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Management Decision

Motivation and job satisfaction

Mark A. Tietjen Robert M. Myers

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Mark A. Tietjen Robert M. Myers, (1998),"Motivation and job satisfaction", Management Decision, Vol. 36 Iss 4 pp. 226 - 231
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Motivation and job satisfaction

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Mark A. Tietjen and Robert M. Myers

Palm Beach Atlantic College, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

The movement of workers to

act in a desired manner has
always consumed the thoughts
of managers. In many ways,
this goal has been reached
through incentive programs,
corporate pep talks, and other
types of conditional administrative policy. However, as the
workers adjust their behaviour
in response to one of the
aforementioned stimuli, is job
satisfaction actualized? The
instilling of satisfaction within
workers is a crucial task of
management. Satisfaction
creates confidence, loyalty
and ultimately improved
quality in the output of the
employed. Satisfaction,
though, is not the simple
result of an incentive program.
Employees will most likely not
take any more pride in their
work even if they win the
weekend getaway for having
the highest sales. This paper
reviews the literature of motivational theorists and draws
from their approaches to job
satisfaction and the role of
motivation within job satisfaction. The theories of Frederick
Herzberg and Edwin Locke are
presented chronologically to
show how Lockes theory was
a response to Herzbergs
theory. By understanding
these theories, managers can
focus on strategies of creating
job satisfaction. This is followed by a brief examination
of Kenneth Blanchard and
Paul Herseys theory on leadership within management and
how this art is changing
through time.
Management Decision
36/4 [1998] 226231
MCB University Press
[ISSN 0025-1747]

[ 226 ]

Herzberg and job satisfaction

Concept of attitude
Herzberg et al. (1959) proposed that an
employees motivation to work is best understood when the respective attitude of that
employee is understood. That is, the internal
concept of attitude which originates from a
state of mind, when probed, should reveal the
most pragmatic information for managers
with regard to the motivation of workers. In
his approach to studying the feelings of people toward their work, or their attitudes,
Herzberg et al. (1959) set out to answer three
1 How can one specify the attitude of any
individual toward his or her job?
2 What causes these attitudes?
3 What are the consequences of these
The order of these questions is empirically
methodical and, for Herzberg, the final question, which would demonstrate the relationship between attitude and subsequent behavior, was particularly important. In response
to the fragmentary nature of previous
scholarship, the combination of the three
questions resulted in a single unit of study
the factors-attitudes-effects (F-A-E) complex.
Herzberg described his new approach as
idiographic (Herzberg et al., 1959). Contrary
to the statistical or nomothetic approach
which places more emphasis on a groups
interaction with a particular variable, the
idiographic view was based on the premise
that the F-A-E complex should be studied
within individuals.
The method Herzberg used placed emphasis of the qualitative investigation of the F-AE complex over a quantitative assessment of
the information, though results were quantified at a later point. The design of Herzbergs
experimentation was to ask open-ended questions specifically about a workers experiences when feelings about his/her job were
more positive or negative than usual
(Herzberg et al., 1959). He preferred such an
approach over the ranking of pre-written
(and assumed) factors compiled and limited
by the experimenter. Each interview was

semistructured in nature so that a list of

questions was the basis of the survey, but the
interviewer was free to pursue other manners of inquiry.
The purpose of this discussion on attitude
was to summarize in short, the importance
of attitude as a starting point of the dualfactor theory of Herzberg, and briefly show
his approach to experimentation and

Motivation and hygiene factors

As a result of his inquiry about the attitudes
of employees, Herzberg et al. (1959) developed
two distinct lists of factors. One set of factors
caused happy feelings or a good attitude
within the worker, and these factors, on the
whole, were task-related. The other grouping
was primarily present when feelings of
unhappiness or bad attitude were evident,
and these factors, Herzberg claimed, were not
directly related to the job itself, but to the
conditions that surrounded doing that job.
The first group he called motivators (job
possibility of growth;
work itself.
The second group Herzberg named hygiene
factors (extra-job factors):
interpersonal relations supervisor;
interpersonal relations subordinates;
interpersonal relations peers;
supervision technical;
company policy and administration;
working conditions;
factors in personal life;
job security.
Motivators refer to factors intrinsic within
the work itself like the recognition of a task
completed. Conversely, hygienes tend to
include extrinsic entities such as relations
with co-workers, which do not pertain to the
workers actual job.

