Interpretation And Criticism Of Herzberg Theory Accounting Essay


People do not reflect on what motivates them in the workplace. The factors that motivates employees can lead to job satisfaction, which may increase their productivity. What motivates one employee in the same organization, not necessarily motivates another employee. Sadri and Bowen (2011) indicated that employees that are motivated, work harder and produce higher quality and greater quantity of work.

There are several researchers that have a different definition of motivation. Bateman and Snell (2007, p.427) stated that "motivation refers to forces that energize, direct, and sustain a person's efforts." As an addition to this definition Gomez-Mejia, Balkin & Cardy (2011, p.61) refers to motivation as "a person's desire to do the best job or to exert maximum effort to perform assigned tasks." It is important for managers to know what motivates the employees, in order to have motivated employees, satisfied with their job that leads to achieving the organizational goals.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet


Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

In this chapter a brief explanation will be given of the Herzberg Two Factor Theory, which is based on the content theory. The content theory (Locke, 1976) specifies the special needs of an individual in order to be satisfied with his or her job (Cited in Udechukwu, 2009). Further this chapter will explain the purpose of this report, problem statement and setup of the report.

1.2 Background

Herzberg (1968) stated in the Two-Factor Theory of Motivation that "there were two factors driving employee satisfaction in the workplace: motivation factors (or motivators) and hygiene factors." (Cited in Hyun & Oh, 2011, p.103) The theory is based on the differentiation between the two factors, the intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Malik (2011) stated that the difference between the intrinsic and extrinsic factors is based on "needs related to prime human characteristics, the ability to achieve and through that achievement to experience psychological growth."

All over the world and also in Curaçao, people should be motivated. In every organization the motivators and hygiene factors can be different, but it is also important whether to two factors relate to each other.

1.3 The Purposes of the Research

The purpose of this report is: 1) to have a view on what are the main motivators for employees in a law firm, 2) to have a view on what are the main hygiene factors for employees in a law firm and 3) to determine whether the Herzberg theory is also applicable at a law firm in Curaçao.

1.4 Problem Statement and Sub problems

Problem statement

How can employees in a law firm in Curacao be motivated?

Sub problems

What are the main motivators of employees in a law firm?

What are the main hygiene factors of employees in a law firm?

How is the Herzberg theory consistent with the motivation of employees in a law firm?

1.5 Limitations

For this research only employees of one law has been interviewed, therefore the conclusion will not be generalized for all law firms in Curaçao.

1.6 Setup of the report

The setup of the report is as follows: Chapter 2 will present a literature review that emphasizes the Herzberg theory, the motivators and hygiene factors in law firms. Chapter 3 will discuss the methodology used for this research. Chapter 4 will explain the results of the study with regard to motivators and hygiene factors in a law firm. And whether Herzberg theory can be applied in a law firm in Curaçao. Chapter 5 will describe the conclusions and recommendations.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This literature review will cover research done with regard to the two-factor theory of Herzberg. Not only a more in depth explanation, interpretations of the theory, but also critic on the theory.

Am insight of researchers will also be presented based on interview or research in law firms with regard to motivation. Some factors are mentioned in research that might influence job satisfaction.

2.2 Interpretation and criticism of Herzberg theory

There are several interpretations on the Herzberg theory. Rajput, Bakar and Ahmad (2011, p. 551) indicated that Herzberg theory suggested that "job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are two independent constructs, each influenced by a different set of factors." An increase in needs related to job satisfaction not necessarily would influence job dissatisfaction. Motivators are factors of the work itself, which are related to job satisfaction. Hygiene factors are "context" of how the work can be performed, which are related to job dissatisfaction. Herzberg has identified motivation factors as: "achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility and advancement." Hygiene factors were labelled as: "salary, supervision, interpersonal relations, policy and administration" (Evans & Olumide, 2010, p. 75) Udechukwu (2009) indicated that this theory suggest that satisfaction is dependable of motivators and hygiene factors can result in dissatisfaction.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet


Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

The theory of Herzberg has also been criticized. Ewen (1964) was of the opinion that "he had investigated a narrow range of jobs, and used only one measure of job attitudes." (Cited in Smerek & Peterson, 2007, p.231) Hyun and Oh (2011) stated that the two factor theory is not applicable to all types of organization, based on various inconsistencies methodologically.

The figure below give an illustration of the motivation-hygiene factor theory. By removing the dissatisfaction of a job, does not necessarily makes the job satisfied.

Figure Herberg motivation-hygiene factor theory

Source:Mathehu Weblog

2.3 Motivation in law firms

Like any organizations employees in a law firms should also be motivated. Morgenstern (1996) stated based on an interview with a law firm secretary, a motivator might be "expression of confidence". The secretary referred to "no cost or low cost incentives can be particularly useful for motivating employees of small law firms." (p.91) This can be allocated as a motivational factor. Sheriff (2007) stated that financial incentives are becoming less important for employees to feel motivated. Sheriff refers to the engagement of people that might be important for employees of law to feel motivated. This can be related to both motivators as well as hygiene factors.

2.4 Conclusion

The conceptual framework of Herzberg theory as indicated in this chapter, is that there are two factors that influence the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of an employee in a workplace, which are motivators and hygiene factors. The movement in one factor does not necessarily, influence the other factor. Herzberg is of the opinion that both factors are needed in order an employee to be motivated. There is a trend based on research that employees of law firms are less motivated with financial incentives.

In the next chapter results are presented with the regard to the motivators and hygiene factors of the employees in a law firm. And also whether based on the research results the two-factor theory can be applied in a law firm.

Chapter 3 Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter will provide an explanation of the methodology of the research. The objective of the study is to have a description of what motivates employees in a law firm and to what extent the two-factor theory can be applied.

3.2 Procedures

This is a descriptive research to describe to motivation factors of a law firm. A survey will done with questionnaire consisting of structured questions with closed-ended questions. A probability sampling is used with simple random sampling.

The long-form MSQ (Hyun & Oh, 2011) has been used, which consist of intrinsic, extrinsic and general job satisfaction scales.

3.3 Participants

The target population is employees working in a small law firm. A total of 5 employees and 2 managers were selected for the interview. The employees is a sample across the firm, therefore not only lawyers were selected.

3.4 Instruments

A questionnaire is used consisting 13 questions with nominal and interval level. Hyun and Oh (2011, p.107) stated that "the reliability and validity of the long-form MSQ were reported to be stronger than those of the short-term MSQ." The first part of the questionnaire ask demographic information of the participant and the second part focus on the intrinsic, extrinsic and general job satisfaction. Each part consisted of 5 variables and anchored with a 5 point scale, from "very dissatisfied to very satisfied".

3.5 Representative

This research has been done only in one small law firm in Curaçao, therefore the results cannot be generalized for all law firms in Curaçao.


Chapter 4 Motivators in a law firm

4.1 Introduction

Respondents' Profile

Motivation factors

Hygiene factors

Examination of Herzberg theory in a law firm


Chapter 5 Conclusion and Recommendations

5. 1 Introduction

5. 2 Conclusion

5.3 Recommendations