Pay as a Hygiene Factor… an Explanation

Pay as a Hygiene Factor… an Explanation

On the main “Compensation and Benefits” landing page, pay is described as a hygiene factor that has more of an effect on job dissatisfaction than it does on motivation and job satisfaction. Only seems appropriate that this statement, and the referenced two factor theory, get a little more time and explanation.

The two-factor theory is based on the work of a Pittsburgh, PA psychologist named Frederick Herzberg.  While his work was extensive, a large part of it included employee interviews where he asked employees what pleased and displeased them about their work.  His findings were published in his 1959 book, The Motivation To Work.

Essentially, Herzberg found that the things impacting job satisfaction were entirely different than those impacting dissatisfaction.  The satisfiers were termed motivators and the dissatisfaction items were termed hygiene factors and that’s where  two-factor theory (also known as Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory and dual-factor theory) came form.  The hygiene factors listed were company policy, supervision, relationship with boss, work conditions, salary, and relationship with peers.  The motivators listed were achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement, and growth.

As a result of the two factors, management is challenged to provide both motivators and hygiene factors.  Herzberg also argued  that management needs to provide factors intrinsic to the work itself and that job enrichment is required for intrinsic motivation.

As for Job Enrichment, Herzberg introduced the concept in a 1968 Harvard Business Review article entitled “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”.  While it was a result of his two factor theory work, the concept itself involves redesigning jobs so they are less repetitious and more challenging.  It is based on the premise that people want to succeed and be trusted in larger roles within the organization.




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