Mark A. Tietjen and

Robert M. Myers
Motivation and job

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Management Decision
36/4 [1998] 226231

The relationship of satisfaction and

The most significant and basic difference
between Herzbergs two factors is the
inherent level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction
within each factor. If motivation includes
only those things which promote action over
time, then motivators are the factors that
promote long-running attitudes and satisfaction. According to Herzberg et al. (1959), motivators cause positive job attitudes because
they satisfy the workers need for self-actualization (Maslow, 1954), the individuals ultimate goal. The presence of these motivators
has the potential to create great job satisfaction; however, in the absence of motivators,
Herzberg says, dissatisfaction does not occur.
Likewise, hygiene factors, which simply
move (cause temporary action), have the
potential to cause great dissatisfaction. Similarly, their absence does not provoke a high
level of satisfaction.
How does Herzberg base this non-bipolar
relationship? Job satisfaction (House and
Wigdor, 1967) contains two separate and independent dimensions. These dimensions are
not on differing ends of one continuum;
instead they consist of two separate and distinct continua. According to Herzberg (1968),
the opposite of job satisfaction is not dissatisfaction, but rather a simple lack of satisfaction. In the same way, the opposite of job dissatisfaction is not satisfaction, but rather no
dissatisfaction. For example, consider the
hygiene factor, work conditions. If the air
conditioner breaks in the middle of a hot
summer day, workers will be greatly dissatisfied. However, if the air-conditioner works
throughout the day as expected, the workers
will not be particularly satisfied by taking
notice and being grateful.

as a power trip. What about positive KITA?

Positive KITA can be summarized in one
word reward. The relationship is if,
then . If you finish this task in one week,
then you will receive this bonus. Though
many managers give incentives to motivate,
Herzberg says that positive KITA is not motivational. Positive KITA, rather, moves or
stimulates movement. When the worker
receives the bonus on completion of the task,
is the individual any more motivated to work
harder now? Was there a lasting effect
because of the conditional bonus? No, the
worker was simply moved temporarily to act.
There are, however, no extended effects once
the bonus is received.
Recalling motivator factors, Herzberg
(1968) concludes that only these factors can
have a lasting impression on a workers attitude, satisfaction and, thus, work. Furthermore, workers perform best (Steininger, 1994)
when this stimulation is internal and workrelated.

Lockes theory on job

Lockes composite theory of job satisfaction
is the product of many other concepts which
he has developed through study and
research on related topics such as goalsetting and employee performance.
Likewise, his explanation of job satisfaction
is in part, a response to some of Herzbergs
proposals. Thus, Lockes criticism of
Herzberg will be the initial discussion, followed by his theory on values, agent/event
factors, and finally an adjusted view of job

Criticisms of Herzberg
Motivation vs. movement in KITA
Integral to Herzbergs theory of motivation is
the difference between motivation and movement. He compares the two in his discussion
of KITA (Herzberg, 1968) the polite acronym
for a kick in the . There are three different types of KITA:
negative physical KITA;
negative psychological KITA;
positive KITA.
In todays litigious society, it is probable that
most managers will deal less and less with
workers utilizing negative physical KITA, or
physical contact to initiate action out of an
indolent employee. Negative psychological
KITA is also rather useless in motivating
workers; the primary benefit, though malicious, is the feeding of ones ego, also known

Lockes assessment of Herzbergs two-factor

theory can be summarized in brief by the
following conclusions about Herzbergs
1 Job satisfaction and dissatisfaction result
from different causes.
2 The two-factor theory is parallel to the
dual theory of mans needs, which states
that physical needs (like those of animals)
work in conjunction with hygiene factors,
and psychological needs or growth needs
(unique to humans) work alongside
motivators (Locke, 1976). With these
propositions as the basis for Lockes
understanding of Herzberg, the following
is a list of Lockes criticisms:
mind-body dichotomy;
unidirectional operation of needs;

[ 227 ]

Mark A. Tietjen and

Robert M. Myers
Motivation and job
Management Decision
36/4 [1998] 226231

lack of parallel between mans needs and

the motivation and hygiene factors
incident classification system;
the use of frequency data;
denial of individual differences.

