HERZBERG'S DUAL-FACTOR THEORY OF JOB SATISFACTION AND MOTIVATION: A REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE AND A CRITICISM
ROBERT J. HOUSE and LAWRENCE A. WIGDOR
Bernard M. Baruch School of Business and Public Administration
In. 1959, Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman reported re- search findings that suggested that man has two sets of needs: his need as an animal to avoid pain, and his need as a human to grow psychologically. These findings led them to advance a "dual factor" theory of motivation. Since that time, the theory has caught the attention of both industrial managers and psy- chologists. Management training and work-motivation pro- grams have been installed on the basis of the dual-factor theory. Psychologists have both advanced criticisms and con- ducted substantial research relevant to the dual-factor theory. The purpose of this paper is to review the theory, the criti- cisms, and the empiric investigations reported to date, in an effort to assess the validity of the theory.
Whereas previous theories of motivation were based on causal inferences of the theorists and deduction from their own insights and experience, the dual-factor theory of motiva- tion was inferred from a study of need satisfactions and the reported motivational effects of these satisfactions on 200 engineers and accountants.
The subjects were first requested to recall a time when they had felt exceptionally good about their jobs. The investigators sought by further questioning to determine the reasons for their feelings of satisfaction, and whether their feelings of satisfaction had affected their performance, their personal re- lationships, and their well-being. Finally, the sequence of events that served to return the workers' attitudes to "normal" was elicited.
In a second set of interviews, the same subjects were asked to describe incidents in which their feelings about their jobs were exceptionally negative-cases in which their negative feelings were related to some event on the job.
370 PERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY
Herzberg and his associates concluded from their interview findings that job satisfaction consisted of two separate inde- pendent dimensions: the first dimension was related to job satisfaction, and the second dimension to job dissatisfaction. These dimensions are not opposite ends of the same con- tinuum, but instead represent two distinct continua. High sat- isfaction is not in the main brought about by the absence of factors that cause dissatisfaction. Those job characteristics that are important for, and lead to, job satisfaction but not to job dissatisfaction are classified as "satisfiers," while those that are important for, and lead to, job dissatisfaction but not to job satisfaction are classified as "dissatisfiers." A few job characteristics functioned in both directions.
According to the theory, the satisfiers are related to the nature of the work itself and the rewards that fiow directly from the performance of that work. The most potent of these are those...