower level needs within the work context can only avoid dissatisfaction and that a lack of satisfaction of those needs will not lead to increased motivation but to dissatisfaction. It is noteworthy that having a job, already satisfies a number of lower level needs by providing money, safety and a arguably affiliation. On the other hand all three theories agree that typically people aim for higher needs such as esteem and self-fulfilment. Herzberg argues that these higher level needs truly cause motivation in the work context and can be satisfied by stipulating tasks and a challenging job design, hence his commitment in the job enrichment movement. The comparison of Herzberg’s motivator, hygiene and job enrichment factors and Steers’ and Porter’s organisational factors in Table 1.5 points out that that Herzberg’s two-factor theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs basically, despite their different perspectives, lead to the same ideas on how workplace motivation can be increased. Current writers in the field of organisational behaviour in comparison of the theories presented above attach most value to Herzberg’s work, as it is already designed for the work context, easier to verify by the means of business research and has been effectively tested in various cultural settings (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfiel 2002, Herzberg 1987).

Table 1.5 Comparison of Factors




Steers and Porter

Needs levels


a Salary

b Working Conditions

a Pay

b Pleasant working conditions

c Cafeteria

1. Physiological


a Job security

a Safe working conditions

b Company benefits

c Job security

2. Safety


Relations to

a peers

b supervisors

c subordinates

a Cohesive work group

b Friendly supervision

c Professional associations

3. Social



a Status

b Direct feedback

c Recognition

d Responsibility

a Social recognition

b Job title

c High status job

d Feedback from the job itself

4. Esteem


a Work itself

b Achievement

c Advancement

d Growth

a Challenging job

b Opportunities for creativity

c Achievement in work

d Advancement in the organisation

5. Self-actualisation

Chapter 2: Criticism and Further Research

This chapter critically evaluates the individual theories of Maslow and Herzberg and provides further important research.

2.1 Evaluating the Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Although Maslow himself was fairly tentative concerning his work, regarding the hierarchy of needs more as a concept than a fully developed theory and recognising that it certainly had weaknesses, his approach received much attention in academic circles, reflecting the value of Maslow’s ideas (Mullins 2002, Rollinson and Broadfield 2002, Clark, Chandler and Barry 1998). The academic examination with Maslow’s theory produced further criticism adding to Maslow’s own limitations. Rollinson and Broadfield (2002) drawing provide a summary of this criticism drawing on various sources. Probably most important is the finding that Maslow’s model is highly ethnocentric, reflecting the American believes in individuality, personal freedom, self-esteem and self-fulfilment and neglecting the higher emphasis on social needs in China for example. Further it has been pointed out that Maslow’s theory is indeed limited in their applicability to the work context, as it only highlights the individuals’ internal needs, but does neither deal with the organisational structure and administration nor the influences of work itself. Further it has been pointed out that some needs do not necessarily tend to have a reduced motivational potential even when they get satisfied (Rollinson and Broadfield 2002). People at the workplace sometimes continue to long for status and autonomy even after achieving recognisable success in these areas. Finally Maslow’s theory comes close to substituting motivation with satisfaction, a notion that has been disproved by research. Satisfaction is not necessarily linked to increased performance at work but provably is linked to issues such as absenteeism and staff turnover.

2.2 Evaluating Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory and Orthodox Job Enrichment

The presentation of Herzberg’s two-factor theory in 1959 was met with much praise as well as severe criticism and followed by a wave of ensuing academic research. An excellent example for the dispute of the two camps are the papers by Whitsett and Winslow and House and Wigdor published simultaneously in the journal “Personnel Psychology” in 1967. Both papers drawing on extensive literature reviews partially claiming the same piece of research as being evidence for or against Herzberg’s initial findings. Both papers accuse the other camp of methodological weaknesses in research and the misunderstanding of Herzberg’s original conclusions. With the advantage of hindsight it is possible to evaluate Herzberg’s work in a more sober way.

The criticism of the two-factor theory already starts with Herzberg’s methodology or more precise his critical incident technique, as explained in chapter 1.1. Several writers state that the critical incident method could be prone to personal bias, people tend to connect positive events with their own behaviour and negative events with their environment (Rollinson, Broadfield 2002, Tietjen and Myers 1998, House and Wigdor 1967). Chapter 1.1 presented Herzberg’s hypothesis that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction could in fact be two different matters. The critical incident method, highlighting only an employee’s most extreme experiences with job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, is certainly a promising tool for the verification of this hypothesis, as it presents isolated views on satisfaction and dissatisfaction, which can be used for comparison. The method fails, however, to ask whether the participants do also have any positive experiences with the factors that lead to dissatisfaction or any negative experiences with the factors that caused satisfaction, after all even the most critical events do not describe the participants’ general perception of the factors mentioned or how these factors are observed in everyday life. In this way the critical incident method may miss out important linkages between the issues relating to job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

The second problematical issue about Herzberg’s theory is the one responsible for the confusion in the papers of Whitsett and Winslow (1967) and House and Wigdor (1967). Herzberg (1993, 1987, 1968) and his supporters (Whitsett and Winslow 1967) often refer to the many repetitions of the initial research in different settings in order to emphasise the correctness of Herzberg’s findings. Their arguments resemble the following paragraph by Mullins (2002:431) that refers to Herzberg’s 1974 book “Work and the nature of man”:

Since the original study the theory had been replicated many times with different types of workers, including scientists, engineers, technicians, professional workers, nurses, food handlers, assemblers, and maintenance staff. The samples have covered a number of different nationalities. Results of these studies have been largely consistent with the original findings”.

It is the “largely” that matters. The problem is best described by Ruthankoon and Ogunlana (2003), who refer to as much as eight studies in which one or two of Herzberg’s factors switched sides between motivators and hygiene or could be found on both sides. Ruthakoon’s and Ogunlana’s (2003) own research in the Thai construction industry showed a similar pattern. As motivators were found: responsibility, advancement, possibility of growth, and supervision. Hygiene factors were: working conditions, job security, site safety, and relationship with other organisations. In this way difficulties arise concerning the assignment of the results, are they in favour of Herzberg’s theory or are they not?

In their most basic form Herzberg’s findings hold true, motivator and hygiene factors could be identified and separated. On the other hand supervision changed from being a hygiene factor to being a motivator. Other factors of the original theory motivators as well as hygiene factors were absent, while new factors arose from the new setting. Thus showing that Herzberg’s original sets of motivators and hygiene factors cannot be generalised, as different settings can create different outcomes. Even more striking is the existence of studies that were not able to clearly identify several factors as motivators or hygiene factors. In his original study from 1959 Herzberg himself had difficulties in determining if salary was to be understood as motivator or hygiene factor, as it was equally often reported on both sides by his initial participants (Herzberg 1959). This kind of “semi-agreement” is evident also in the lengthy literature reviews of Whitsett and Winslow (1967) and House and Wigdor (1967) and makes their dispute rather pointless as most research can not satisfactory be determined as for or against Herzberg’s findings.

