Herzberg’s two-factor theory

Motivators in the Herzberg’s two-factor theory correspond to the higher-level needs of esteem and self-actualization in Maslow’s needs hierarchy, while the hygiene factors correspond to Maslow’s physiological, safety and social needs. Table 16.2 compares Maslow’s and Herzberg’s theories of motivation.

Table 16.2: Comparison of Maslow’s and Herzberg’s Theories of Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Herzberg’s Two-Factory Theory

Self-actualization needs



Challenging Work



Esteem needs

Social needs

Maintenance Factors:

Job security

Good pay

Working conditions

Type of Supervision

Interpersonal relations

Safety and security needs

Physiological needs

Several researchers have challenged Herzberg’s findings. According to some researchers, it is easy to understand why people would associate feelings of satisfaction with factors such as challenge, growth, and recognition. It is very natural for people to attribute good results to their own efforts and blame external factors for their failures. Thus, these researchers contended that satisfaction and dissatisfaction in individuals are not the outcome of different factors but it is individuals who assign different sources to their successes or failures. Edwin Locke, who reviewed research pertaining to Herzberg’s theory spelt out the various problems associated with Herzberg’s findings. They are
1. the theory minimizes differences across people;
2. there is confusion in the original classification and statements; and
3. the arguments put forth by Herzberg are characterized by logical inconsistencies.
It was, therefore, concluded that Herzberg’s arguments did not withstand logical or empirical scrutiny.

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