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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Maslow and Herzberg

Maslow and Herzberg may view the relationship between the extrinsic and intrinsic factors somewhat differently. Which theory best aligns with your approach to creating a motivating climate for staff ?


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory proposes that individuals have a hierarchy of needs that must be fulfilled in a specific order, starting with basic physiological needs and progressing to higher-level needs such as self-esteem and self-actualization. According to Maslow, once lower-level needs are met, individuals are motivated by higher-level needs. In the context of creating a motivating climate for staff, this theory suggests that providing a supportive environment that addresses employees’ basic needs, such as fair compensation, job security, and a safe work environment, is essential. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of recognizing and fulfilling employees’ higher-level needs, such as opportunities for growth, recognition, and meaningful work.

On the other hand, Herzberg’s two-factor theory distinguishes between motivators (intrinsic factors) and hygiene factors (extrinsic factors). Motivators are factors that contribute to job satisfaction and intrinsic motivation, such as challenging work, achievement, and recognition. Hygiene factors, on the other hand, are extrinsic factors that, if absent or inadequate, can cause job dissatisfaction but do not necessarily lead to increased motivation when present. Examples of hygiene factors include salary, job security, working conditions, and company policies. According to Herzberg, the presence of motivators is what leads to employee motivation and satisfaction in the workplace.

In terms of aligning with the creation of a motivating climate for staff, both theories have their merits. Maslow’s theory emphasizes a broader perspective, considering a hierarchy of needs that range from basic to higher-level psychological needs. It suggests that addressing a wide range of needs can contribute to a motivating climate for staff. Herzberg’s theory, on the other hand, focuses specifically on the presence of motivators and highlights the importance of intrinsic factors in fostering motivation.

In practice, organizations often employ a combination of both theories to create a motivating climate for staff. They recognize the significance of providing fair compensation, job security, and good working conditions (hygiene factors) while also offering opportunities for personal growth, meaningful work, and recognition (motivators). The specific approach may vary depending on the organization’s culture, industry, and individual employee preferences.

Ultimately, creating a motivating climate for staff requires a comprehensive understanding of employees’ needs, aspirations, and preferences. It is essential to consider both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, as well as the unique context of the organization, to develop an effective approach.

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