Confusion about Herzberg’s findings takes its tall when the contributions of Wall and Stephenson (1970) and King (in Mullins 2002) are taken into consideration. Not only do Wall and Stephenson offer another voluminous literature review that underlines the draw between studies for and against Herzberg’s theory, they also suggest that the theory can be interpreted in four different ways. King (in Mullins 2002) suggests there are at least five. Without going into details these interpretations raise questions about the weighting of motivators and hygiene factors in relation to job satisfaction. Does one motivator outweigh all hygiene factors in its influence on satisfaction and vice versa in the case of dissatisfaction? Do the hygiene factors as a whole really do not add to job satisfaction at all and does the lack of motivators really cause not the slightest dissatisfaction?

From the issues discussed above two conclusion can be drawn. First the distinction between motivators and hygiene factors is subject to repeated inconsistencies. This aspect is strengthened by the finding that the two-factor theory can not properly be applied to workers with highly unskilled jobs, who lack any possibility for personal growth in their work, a fact that even Herzberg had to admit (Mullins 2002, Herzberg 1993). In the literature reviewed no consistent explanation is given to the variance of motivator and hygiene factors in different settings. Second research, so far, could not definitely proof the two-factory theory right or wrong. Instead it ends up with results that emphasise something in between. Therefore it can be assumed that the two-factory has indeed some explanatory power but that it is somewhat incomplete, missing a part of the puzzle necessary to get closer to reality.

Furthermore some of the criticism on Maslow’s theory can be transferred to the two-factor theory. First of all with his questions on incidents when participants felt particularly good or bad, Herzberg similar to Maslow draws the fragile connection between job satisfaction and motivation. Second not all employees necessarily are interested in excelling at work. There are certainly people, who regard work only as an mean to end and pay more interest to their private lives. There may also be a cultural aspect, not every culture promotes the ideal of professional careers and individual economic success in the same way the American culture does. In their nature both Maslow’s and Herzberg’s theory are fairly ego driven theories the individual is believed to pursue his or her own personal success and self-actualisation. The needs for social affiliation and security are secondary to esteem and self-fulfilment. Herzberg takes this thought into the work environment, advancement, responsibility and growth are regarded as important motivators. Interpersonal relations are believed to have no influence on satisfaction or motivation. The aim of working life is to excel in work and realise one’s own benefits. This directly relates to Herzberg’s ideas on job enrichment.

Job enrichment even more strongly than the two-factor theory expects employees to be motivated by higher level needs such as esteem and self-actualisation in the work context. Even Maslow, however, has pointed out that there is a particular group of persons that is not attracted by those needs, therefore it is debatable if all workers are really prepared to constantly grow and learn within their jobs and if responsibility always appreciated as a reward.

As a more practical approach to management theory job enrichment has not attracted as much theoretical criticism as the two-factor theory. Instead it has been judged by authors in the field on its practical use and on its contributions to organisational effectiveness in terms of human resource management. Writers such Hackman (1975) and Reif, Ferrazzi and Evans (1974) appreciate the general value of job enrichment for organisations but highlight difficulties in its implementation. According to these authors a sensible job enrichment program requires detailed planning, a considerable amount of resources and most important top management commitment. Hackman (1975) illustrates several problems with the implementation of job enrichment programs. Often there is no systematic plan which jobs need to be enriched and how. Job enrichment is connected to a high amount of administrational matters, such documenting the changes, thus causing the actual changes to progress slowly and to remain marginal, especially in those jobs where enrichment is needed most. Additionally changes in one part of the organisation can cause unexpected difficulties another as routines stop to fit to each other. The lack of necessary training can cause overstrain for the personnel responsible for the changes. Finally the omission of reducing the bureaucratic overhead in as much as the redesigned jobs become more autonomous can stifle the effects of the enrichment program. For the purpose of this paper, however, it is not necessary to take this issues any further.

2.3 Culture

Despite the fact that Herzberg’s two-factor theory has been tested in many different cultures, it has been pointed out in chapter 2.2 that not all repetitions of Herzberg’s study produced the same results allowing for speculation that there may be cultural issues involved. In any way a critical evaluation of an American theory in a German context needs a cultural control mechanism in order to be able to highlight possible cultural influences. For this reason the cultural framework developed by Hofstede (2001, 1994) has been chosen, as it directly relates culture to the work context.

Hofstede (2001, 1994) describes cultures along four dimensions: power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity and uncertainty avoidance. Power distance applied to work context is expressed especially in the hierarchies and the leadership style. Both Germany and America have a low power distance that is related to a low hierarchies and a more democratic leadership. Masculinity/femininity at the workplace determines how much assertiveness managers exercise and how much solidarity and equality exists within the workforce. Both America and Germany score fairly high on masculinity indicating a tendency towards more assertiveness. Uncertainty avoidance directly relates to motivation in the work context. Germans having a far stronger uncertainty avoidance than the Americans are motivated by security, esteem and belongingness, while Americans are more strongly motivated by achievement, esteem and belongingness. Individualist countries such as America tend to have a management that is strongly focused on the individual and the task prevails over the relationships at work, certainly two issues that are reflected in Herzberg’s theory as stated above. Germany however only has medium score in individualism pointing towards a more team-based approach and a stronger focus on relationships.

2.4 Additional Research

The changed environment of the twenty-first century that has already been identified as the information society and the knowledge era in the introduction of this paper soon put an end to the unhindered rise of the individual. Tasks became to complex and the development of new knowledge to rapid to be handled by one person alone. In his work on the learning organisation Senge (1990) picks up on Herzberg’s convictions on learning and growth, but illustrates the modern organisational dilemma that the workers are not necessarily alienated from their labour anymore but from their learning experiences, thus stifling the both the individual’s and the organisation’s possibility for growth. Citing Deming Senge (1990) points out that “people are born with intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning” (Deming in Senge 1990:7), but “unfortunately, the primary institutions of our society are oriented predominantly toward controlling rather than learning, rewarding individuals for performing for others rather than for cultivating their natural curiosity and impulse to learn” (Senge 1990:7). Senge’s (1990) solution for this dilemma, in contrast to Herzberg, lies not in work design, but in leadership. Both solutions, however, are not mutually exclusive. According to Senge (1990) the role of a leader is threefold. The leader needs to act as a designer, a teacher and a steward. As a designer the leader shapes the purpose and the core values of the organisation or its respective parts. In his role as a teacher the leader acts as coach, a guide and a facilitator, helping employees to develop their own thoughts and introducing them to new topics. As steward the leader acknowledges that employees depend on him in an economical, emotional and spiritual way. Therefore the leader has to develop the understanding that he has to serve the people first by supporting them in any of the three ways mentioned before he can demand something from the people. Senge (1990) continues that leaders in order to succeed in their roles need to develop compelling external and internal visions. It is not enough to formulate just an extrinsic vision, such as the outperforming all competitors. There also have to be substantial internal goals concerning issues like the creation of new products or the improvement of internal processes and services. To effectively formulate these visions a leader needs a balanced competence in administrative and professional knowledge as pointed out by Etzioni (1964). The administrative competence for the formulation of a strategy for the organisation to thrive in the external environment and the professional knowledge to formulate best possible internal improvements. As few leaders are outstanding in both competences Senge (1990) asks leaders to actively seek the advice from the employees thus highlighting the need for the shared knowledge and diffused power in the twenty-first century’s organisation presented in table 0.1.

