Several years ago Frederick Herzberg,
a psychologist now at Case Western
Reserve University, asked 200 accountants
and engineers in the Pittsburgh
area to describe times when they felt
especially good about their jobs, and
especially bad. What was happening?
What were they doing? How did their
feelings affect their work? Herzberg
said he picked these professionals because
"their jobs are rich in technique,"
and they constitute "two of the most
important staff groups in modern industry."
Herzberg's conclusions, which he
called a "two-factor theory" of motivation,
have had a major impact on the
way some companies organize work.
This is what he found:
The things which people gripe about
on the job are in an entirely different
class from those which motivate them
The professionals in Herzberg's
study complained about poor pay, narrow
company policies, inadequate
supervision and insecure jobs. They
expected decent treatment in these
areas. Getting it, however, did not
motivate them to work harder. It simply
removed the cause for complaint.
What stimulated top performance
was interesting work, recognition for
a job well done, responsibility and a
chance to achieve and grow professionally.
Some of the men had refused
better pay elsewhere because they felt
good about these motivators in the jobs
they had. One accountant, for example,
described his satisfaction at installing
By Marvin R. Weisbord a new computer system—how he felt
when the hardware worked right and
the statements came through on time.
His section, he said, was functioning
better than ever before.
"Apparently," commented Herzberg,
"the feeling of growth in stature and
responsibility is still the most exciting
thing that happens to someone in our
You don't have to be a social scientist
to test whether Herzberg's findings
make sense. Take a minute to think
back on a time in your own professional
life when you felt especially
good about your job. What was the