wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Frederick Herzberg (1923-2000)Frederick Herzberg


American expert in motivation (pictured right), famous for his “motivator-hygiene” theory of motivation (see below).

His interest in motivation was triggered by seeing the Dachau concentration camp as a soldier in the Second World War.

He wanted to keep “the sane people sane” at work.


Key books and articles

The Motivation to Work (1959), written with Bernard Mausner and Barbara Snyderman


Five motivator factors (related to a fulfilling job) increase job satisfaction and motivation. They lead to job enrichment:


1. Achievement 

Quality performance.


2. Recognition for achievement 

Feedback on performance.


3. The work itself 

Doing a job for people, or clients, inside and outside the organization.


4. Responsibility 

  • control over work and resources.
  • authority to communicate with clients.
  • accountability.


5. Advancement and growth 

Learning new skills and knowledge.


Hygienes (or hygiene factors)

These relate to the work environment

They rarely motivate but, if inadequate, cause dissatisfaction with work and mental illness.


These hygiene factors are

  • pay and benefits.
  • company policy and administration.
  • relationship with your boss, colleagues and subordinates.
  • supervision.
  • working conditions.


Key quotes on motivation

The greatest fulfilment of man is to be found in activities that are meaningfully related to his own needs as well as those of society. 

Feelings of unhappiness... were not associated with the job itself but with conditions that surround the doing of the job.

Salary...is primarily a dissatisfier.  


One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees? (1968 Harvard Business Review article)

The best motivation is self-motivation i.e. you do something because you want to do it.

So motivation doesn’t come from “positive KITA (kick in the ass)” i.e. hygiene factors like money.

The impact of hygiene factors on attitudes is short-term, because they have to be continually applied with negligible effect on motivation.

The only way to motivate people is to apply the five motivator factors (listed above) through continuous job enrichment (or vertical job loading).

Motivation and job dissatisfaction are caused by different factors

So the “opposite of job dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction [i.e. motivation], but no dissatisfaction”.


Key quotes on motivation

Why is KITA not motivation? If I kick my dog... he will move. And when I want him to move, what do I do? I must kick him again.

Job enrichment will not be a one-time proposition but a continuous management function.

The very nature of motivators, as opposed to hygiene factors, is that they have a much longer-term effect on employees’ attitudes.



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