The Two Factors: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivators
Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory, also known as Motivation-Hygiene Theory or intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, concludes that there are certain factors in the workplace that can cause job satisfaction and a separate set of factors that can cause dissatisfaction. It is critical to emphasize that this is not a linear relationship: the factors that cause satisfaction do not necessarily negate those that cause dissatisfaction; one does not necessarily increase exactly as the other decreases.
Extrinsic motivators tend to represent more tangible, basic needs—i.e., the kinds of needs identified in McClelland's "existence" category of needs in his ERG Theory or in the lower levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Extrinsic motivators include status, job security, salary, and fringe benefits. Managers must realize that not providing the appropriate and expected extrinsic motivators will sow dissatisfaction and unmotivated behavior among employees.
Intrinsic motivators tend to represent less tangible, more emotional needs—i.e., the kinds of needs identified in McClelland's "relatedness" and "growth" categories of needs in his ERG Theory and in the higher levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Intrinsic motivators include challenging work, recognition, relationships, and growth potential. Managers must recognize that while these needs may be outside the more traditional scope of what the workplace should provide, they are absolutely critical in empowering strong individual and team performance.
Herzberg's Theory in Context
Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory, McClelland's Need Theory, and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs all talk about higher-level psychological needs such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, and advancement. The key factor that differentiates Two-Factor Theory is the idea of expectation.
According to Herzberg, intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators have an inverse relationship. This is to say that intrinsic motivators tend to inspire motivation when they are present, while extrinsic motivators tend to reduce motivation when they are absent. This is because of expectation. Extrinsic motivators (e.g., salary, benefits) are expected and so will not increase motivation when they are in place, but they will cause dissatisfaction when they are missing. Intrinsic motivators (e.g., challenging work), on the other hand, can be a source of additional motivation.
If management wants to increase employees' job satisfaction, they should be concerned with the nature of the work itself—the opportunities it presents employees for gaining status, assuming responsibility, and achieving self-realization. If, on the other hand, management wishes to reduce dissatisfaction, then it must focus on the job environment—policies, procedures, supervision, and working conditions. To ensure a satisfied and productive workforce, managers must pay attention to both sets of job factors.