What is Motivation in business management – Frederick Herzberg’s theory of Motivation

“Motivation is everything.  You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.” –  Lee Lacocca

Motivation is a feeling of enthusiasm, interest or commitment that makes somebody want to do something or it’s something that causes such feelings. It’s a reason for doing something or behaving in a particular way. Thus, the act of giving somebody a reason or incentive to do something is one of the most important things that a business can do. In the workplace the employees are to be motivated to perform better, produce desired results and behave in an acceptable manner.

Motivation, with a great assistance in building up the image of the organization, is considered to be the backbone of good industrial relations. Due to its course of action, the employee directs himself to a great extent for the accomplishment of organizational objectives. Motivation is a complex phenomenon. There are several theories available attempting as to how motivation works in the work place. One of them is the theory of a Psychologist Frederick Herzberg.

The dual structure need based approach developed by Frederick Herzberg, generally known as two factors theory, points out the factors influencing satisfaction that are called motivation factors and those causing dissatisfaction, hygiene or maintenance factors. Hygiene factors: Company Policies, Salary, Job Security, Personal life and status. Motivation factors: Achievement, Recognition, Advancement and the possibility of personal growth. Herzberg recommends focusing on different set of factors to increase motivation by improving opportunities for advancement, recognition and growth. Job enrichment has exclusively been put in a good word for by Herzberg as a means of enhancing the availability of motivation factors.

It must be noted that dissatisfaction and demotivation arises due to unfavorable assessments of these job related factors, such as, company policies, supervision, salaries, interpersonal relations or working conditions. If a management wants to increase satisfaction of its employees, it needs to consider the nature of the work itself providing the opportunities for gaining professional development to the employees or status by focusing on the job environment, policies, procedures, supervision and working conditions.

In addition to what  has been enlightened in the light of theories and approaches, above and beyond, there are a few good words to supplement and strengthen the process of motivation in the organization, such as: Working environment should be humanized with due respect – hence the need to treat each employee as an individual. There should be encouragement to both personal and departmental goal setting. Consistency should be maintained in the work as well as in relations to others. Personal interest must be shown to the people who work for the organization. If committed by A, mistakes be admitted that it’s likely lesser that B hide his own mistakes. Unpleasant assignments ought not to be whitewashed brusquely, in order to make up for, let the subordinates be prepared well in advance and what can be, a constant support be offered.

Motivation framework, originated from the needs, is a good starting point with the aim of figuring out how people chose certain behaviors. Since there exists a host of needs and that they are at variance, the contentment of a need gives rise to the identification of other needs. So is the cycle of motivation reiterated constantly – varying from person to person and time to time. Hence, it is important to constantly motivate the employees so as get the intended results of a business effectively and efficiently.

Written by:
K. A. Fareed (Fareed Siddiqui)
Writer, Trainer, Author, Blogger, Software Developer
BBA, MBA-Finance, MPhil-Financial Management, (PhD-Management)
MA-English, MPhil-English
Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications and Programming
Certificate course in English language proficiency
Level 1 – Leadership and Management ILM – UK
Pursuing CMA-USA
Individual Member of Institute of Management Consultants of India


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