In another approach towards learning in the organisational context Edmonson (1999) takes a more employee-based approach towards this issue focusing on the needs of modern work teams. From Edmonson’s research it becomes obvious that team performance is not based on structural features such as team composition, well-designed tasks, and the availability of information, resources and rewards alone, but also depends on the team’s ability of joint learning. Edmonson (1999) points out that team learning is based on seeking feedback, sharing information, asking for help, talking about errors and experimenting. As it is through these activities “that teams can detect changes in the environment, learn about customers’ requirements, improve members’ collective understanding of a situation, or discover unexpected consequences of their previous actions” (Edmonson 1999:351). The most important precondition for joint team learning, according to Edmonson (1999), however is a feeling of psychological safety. Team members tend to hold back unique knowledge to their own advantage. Further they ask for help or admit mistakes only reluctantly as they fear that showing a weakness may cause negative effects for own advancement within the organisation. Creating psychological safe atmosphere thus becomes central organisational goal. Edmonson’s findings come close to the notion of (Mayo in Clark, Chandler and Barry, Etzioni 1964) that organisational effectiveness is a result of social aspects and group dynamics in the work context. Further they reveal that safety needs as described in Maslow’s theory in chapter 1.3 play a key role in regulating that group dynamics.

Senge’s (1990) and Edmonson’s findings can be regarded as two sides of the same coin. While Edmonson (1990) highlights the need for organisations to support their teams with psychological safety in order to generate economic success, Senge (1990) describes how leadership can contribute to creating such an atmosphere. The combination of Senge’s and Edmonson’s contributions thus indicates how the conflict that dominates the literature of organisational behaviour (Etzioni 1964, Mullins 2002, Clark, Chandler and Barry 1995) between the formal, structural and administrative features of an organisation and the social needs of its employees can be harmonised in the modern organisation. Although both ideas do not contradict Herzberg’s theories directly, they raise doubts on the ability of the individual’s ability to obtain higher level needs all alone. It seems as in the modern work context the individual strongly depends on its social environment in order to sensibly conduct work, what is Herzberg’s prerequisite for motivation. Furthermore both author’s point out that learning today is not a “fancy” feature to enrich a job with, but a necessity and a task in itself, that determines whether an employee remains employed or not. Thus the motivational effect of learning may has become obsolete in the modern working context.

Ryan’s and Deci’s (2000) criticism on job enrichment is of a completely different nature. In a clear allusion to Herzberg’s comparison between motivation and movement they point out that extrinsic motivation, motivation that is related to a separable outcome, does necessarily have to be worse than intrinsic motivation, that is caused by an inherent joy or interest, nor is it of less importance. In this way Ryan and Deci (2000) reject the typical belittling of external motivation in the literature on this field. Although Ryan and Deci (2000) acknowledge that internal motivation is a desirable state, they argue that in reality it seldom occurs. Even the best job enrichment is not able to create a job that is fully intrinsically motivating. There are always tasks that are liked less or that become routine. In fact these tasks will dominate most jobs and activities, still they get done. As this is evidently not the result of intrinsic motivation, there need to be external reasons why people “move” themselves to carry out these tasks, otherwise there had to be a state of no motivation as they call it “amotivation” and the task would not get done at all. In the worst case this is because of the fear of punishment, in best case this is because the people understand the reason why the tasks needs to be done and are able to identify with this reason. Ryan and Deci (2000) point out that the feelings of a person in the worst case scenario will differ from the feelings of a person in the positive scenario. From this they conclude that different states of external motivation have to exist. In their self-determination theory they differentiate between four states of external motivation that lie between the to extremes amotivation and intrinsic motivation. A model of these states is attached to this paper as Appendix A. According to Ryan and Deci (2000) the difference between these for states lies in the grade to which the individual can identify with the reason to carry out the task, the value that is given to the task in comparison to the person’s own set of goals. Reflecting this notion the four states are external regulation, introjection, identification and integration. External integration is closest to amotivation and is determined completely external to the individual. The state of external integration is achieved by the threat of punishment or the offering of rewards. The state of introjection is achieved when the ego is involved in the task, mainly because of the desire for approval from oneself or others. Identification is the result of the self-endorsement of goals and the conscious valuing of the activity. Integration the state closest to intrinsic motivation is achieved when there is a congruence between the interests of the individual and the results of the task. Ryan and Deci (2000) point out that in order to provide the best possible form extrinsic motivation the organisation has to ensure that the individual has the necessary competence to fulfil the task, is given autonomy in fulfilling the task and has a feeling of relatedness towards the organisation. Ryan and Deci (2000) follow the same thought as Senge (1990) and Demerest that people a born with an intrinsic motivation. They additionally point out that the “build-in” human motivation can either be catalysed or obstructed by factors external to the individual.

The self-determination theory reminds of King’s and Wall’s and Stephenson’s questions on the weighting of motivators against hygiene factors in chapter 3.2. Herzberg fails to sufficiently consider the issue of possible external motivation caused by the hygiene factors on job satisfaction.

Chapter 3: Research Design and Methodology

3.1 The Company

The research took place under indeed very specific conditions. The company in which the research took place had originally been founded in the 1970s as an independent medium sized producer of highly specialised business software. In the 1990s it became sold to a larger group. After some failed projects under the new owner several employees left the company. Soon after the group became subject to a takeover by a larger multinational group that subsequently merged with another group of equally large size. Due to downsizing mechanisms more employees had to leave the company. Under the new owner the company is currently being restructured. The company is supposed to stop producing its own software and to become a consultancy agency for foreign software, this future however is uncertain and further redundancies possible. In the course of these changes the company already has stopped to produce software and is only fulfilling existing maintenance contracts. Spare capacity is used for an extensive retraining program of the employees.

The company/branch currently employs nearly one hundred people. Some of them are former employees that have been rehired as contractors. The workforce is divided into teams with deal with specific aspects of the software. Teams are headed by team leaders, who carry out the necessary administrative tasks for the team, but have no administrative power or responsibility for the personnel. The branch is headed by one first line manager, who has his office within the building. Second line managers responsible for the division were located in other sites of the group.

The situation of the researched company certainly unusual, but it has not obstructed the research in way.

3.2 The Participants

As it was agreed that the participants should be volunteers the composition of the group is unusual as well. It consisted of three contractors and four employees, two them team leaders. The differences between the three different types of participants however are smaller than it could be assumed. The contractors although officially not part of the hierarchy work only for the company in question and are fully integrated into their specific teams. Similar is true for the team leaders, who are only distinguished from their teams by their increased contact to management. Both team leaders and contractors referred to the other team members as colleagues and were observably fully integrated into the teams. The fact that the research was about subjective considerations on the personal motivational structure and on Herzberg’s theory rendered these differences nearly meaningless anyway.

