Friday, August 20, 2010

Management for Success: Hertzberg's Two-Factor Theory and Expectancy Theory

The following two organisational behaviour theories will be discussed: Hertzberg’s two-factor  theory and Expectancy Theory.


Hertzberg's Two-Factor Theory

Herzberg et al. contend in his two-factor theory, also known as the motivator-hygiene theory, that factors identified as job dissatisfaction (or hygiene factors) were different from those identified as sources of satisfaction (or motivator factors). In a study done by Spillane (1973) using the two-factor theory for job-satisfaction on labour turnover, he found that there were no significant difference from either intrinsic or extrinsic factors on job satisfaction to labour turnover.


People leaving the organization and those that stayed had the almost the same job satisfaction results. However, it is important for managers to understand the intrinsic job factors such as; recognition of individual abilities, opportunities to develop feelings of achievement, responsibility given by superiors, possibilities for advancement, the nature of the work itself and distinguished them from the extrinsic job factors such as; working conditions, salaries, company policies, relationship with colleagues and supervision. These intrinsic job factors correlates highly to motivator factors in job satisfaction in a study done in an education setting by Gaziel (1986) and the hygiene factors were a cause of job dissatisfaction.


Herzberg’s theory has made a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the nature of job satisfaction. Its main contribution stems from its emphasis that job satisfaction is related to work itself, a finding of practical significance in designing jobs. The hygiene factors can be the cause of job dissatisfaction for some people and these hygiene factors contributing to job dissatisfaction could be due to employee-manager work relationship and to a greater extend salary related factors.

Managers need to understand such motivational theories in order to improve the job performance and the output of the people.


Expectancy Theory

One other theory of motivation is the Expectancy Theory (Vroom, 1964). Managers must understand the theory and learn how to translate it into practical ways in the organization to increase staff performance. The theory states that motivated individuals put forth the greatest effort, believe that effort will lead to good performance, and that good performance will lead to preferred outcomes (Oliver, 1995, p.3).


In more practical terms, expectancy theory says that employees will be motivated to exert a high level of effort when they believe that effort will lead to a good performance appraisal; that a good appraisal will lead to organizational rewards such as a bonus, a salary increase, or a promotion; and that the rewards will satisfy the employees’ personal goals (Robbins & Judge, 2007, p.188).


The theory focuses on three relationships. The first relationship is the effort-performance relationship. If my manager does not like me, no matter how hard I put effort into my work, they will not give me a good job appraisal. This will be the belief of the people that no matter how hard they work, the likelihood of getting a good performance appraisal is low which leads to their low motivation.


The second relationship is the performance-reward relationship. People expect some sort of reward when they get a good performance appraisal. However, in many cases managers so often give excuse even when an employee was given a good performance appraisal that there is no additional reward due to circumstances such as the company is not doing well, their pay and compensation is already above market rate and will not be entitled to more rewards etc.


The third relationship is the rewards-personal goal relationship. The employee works hard in hope of getting a promotion, but gets a pay rise instead. This illustrates the importance of the rewards being tailored to individual employee needs.


The key to expectancy theory is the understanding by management of an individual’s goals and the linkage between effort and performance, between performance and rewards, and, finally, between the rewards and individual goal satisfaction.


1. Robbins, SP, Judge, TA 2007, Organizational Behaviour: Twelfth Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, USA.

2. Spillane, R 1973, ‘Intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction and labour turnover’, Occupational Psychology’, Vol. 47 Issue 1/2, pp. 71-74,

3. Gaziel, HH 1986, ‘Correlates of Job Satisfaction: A Study of the Two Factor Theory in an Educational Setting’, Journal of Psychology, Vol. 120 Issue 6, pp. 613-627,

4. VROOM, V.H 1964, Work and Motivation. New York, Wiley,USA.

5. Oliver, H 1995, ‘Influence of motivational factors on performance’, Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 22 Issue 1, pp. 45-50,

1 comment:

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