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According to Lockes (1976) first critique,

Herzbergs view of mans nature implies a
split between the psychological and
biological processes of the human make-up.
The two are of dual nature and function
apart, not related to one another. On the contrary, Locke proposes that the mind and body
are very closely related. It is through the
mind that the human discovers the nature of
his/her physical and psychological needs and
how they may be satisfied. Locke suggests the
proof that the basic need for survival, a biological need, is only reached through the use
of the mind.
With regard to Herzbergs correlation
between hygienes, motivators, physical and
psychological needs, it can be inferred that
the first set are unidirectional, so too are
physical and psychological needs (Locke,
1976). Locke notes there is no justification for
this conclusion. Providing the example of the
physical need, hunger, he writes that acts like
eating can serve not only as aversions of
hunger pangs, but also as pleasures for the
The third criticism which pertains directly
to the previous two, is simply the lack of a
parallel relationship between the two groupings of factors and needs (Locke, 1976). Their
relation is hazy and overlapping in several
instances. A new company policy (hygiene)
may have a significant effect on a workers
interest in the work itself or his/her success
with it. The correlation lacks a clear line of
Lockes critique of Herzbergs classification system (Locke, 1976), common to the
preceding criticism, claims that the twofactor theory is, in itself, inconsistent in
categorizing factors of satisfaction. The twofactor theory merely splits the spectra of
satisfaction into two sections. For example, if
an employee is given a new task (which is
deemed a motivator) this is considered
responsibility. However, if a manager will not
delegate the duty, the situation takes the
label of supervision-technical. Locke states
that the breakup of one element (like responsibility) into two different types of factors
results from the confusion between the event
and the agent.
The phenomenon of defensiveness (Locke,
1976) is a further criticism of Herzbergs
work, whereby the employees interviewed

[ 228 ]

tend to take credit for the satisfying events

such as advancement or recognition, while
blaming others such as supervisors, subordinates, peers, and even policy, for dissatisfying
situations. Locke does not feel that Herzberg
addressed this fallacy sufficiently for the
importance it has in assessing validity of his
Herzbergs use of frequency data placed
emphasis on the number of times a particular factor was mentioned. However, as the
scope of 203 accountants and engineers was
narrow, it is likely that many workers,
though unique, experienced similar difficulties. Herzberg et al. (1959) concludes that
those most listed are the most satisfying or
dissatisfying. Even though, for example, a
dissatisfying factor is recorded numerously,
this does not necessarily imply that this
factor is a significant problem or even irritates a worker as much as an infrequent
problem which causes a greater level of dissatisfaction. Locke suggests the measurement of intensity rather than frequency
(Locke, 1976). For instance, an employee
could mention a time when he or she succeeded or failed and rank its level of
Concurrent with the previous criticism,
the denial of individual differences pertains
to the incorrect minimization of diversity
within the sample. Locke (1976) concedes
that though an individuals needs may be
similar, his or her values are not. Values,
furthermore, have the most significant
impact on emotional response to ones job.
Therefore, since individuals have unique
values and do not place the same importance
on money or promotion, for example, the
study deprives them of that which makes
them distinct from others. Values are of
crucial importance in Lockes theory of job
satisfaction, as evidenced in his response to
Herzbergs theory.

Lockes concept of values (vs. needs)

Locke defers to Rands (1964) definition of
value as that which one acts to gain and/or
keep. From this definition, the distinction
between a need and value must be discerned.
A comparison (Locke, 1976) of the two is
found in Table I.
Distinguishing values from needs, Locke
(1970) contends that they have more in common with goals. Both values and goals have
content and intensity characteristics. The
content attribute answers the question of
what is valued, and the intensity attribute,
how much is valued. With regard to finding
satisfaction in ones job, the employee who

Mark A. Tietjen and

Robert M. Myers
Motivation and job
Management Decision
36/4 [1998] 226231

performs adequately on the job is the individual who decides to pursue his or her
Though Lockes discussion continues
into more technical areas, the following
section presents Lockes conceptualization
of values in contrast to needs. As values are
a point at which Lockes theory of job satisfaction begins to separate from the theory of
Herzberg, so too are agent and event factors
a source of divergence between the two

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Table I
Comparison of needs and values


Needs are innate, a priori

Values are acquired, a posteriori

Needs are the same for all humans (Locke,

1976; Maslow, 1962)
Needs are objective: they exist apart from
knowledge of them

Values are unique to the individual

(Locke, 1976)
Values are subjective: they are acquired
through conscious and sub-conscious means