The participants were aged between forty and sixty-five and held work experiences from fifteen to thirty years. Their jobs as programmers included the conception and realisation of software as well as implementing the software at customer’s sites what could take month and often included travelling and times living in hotels. In the current restructuring phase their work basically consisted of the maintenance of the already existing software.

3.3 Methodology

As Clark, Chandler and Barry (1998:65) point out social sciences have long suffered under “the prevailing hegemony of natural sciences and its methods against which …[they] had difficulties in establishing themselves – unless they emulated such methods by aiming for measurement and absolute certainty”. Certainly studies on workplace motivation are a point in question. Relying on the definitions and terminology used by Bryman (1989) and Bryman and Bell (2003) in their work on business research, the interest in measurement and absolute certainty are distinctive features of the positivist paradigm. Embedded in this paradigm are a positivist epistemology and a objectivist ontology. Herzberg, as a classical positivist, believed that social phenomena such as motivation exist independently from the individual and that these phenomena can be measured and described objectively by a set of rules or within a theory. For the sake of measurement positivists usually rely on representative samples and use research methods that are easily to quantify and therefore are called quantitative methods. With the use of representative samples and the highly structured interviews of the critical incident technique and the later quantification of the findings Herzberg’s research design follows this pattern.

The literature reviews of Whitsett and Winslow (1967), House and Wigdor (1967) and Wall and Stephenson (1970) point out three important issues. First virtually all research set out to test Herzberg’s theory until that point in time followed the positivist paradigm and used quantitative methods, whether it was a repetition of the critical incident technique, questionnaires or the analysis of organisational records. Second that absolute certainty does not exist. Pointing out methodological weaknesses and interpreting results either as a prove for or against Herzberg’s theory these literature reviews point out that even quantitative means sometimes cannot deliver absolute certainty. Third it becomes obvious that these quantitative approaches became stuck without a definite answer why there was so much disagreement over Herzberg’s findings.

Even more recent studies such as the ones of Ruthankoon and Ogunlana 2003, Tamosaitis and Schwenker’s 2002 and Timmreck 2001 continue to use Herzberg’s original research design, or rely on other quantitative means. Although these studies partially present findings different to those of Herzberg these studies do not provide sufficient explanations for the differences, due to the inflexibility of quantitative methods. Therefore Ruthankoon and Ogunlana (2003:341) end their paper with the following appeal:

Depending on various contextual factors, the motivation pattern of employees may be different. It is hoped that more comparative testing of Herzberg’s theory will be done in various work settings and with other testing methods.

The research in this paper does indeed take a different approach to evaluating Herzberg’s theory. Following an interpretative paradigm and taking up a interpretivist epistemology and constructionist ontology the research is governed by the question: How do employees perceive their own workplace motivation compared to Herzberg’s theory? By the use of a more flexible research design this study tries to follow the aim to get a better understanding of the feelings and perceptions of a small set of employees towards their work and their personal motivation in a specific context. There is no use in sending out hundreds of questionnaires containing academic conjectures when you can ask the people directly. By asking the participants on their own evaluation of Herzberg’s theory and the factors leading to workplace motivation tries to draw a link between academic theory and reality.

With its flexible techniques and open-minded approach a qualitative research design usually is used for an inductive study (Bryman and Bell 2003). Using it to evaluate an existing theory leads to a peculiar but useful mix of the inductive and the deductive approach. To a certain extend the existing theory can be regarded as the hypothesis that is to be tested by the research thus the study could be regarded as deductive. On the other hand does the flexibility of methods allow to follow unexpected turns during the research and to use these unexpected findings in order to develop new theories or to revaluate and enhance the original theory. Therefore such a research is also partially inductive. It has to be kept in mind however that a qualitative research design drawing only on a small non-representative group of participants in a very specific context is just a spot-check of the existing theory. No comment can be made the general validity of the theory. Valuable comments can however be made the grade to which the theory fits the specific context of the research and on observations made that are of relevance for further research on this theory.

3.4 Methods

Research was conducted within a branch of multinational software company in Germany. For the purpose of the study a group of seven voluntary participants had been assembled. The study was conducted in four different stages, reflecting the four implemented research methods. The group size of seven was chosen according to McCracken’s advice to conduct qualitative research with not more than eight persons. The methods were developed according to their description by Bryman and Bell (2003)

As the schedule for the research was tight the participants were asked to keep diaries on their feelings of motivation for ten days prior to the arrival of the researcher. The diaries consisted of simple tables, with spaces for the date, time, the feeling of motivation or demotivation, the incident that caused the motivation, the people involved and another space for additional comments. The diaries were thought to provide the researcher with some instant information on what issues caused motivation and demotivation in the context of the participating organisation.

In the second stage the researcher spend a week in the company as a complete observer. This time was meant to give the observer the opportunity to get known to the organisation and the work conducted as well as to make the acquaintance of the participants.

The third and central stage of the research were sets of three interviews with each of the participants, each interview lasting roughly one hour. The first interview session was fairly unstructured and meant to explore the feelings of the participants about their work and their motivation, issues were partially drawn from the participants diaries and the observations made. The factors in Herzberg’s theory were discussed in theory or in the way the appeared in the organisation but without referring to the theory itself.

The second interview included questions on the participants career, especially if the participants had intended to do the job they were presently carrying out and what caused them to like their job after they got it. The remainder of the second interview was used to address interesting or unclear issues from the first interview or to further discuss the participants’ perception of the Herzberg’s factors.

In the third and most structured interview the participants were first presented a list with Herzberg’s eight recommendations for job enrichment under the heading “a good job offers…”. The participants were then asked if these aspects were present in their job and how they thought about it. It was then asked if these factors contributed to their motivation and if they wanted to add something. Afterwards the participants were confronted with a list of Herzberg’s motivator and hygiene factors that were separated by a dividing line that divided motivators on the left hand side from hygiene factors on the right hand side under the heading “a list of factors with influence of job satisfaction”. As the participants had no subordinates or least did not regard them as such, the point “interpersonal relations subordinates” was eliminated from the list and substituted by “interpersonal relations customers”, as customers were not only an important part of Herzberg’s recommendations for job enrichment, but had already evolved as an issue in the earlier interviews. The participants were first asked to comment on each of this factors and their experiences with this aspect of work. In a second step they were asked if they could imagine why these factors were separated in the way they were. Finally Herzberg’s theory was explained to the participants, who were then asked to comment on the theory and if they would agree to the theory.

In the fourth and last step the participants were asked to draw to separate cognitive maps on which factors influenced their feelings of motivation and demotivation respectively.

Further descriptions on how the methods were implemented and on the role of the researcher a given in the respective sections in the findings chapter.

