The Two factor theory is a popular theory of Motivation is that proposed by psychologist Fredrick Herzberg.
The hygiene-motivation theory has been subjected to appreciation and criticism. The criticisms of the theory are the following :
- The procedure that Herzberg adopted is limited by its methodology. When things are going well. People claims credits for themselves. Contrarily, they blame failures on the extrinsic environment.
- The reliability of Herzberg’s methodology is questioned. Since raters have to make interpretations, it is possible that they may contaminate the findings by interpreting one response in one particular manner, while treating a similar response differently.
- The theory, to the degree that it remains valid, provides an explanation of job satisfaction. It is not really a theory of motivation.
- The theory is inconsistent with previous research. The motivation-hygiene theory ignores situational variables.
- Herzberg assumes that there is a relationship between satisfaction and productivity. But the research methodology he used looked only at satisfaction, not at productivity. To make such a research relevant, one must assume a high degree of relationship between satisfaction and productivity.
- The two factors are not actually distinct. Both, motivators and hygiene factors contribute to satisfaction as well as dissatisfaction.
- As a result of Herzberg’s theory, there has been a tremendous emphasis on motivators. The importance of hygiene factors has been ignored.
There are certain merits of the theory. One of the most contributions of Herzberg’s work was the tremendous impact it had on stimulating thought, research and experimentation on the topic of motivation at work. Before 1959 little research had been carried out in the area motivation, and the research that did exist was largely fragmentary. Maslow’s work on the need hierarchy theory and others were largely concerned with laboratory based findings, or clinical observations, and neither had seriously addressed the problems of the workplace at that time. Herzberg filled this void by calling attention to the need for increased understanding of the role motivation in organizations.
Second, Herzberg’s theory offers specify action recommendations for managers to improve motivational levels. Herzberg cleared many misconceptions concerning motivation. For example, Herzberg argued that money should not be viewed as the most potent force on the job. He advanced a strong case for content factors should not be viewed as the most potent on behavior. According to Herzberg, it is these content factors, and not money, that are primarily related to work motivation.
Third the job-designed technique of job enrichment is the contribution of Herzberg.
Finally, Herzberg double dimensionalised the needs, instead of dividing it into five, as done by Maslow.
It can be stated that Herzberg’s theory has been widely read and very few managers are unfamiliar with his recommendation. The increased popularity, since the mid -1960s, of vertically expanding jobs to allow workers greater responsibility in planning and controlling their work can be largely attributed to Herzberg’s findings and recommendations.