3.5 Data analysis

Research data was analysed according to the coding technique described by Bryman and Bell (2003). Data gathered from the interview transcripts and the cognitive maps was categorised according to generic terms. Generic terms were first drawn from Herzberg’s work using the sixteen factors of the two-factor theory and the eight characteristics of orthodox job management as well as the names of both theories for general remarks on these frameworks. Issues that fit into two or more categories were noted twice or more. Issues not cover by the initial generic terms were categorised under respective generic terms. After the procedure the categories were revised and analysed reducing the number of generic terms as far as possible by drawing new links between the pieces of information and gathering related findings under the same generic term and eliminating unnecessary information. In this way it was possible to isolate all important information on Herzberg’s work, as well as all other issues still relevant to evaluate the theory. Conclusions from drawn from the compressed findings with inclusion of the relevant literature. The information necessary to ensure that data was interpreted and coded corresponding to Herzberg’s original understanding of his theories was taken mainly from Herzberg’s book “The Motivation to Work” (1959) that contains detailed descriptions of all motivator and hygiene factors as well as information on Herzberg’s own coding procedure. The information on orthodox job enrichment was taken from the detailed description in Herzberg’s paper “The Wise Old Turk” (1968). Additional information, when necessary, was taken from the other literature mentioned in the literature review.

The descriptions in the participants’ diaries in general were too short or too imprecise to allow a proper interpretation and were therefore not directly included into the coding process. As the contents of the diaries were partially discussed in the interviews all important data became part of the interview transcripts. The same applies to the observation notes. In order to guarantee congruence between the perception of the researcher and the participants on an observed issue, the findings of the observation were discussed in the interviews and thus are included in the analysis. The interviews certainly are the main source knowledge gained from the research.

3.6 Ethics

Research has been conducted in congruence with the ethical guidelines of the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. The responsible management of the organisation and all participants were informed on the research in an adequate manor and agreed to the research. The wish of the organisation and all participants to stay anonymous has been respected. Interview transcripts have been handed out to the respective participants. It has been agreed that the copies of this work handed out to the organisation’s management and to the participants will not contain the interview transcripts as an appendix, as the group of the participating people is too small and the people within the organisation are too familiar with each other to guarantee anonymity even if personal details are removed from the transcripts. No further ethical issues have arisen.

Chapter 4: Results

4.1 Diaries

Five of the seven participants returned diaries to the researcher, that reflected their personal reflections on their workplace motivation or demotivation within a period of ten working days. The diaries included a broad variety of factors and incidents ranging from weather over aspects of physical health and well-being to aspects work, and the interaction with colleagues, customers and superiors. Although most remarks were too short and unrelated to allow a proper analysis, the topics mentioned provided a useful base for issues that needed to be addressed in the interviews and gave the researcher a first impression of the complexity of factors that needed attention. The diaries further revealed that each participant seemed to have a different set of issues that he or she considered as important for motivation or demotivation respectively. It was noteworthy, however that the diaries consistently linked motivation and demotivation to emotional and somatic feelings. For example fun, happiness and well-being were mentioned in connection with motivation and tiredness, sadness, melancholy, frustration and annoyance in connection to demotivation. Hence in a first tentative conclusion it could be assumed that motivation is somehow interrelated to the subjective emotional state of the individual. In general the diaries can be recommended as an useful tool for starting a research, but researchers should be realistic about the richness of data that can be expected from this method.

4.2 Observation

All in all the researcher spend three weeks within the organisation. The first week was used completely for observation, while in following two weeks the researcher was present in the company, but frequently involved in the interviews. The researcher was cautious not to interfere in the work processes, but he was open for any conversation with employees interested in the research project and sometimes engaged a member of the organisation in order to collect information on the job design, the history of the company, the products or other contextual details. The researcher also tried to spend some time with every participant in order to create an informal atmosphere and a trusting relationship in order to cease the participants’ anxiousness and to create rapport during the interviews. Five days are certainly to short a period to conduct any serious observation, but were enough for the researcher to get in touch with the people and explore the context in which the participants spend their time working, including the office environment and the general working atmosphere. Additionally conversations could be overheard and work processes witnessed, so that the researcher was at least a little familiar with the situation of the company and its employees, before conducting the interviews, what was certainly positive for the productivity of the talks. The researcher was careful, however, not to “over interpret” what he saw, as he was new to the organisation’s context, so that misconceptions could easily arise.

Still a series of relevant observations could be made. First the original name of the company could still be found on files, posters and stickers within the offices, not even the large neon sign at the outer wall of the building had been removed. Thus indicating that there was a lack of cultural integration between the company and its two later owners.

Further the warm atmosphere between the employees was noticed, who frequently consulted each other on problems and conducted small talk in the company’s small kitchen during their coffee breaks. The following incident was observed repeatedly: After a period of concentrated work an employee moved back from the PC, thinking about how to progress with programming. After a short while of seemingly frustrated breeding the employee started to discuss the problem either with his colleagues in the same office or with a member of different team according to the nature of the problem. Usually after a short discussion and combined riddling in a jargon unintelligible to the outsider that both seemed to enjoy a solution was found and after some additional small talk both employees continued their work. Here social interaction and professional talk seemed to help the employee, who was stuck to overcome his problem and to supply him with new motivation.

Another issue was the virtual absence of any supervision. The only first line manager within the branch was frequently absent and even when he was in the company he seldom had contact to his subordinates. Despite this freedom and their autonomy the employees only took moderate breaks and continued to work. Even in phases when there was no actual work to conduct, due to the currently low order position the employees voluntarily engaged in learning the new software environment that was subject of the retraining programs or reconsidered old programs searching for ways to improve them. Obviously the employees had sufficient motivation to continue their work or engage in professional activities without pressure.

With these findings made the research continued into the third and most important phase.

4.3 Interviews

A set of three interviews, each lasting roughly one hour, was conducted with every participant producing over 20 hours of interview material. Although understandably the researcher could not achieve the same level of rapport with every participant, all participants willingly contributed in the interviews. The researcher tried to play a passive role in the interviews, allowing the participants to finish speaking even if they left the introduced topic in order to see what other issues may arise. Further the researcher tried to develop the talk on the topics set by the participants introducing new topics only when necessary.

One participant quit the third interview early, due to a lack of time. With another participant a fourth interview was conducted, as the opportunity arose coincidently. The fact that two or three interviews had to be conducted on the same day, because of the tight schedule of the research made it difficult to prepare each interview sufficiently. Further it made it difficult to for the researcher to keep up concentration so that stated with hindsight some points of interest have slipped through without a more detailed exploration. Nevertheless the interviews provided detailed insights into the perceptions of the participants concerning motivation and job satisfaction that brought to light some valuable and rather surprising findings on Herzberg’s theory.

Often research writers use quotations in order to verify findings from interviews or other qualitative data. This often proves difficult as the participants do not always make concise sentences when they discus a topic. Furthermore statements often lose their meaning when taken from their context. For this reason this paper will rarely use quotations, but rely on a referencing system using the nicknames of the participants (Neandertaler, Marvin, Horst, Rudi V., Tripitaka, Sheep, King of Code) and the page number of this thesis as an indication where the points mentioned can be found. For example (Sheep 25) or “as stated by Sheep (25)”. The interview transcripts can be found in Appendix B.

By carefully balancing the results of the interviews and cognitive maps against the assumptions of Herzberg’s theory, it was found that Herzberg’s theory has only a limited explanatory power in the researched context. Especially Herzberg’s notion that hygiene factors can cause no job satisfaction and cause no intrinsic motivation is questionable. Cultural influences on the perception of motivator and hygiene factors could be found.

Herzberg certainly is right in stating that an interesting and mentally challenging work can cause an increased intrinsic motivation. This is especially true for the modern knowledge workers. The participants pointed out that they enjoyed their work because of the mental challenge, its appeal to the play instinct (Secret Window 10), the opportunity to being creative (Tripitaka 2), the fun of making things (Horst 14), the fun in riddling (Neandertaler 4) or the conceptualisation and modelling of the software (King of Code 10). Neandertaler (5) even stated that doing software maintenance reminded on solving a crime. Neandertaler regarded the program as the victim and the error as the perpetrator, highlighting the fun in chasing the criminal. In this way Neandertaler stated that the work was to him or her just like a hobby. This can be explained by the congenital motivation described by Senge and Ryan and Deci, based on the human interest in learning, creating, experimenting and in engaging in something meaningful. As described in the observations section the participants engaged in their work without any observation or external pressure. King of Code (2) states that he perceives it as boring just “to hang around” at work and that he prefers to do the actual work instead of simply doing something. For these reasons the aspects of Herzberg’s orthodox job enrichment did not fail in delivering the promised effects. The discussion revealed that the employees and the contractors under the participants at least partially regarded direct feedback, a client relationship, new learning, scheduling, unique expertise, direct communications authority and personal accountability as integral part of their jobs, while the team leaders stated that they also had a certain control over the resources in projects carried out. Although there were variances in the importance the participants attached to the individual parts of job enrichment all factors were regarded as a contribution to motivation and the feeling about the job (Rudi V. 29) as well as the optimisation of working processes (Tripitaka 27). Especially the importance of the client relationship and its benefits for new learning and unique expertise became obvious. Participants reported that holding knowledge not only about the software environment they used but also but the needs of the customer were an essential part of their jobs (Sheep, Neandertaler 19). Both Neandertaler (19) and Sheep pointed out the importance to visit customers in order to understand how the produced software was used and what improvements could be made. Despite this positive facts Rudi V. (10) was critical about learning something completely new as this can lead to an increased insecurity because one gets reduced to the status of an novice. King of Code (6) in contrast mentioned the joy of learning pointing out the fact that in the beginning a sense of achievement is much easier to obtain. In general the participants appreciated the effects of job enrichment especially in contrast to monotonous physical work that Secret Window (11,12) and King of Code (11) described as boring and dulling one’s mind orthodox job enrichment can be regarded as a useful measure to overcome obstructions in the work processes for example by the direct communications authority (King of Code 28, Horst 29), and to stipulate the congenital drive of the individual to learn, thus stimulating the two key factors to intrinsic motivation. Given these findings Herzberg’s contribution to shaping the modern work design have to be appreciated.

However work itself does not make job. This is where the problems with the two-factor theory start. Continuing along the line of Herzberg’s motivators it was found that not all motivators suggested by Herzberg were regarded as being attractive or motivating. Only a moderate interest was expressed in advancement and responsibility. Secret Window (18) and Sheep (36) stated that they made a conscious choice against advancement in the organisational hierarchy. Secret Window stating that he or she always wanted to remain an “Indian” (native American) and had no interest in becoming a chief (18). Rudi V. (9) stated that advancement had happened but that he or she did actively strived for it. Neandertaler (7) and Secret Window (22) stated that they perceived responsibility for personnel as a burden and therefore were not interested in rising in the hierarchy. King of Code (30) relinquished a career for taking more care of his or her family. Sheep (4,5) stated that doing the actual work was more interesting to him or her than engaging in the power struggle carried out the higher positions. Tripitaka (28) and Horst (7, 31) however regarded advancement and responsibility as motivating factors. The possibility of growth however was regarded as being of more importance, especially for Secret Window (22) and Horst (7).

More interest was paid to achievement and recognition. Achievement out of the work was regarded as positive and motivating (Rudi V. 30, Sheep 36, Tripitaka 31, King of Code 30). King of Code (30) even regarded it as the main source of motivation. Neandertaler (28) stated that he or she divided a task into several steps, the fulfilment of each step was related to a sense of achievement. Thus creating motivation and making work more pleasant. Often recognition or feedback were regarded as a part of the overall sense of achievement or as an additional bonus to motivation (Secret Window 22, Rudi V 30). Tripitaka (6) perceived both as main aspects of motivation. Sheep (36) stated that he or she needed recognition for his or her ego. The participants however regarded recognition not as an independent thing, but related it to colleagues (Tripitaka 28, King of Code 30), superiors (Sheep 33, Tripitaka 30) and especially customers (Secret Window 4, Sheep 10,). Horst (5) perceived the common sense of achievement within a team as especially motivating.

The discussion of hygiene factors brought to light several interesting differences between Herzberg’s theory and the perception of the participants. Three of the six participants that finished the third interview set, Horst (38), Tripitaka (35) and Rudi V. (33), pointed out that the hygiene factors describing interpersonal relations or at least the colleagues in the case of Rudi V. were in fact important motivators to them, reflecting the good working atmosphere within the organisation and the joy of dealing with people in general. A pleasant working atmosphere (Tripitaka 3) or even a “cosy atmosphere” (Rudi V. 23) were regarded as strongly motivating. Tripitaka (3) stated that a pleasant working atmosphere was in fact “the most important thing” for motivation. At the same time participants pointed out that a feeling of fear or insecurity at work would cause serious “negative stress” (Tripitaka 21, Secret Window 2). The main factor for dissatisfaction was company policy and administration due to the special situation of the branch researched. The participants complained about the two companies that had bought or taken over the original company had introduced themselves. King of Code (20) talked in this connection about “cultural imperialism”. The groups were accused of not appreciating the achievements of the company they took over (Horst (8), Neandertaler 17). The participants felt exploited as profits the original company produced were absorbed by the group, without making necessary reinvestments, especially the office equipment was received as being to old fashioned and unhealthy (Neandertaler 24, Horst 26, Rudi V. 10). The work with this out-of-date equipment was stated to be extremely dissatisfying, as it resulted in a distraction from the work (Tripitaka 7, Rudi V. 10, Neandertaler 24, Secret Window 5, King of Code 11). Especially the share-holder value approach of the group was criticised, because the employees had to suffer under the economising of the group in the sake of delivering positive balance sheets and dividends to the shareholders (Tripitaka 8, Neandertaler 18). The vision of the group was stated to have no motivational effects, as it was only external pointing towards becoming a leading company and perceived to be implausible (King of Code 9, Horst 39). The participants pointed out that work and product related, thus internal vision would be of better use. Horst (10) stated that the credibility of visions often suffered from the manager did not hold up to their own standards. Management in general was believed to be to far aloof and hierarchies to high (Rudi V. 4, Horst 30). Rudi V. (18) stated that he did not even know the people, who decided about him personally. Secret Window (3) complained about the lack of support from management and the confusing administration that did not allow him to have a specific contact partner for his complaints. That fact that the first line managers did not have any professional knowledge lead to unrealistic project deadlines and a insufficient organisation of work that were criticised by the participants (King of Code 26). Sheep (54) pointed out that the issues stated above together with a lack of perspective under the new company policy lead to dissatisfaction and a low morale among the workforce.

Neandertaler (45) however pointed out the advantages of good leadership for a feeling of job satisfaction. By celebrating common achievements, organising group outings and being open to conversation with the employees, according to Neandertaler (45), the founder of the original company was able to form a “sworn community” in the organisation. Tripitaka (30) also stated that also the current company policy was regarded as bad, a good policy could have a beneficial effect on the employees. There were however complaints about administrative tasks that consumed time and distracted from the real work (Rudi V. 2, Neandertaler 5, Secret Window 11) and a bias towards technical supervision that was described as “the worst thing ever” (Secret Window 22) or “deadly” (Tripitaka 28) for job satisfaction and motivation. Nevertheless Sheep 38 pointed out that if term supervision was changed to an interest of the superiors in the work of the employees, it would get a better connotation.

The fact that the participants were able to name positive examples for every hygiene factor became an important issue in the discussion about the two-factor theory in general. Sheep (45) although later pointing out that within his or her personal experience some factors were more strongly linked to dissatisfaction, at first expressed bewilderment that the hygiene factors according to Herzberg could only cause dissatisfaction or no dissatisfaction, as during the discussion of the factors examples were made for both a satisfying and dissatisfying effect of those factors. Tripitaka (28) stated basically the same, additionally adding that also negative examples for the motivator factors could be found. Tripitaka (33) later stated that the difference between motivators and hygiene factors resulted from the fact that hygiene factors, except the interpersonal relations that were perceived as motivators, could be regarded as a matter of course. Tripitaka (33) stated the hygiene conditions found when entering the job determined a level zero in the perception of the hygiene and that when the hygiene level became raised to a level one state of hygiene, within a short period of time this level one of hygiene became regarded as a new level zero again. Thus reflecting the comparison Herzberg made between heroine and hygiene. Tripitaka (33), however pointed out that the identification with the company rises in proportion with the level zero state. The better the hygiene that is currently perceived as level zero, the more will the employee identify himself or herself with the organisation he or she is working in. In the most definite form a satisfying effect of hygiene factors was stated by King of Code (33), who pointed out that Herzberg’s separation between motivators and hygiene only made sense when the motivators were related to a state of motivation and the hygiene factors to question of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Thus pointing out that Herzberg’s notion on the fact that hygiene factors had no satisfying effect does not hold true in the perception of the participants.

Further interesting statements concerning workplace motivation were made by Neandertaler (35,36) during the discussion of two-factor theory. Neandertaler (35,36) stated that hygiene factors did not cause satisfaction, but that Herzberg’s arrangement of the factors did not entirely meet his or her perception of motivation. Instead Neandertaler (35,36) suggested a motivational theory close to Maslow’s and Alderfer’s. Neandertaler stated that there were three hierarchical levels concerning motivation. First a level connected to the needs outside the organisation, a pleasant private life and sufficient money to guarantee the security of the family. Neandertaler (4) noted that money would not cause motivation, but that it would “reassure” and that the first reason to work were the essentials. A fact stated also by Sheep (13), who pointed out that the first reason to work was the money and that the joy in work was just a nice side-effect. The second level consisted of the organisational environment, basically referring to the relations to the people at work and good working conditions. Only when the two first levels were satisfied one would become interested in the more self-fulfilling issues included in Herzberg’s motivators such as advancement or growth. Neandertaler (13) further stated that hygiene, although not in itself motivating was the “breeding ground” for motivation. This statement was repeated in a similar way by Horst (37), who pointed out that first the hygiene factors needed to be satisfied in order to allow one to aim for self-fulfilment. Interestingly it was Neandertaler (39), who also expressed the desire for self-actualisation. Neandertaler (39) wanted to achieve something similar to the “first ascent of the Mount Everest”, within his job.

The participants themselves finally pointed out that Herzberg’s theory had a cultural bias. Without any indication Rudi V. (36) identified the Herzberg’s theory as being of Anglo-Saxon origin, highlighting the exchanged role of safety and esteem needs in the perception of job satisfaction in the German and the Anglo-Saxon culture. Rudi V. stated that Anglo-Saxons have a higher interest in esteem and personal success, but pay less attention to safety needs what could be concluded from the fact that in Anglo-Saxon cultures a lower degree of protection of the workers exists. Rudi V. (36) himself stated to prefer safety to personal esteem and advancement. Neandertaler (32, 3, 20) produced similar thoughts highlighting that a job contained a social responsibility to the employer, the customers and the colleagues. To the employer in fulfilling the labour contract (Neandertaler 3), to customers in meeting their standards (Neandertaler 32) and to the colleagues in being fair and honest to them (Neandertaler 20). A mutual feeling of responsibility between employer and employee and employees among each other results in a more stable organisational environment as employees will not easily abandon the organisational environment they feel related to and employers will try to prevent redundancies whenever possible. Tripitaka (33) also identified that the theory was not of German origin. Further he or she pointed out that probably not all cultures would appreciate a motivational theory that is based solely on the needs of the individual and gave the more collectivist culture of China as an example.

4.4 Cognitive Maps

After the interview sessions the participants were briefed on how to establish cognitive maps and ask to design two of those maps, one for influences on their personal motivation and one for the influences on their feeling of demotivation. Six of the participants produced these maps. The cognitive maps can be found in Appendix C.

The cognitive maps fully reflect the relevant findings of the interviews. For example the mind maps of Tripitaka and Neandertaler reflect the notion that lower level needs in the private life and the working conditions have to be satisfied to create a state of well-being that enables the feeling of intrinsic motivation. Most maps highlight nearly the same issues in a good or bad way as related to motivation and demotivation. Raising doubts on Herzberg’s thought that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not related. Common themes of the maps are human relations at work, structural and administrative aspects of the organisation and work itself, listing the three principal ingredients of organisational behaviour. Especially the maps of King of Code highlight the influences of administration and a well-balanced task design as well as the need for meaningful and relevant tasks in connection to a reasonable reward by the company in form of advancement or salary. Despite their common ground the maps reveal that the individual personality of the participants plays are role in the perception of motivation.

Chapter 5: Discussion

The research has found that German knowledge workers saw their motivational patterns not satisfactory reflected in Herzberg’s two-factor theory. While Herzberg’s notion on the importance on challenging and interesting work were met with approval the two-factory theory did not account for the influences of the German culture on the workplace and the modern requirements of teamwork. The prediction of the differences between the American and the German culture made by Hofstede on the other hand have held true. German workers attach more value to security needs and team-based approaches than their American colleagues thus causing a change in the motivator hygiene pattern. At the same time they pay less interest to esteem needs and advancement in the organisational hierarchy. Additionally doubts were raised on the validity of Herzberg’s understanding of hygiene factors. With its sole focus on work and growth as aspects of motivation the two-factor theory ignores the influences of human relations and managerial aspects on motivation. On the other hand the more modern approaches of Senge and Edmonson proofed to be important for the management of researched organisation. Especially Edmonson’s approach towards the necessity of psychological safety for teamwork proofed to be especially appropriate for a German work team. A mutual trust and support between the employees increased the readiness to cooperate and develop a common sense of achievement. In addition today’s learning organisations require a visionary leader with the ability to integrate companies after a merger and who is open to conversation with the employees in order to increase the identification with the company. The lack of such leadership caused severe dissatisfaction in the workforce what is extremely devastating in a security driven culture.

The research further found evidence for Ryan’s and Deci’s assumption of an congenital motivation towards learning and engaging in meaning and purposeful tasks. An influence that in the modern knowledge driven era can be extremely useful in order to motivate people intrinsically. Herzberg’s orthodox job enrichment still represents a benefit for modern workers, it can even be stated that job enrichment has decisively contributed to the ability of the participants of the research to perform in the modern organisational environment. Herzberg’s focus on customer relationships, learning and direct communications authority precisely fits the current need for an increased transfer of information. In fact a job enrichment with a focus on learning and communication together with a leadership that especially addresses the workers’ needs concerning a well working administration and goal and product related tasks and the necessary team spirit to deal with a complex environment reflects the motivational needs of the participants, as representatives of modern workers. The rejection of the two-factor theory by the participants raises doubts if the two-factor theory itself can still be applied to comparable work contexts. In a team-based environment, that needs to be head by visionary leaders and relies on a constant exchange with its customers the notion that interpersonal relationships can only avoid dissatisfaction seems odd. The statements and cognitive maps of the participants further point towards the fact that Herzberg’s hygiene factors can cause job satisfaction and that there satisfaction is an important preliminary for motivation.

If, however the tentative and provisional finding that the hygiene factors can cause job satisfaction, while motivators create intrinsic motivation, can be supported by additional research, a complete revaluation of Herzberg’s theory would become necessary. So far this conclusion can only be used to suggest some ideas on the more obscure aspects of Herzberg’s theory, methodology and other open questions in the literature. First by arguing that hygiene factors are responsible for a feeling of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction an end would be put to the somewhat mind-boggling notion that positive and desired changes in the hygiene could only cause a state of “no-dissatisfaction” in the employee. Additionally it is an solution for the fact that satisfied workers do not need to be motivated workers, although satisfied workers are easier to motivate. Second by eliminating the thought that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not interrelated Herzberg’s two-factor theory could be related closer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in stating that Maslow’s lower level needs contribute to job satisfaction while the higher level needs can cause motivation. A thought that appeared in the statements of the participants of this research and that is strengthened by the fact that Steers and Porter arrived at fairly the same factors of how to improve workplace motivation by applying Maslow’s theory, as Herzberg did with his two-factor theory. If this holds true Herzberg’s comparison between heroin and hygiene could simply be explained by Maslow’s thought that the motivation caused by a need stands in inverse proportion to the grade of its satisfaction. It is therefore not helpful to reward employees always in the same way.

In proposing the thought that different cultures, work contexts and individual personalities influence the needs of an organisation’s workforce the paper offers at least a partial answer to Ruthankoon’s and Ogunlana’s question about the factors that create the variance and ambiguities in motivator and hygiene factors in the repetitions of Herzberg’s original study. In connection to this thought questions have to raised about the usefulness of the critical incident technique, as this method does not allow the participants to state their personal opinion about an aspect of work. Just because one event is linked to a dissatisfying outcome this does not mean that the worker generally has no interest in these issues. In contrary this study has shown that a certain satisfaction of Herzberg’s hygiene needs is in fact necessary before employees turn to the motivators for further motivation. In addition it was found that an increased state of hygiene leads to a higher identification with the company, which is one of the best external extrinsic motivations a company can provide to the employees according to Ryan and Deci.

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Issues for Further Research

6.1 Conclusion

Is it truly that simple? Is the solution to the many mysteries about Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory of workplace motivation really the simple insight that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are each others opposite. Well to some German knowledge workers it was. But why has nobody of the thousands of academics and managers that have dealt with the theory in the last forty-five years never raised the question how a human being can feel a state of no satisfaction or no dissatisfaction before? Probably because the general insight of the theory that work related factors can contribute to workplace motivation is good. The consequent developments concerning job enrichment probably even better. Still they contribute to the benefit of many workers today. However the work itself is not the entire job. Influences of the human relations and the administration within an organisation cannot be ignored, nor can the changes that take place inside and outside the organisation. Teamwork is the name of the game in the modern information society, leadership the key to organisational success. These influences are more than just no dissatisfaction. They contribute to the daily lives of millions of employees around the world. Is the world really so small that workers needs are not different? Fortunately it is not, there still employees that not necessarily all want personal success and advancement at any cost. They want direction and they want some peers to rely on. They maybe even want to achieve something together. Therefore they need to be included in a motivational theory as that what they really are motivators.

6.2 Limitations of the Research

It is time for some self-criticism. The presented research certainly had its weaknesses. First of all it was too ambitious. The data collected was too much for the time and resources available for a students research, causing a huge psychological and physical strain for the researcher, thus explaining the miserable quality of the thesis. While the literature review mainly reflects the intended order of the Student, the following chapters were written under an extreme pressure. Especially the last three chapters were laid down within an 48 hour marathon session, without food or sleep, they therefore do not convey the thoughts the author wanted to state about the results of the conducted research and clearly lack structure and editing. Other students are advised to be more moderate in their research design.

Second the findings of this research are subject to the typical limitations of qualitative research. The data was gathered from a non representative and small group of people. The data was subjectively analysed by just one researcher. Therefore its findings can just be an impetus for other researchers to pick up on these thoughts, because they have a certain explanatory power.

More substantial critique has to be exercised on the lack of clarity in some parts of the interviews, that are largely the result of the lack of experience of the researcher. Thus making the findings even more doubtful. Additionally it was certainly a mistake to high-handed include customers as an additional factor to Herzberg’s theory. It would have been far better to wait and see if the participants themselves came up with the thought that customers could be factor for job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. From the approach chosen anyhow no conclusion can be drawn, if customers really should belong in the theory. Further Participants stated that they had had too few time to think about Herzberg’s theory properly during the interviews.

6.3 Issues for further research

The research still delivered some results. Results that certainly are interesting to verify. First of all the fact if Herzberg was truly wrong in his approach to link job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction to different factors. A more structured approach is needed to sort out the differences between motivation, demotivation, job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction in relation to Herzberg’s theory. Second the cultural validity of the theory certainly should be tested again and third further research should be started to verify more precisely the reasons for the ambiguity in the earlier research on two-factor theory.


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