Needs confront man and require action

Values ultimately determine choice and

emotional reaction

Agent/event factors
An event, or condition, is that which causes
an employee to feel satisfaction (Locke, 1976).
An agent refers to that which causes an event
to occur (Locke, 1976). Events, therefore, are
motivators, in Herzbergs terms. Conditions
such as success/failure or responsibility
motivate workers and have the potential to
evoke satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Agents,
conversely, are comparable to hygiene factors; the customer or supervisor, for
instance, causes an event, which then causes
a feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Whereas Herzbergs factors limit the chance
of equal outcomes for positive and negative
results, the event categories include both
positive and negative possibilities for satisfaction. They are discussed in Table II
(Locke, 1976).
The clarification of factors which motivate
versus the means through which the motivation occurs leads to an adjusted view of job

An adjusted view of job satisfaction/

Defined as a positive emotional state (Locke,
1976) which results from the appraisal of
ones job experiences, satisfaction (Locke et
al., 1975), then, becomes a function of the
perceived discrepancy between intended and
actual performance, or the degree to which
ones performance is discrepant with ones
set of values. The closer the expected is to the
outcome, and the greater the achievement of
ones values, the higher the yield of

satisfaction (Locke, 1976). As long as the

aforementioned agents can be viewed as facilitators in the attainment of the workers goals
and the acknowledgment of the workers
values, the employee will be satisfied.

Life-cycle theory
To this point, focus has been placed on the
factors that influence employees to be either
motivated or merely moved, satisfied or dissatisfied. However, the role of the leader
played by each manager directly influences in
what manner the employee will be motivated
and find satisfaction. Additionally, since their
important 1969 article The life-cycle theory
of leadership (Maslow, 1954), Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey have revisited the role
of the manager as leader, reevaluating that
role in the 1990s.

The role of leadership in motivation

The life-cycle theory was developed to illustrate the important relationship between task
and relationship-oriented dimensions of
management. The theory helped managers to
see how they should adjust according to the
level of maturity within each worker. It also
portrayed the dynamics of high and low
propensities of task and relationship-oriented
managers when mixed with differing circumstances as well as diverse groups of employees. In drawing attention to the two-faceted
focus of managers that is task and relationships the life-cycle theory was very effective
in explaining what was referred to as the
superior/subordinate relationship.
In reassessing their joint discovery of the
life-cycle theory, Blanchard and Hersey
renamed the theory of leadership Situational Leadership. Implied in the newer title
was an emphasis on task behavior and
relationship behavior rather than attitude.
Whereas some attitudes were clearly better
than others, no one leadership style is best.
For example (Maslow, 1954), all managers
should have the attitude that both production
and people are very important. However, this
particular attitude can be expressed through
numerous different leadership styles depending on the manager. Since the original theory
was posed, they have assigned descriptors to
quadrants of high and low task and relationship behaviors. The four quadrants are
telling, selling, participating, and delegating,
and each inherently displays the respective
balance a manager uses in his or her balance
of task and relationship behavior.
Blanchard and Herseys clarification of
leadership style provides a stepping stone for
all managers dealing with a new and diverse

[ 229 ]

Table II
Agent/event factors

Management Decision
36/4 [1998] 226231

1. Task activity employee can enjoy or not enjoy work

2. Amount of work amount of work is just right, or
the amount is too much or too little
3. Smoothness work went smoothly, or work was
characterized by interruption and distraction
4. Success/failure employee finished task,
completed problem, or he/she failed to finish or
reach a goal
5. Promotion/demotion or lack of promotion
worker was promoted, or not promoted, though
he/she expected promotion
6. Responsibility responsibility was increased, a
special assignment was given, or responsibility was not
increased as desired, did not receive special assignment
7. Verbal recognition of work/negative verbal
recognition of work worker was praised, thanked,
complimented, or worker was criticized, blamed, or
not thanked
8. Money worker received monetary raise or bonus,
or did not receive desired raise or bonus
9. Interpersonal atmosphere there was a pleasant
atmosphere where people got along well, or the
atmosphere was unpleasant where people got along
10. Physical working conditions pleasant/unpleasant
temperature, machinery, hours of work were pleasant
and manageable, or they were unpleasant
11. Uncodable or other there was a good outcome of
a union election, or there was an accident, or poor
outcome to a union election

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Mark A. Tietjen and

Robert M. Myers
Motivation and job


work force as compared to that of the 1970s and

1980s. Emphasizing this change, the authors
(Blanchard and Hersey, 1996) exhort that leadership is done with people, not to people.

Conclusion and implications

In the managers search for knowledge on
motivation of employees or the enhancement
of job satisfaction, Herzbergs concept of
attitude as a force powerful in determining
output has been complemented by Lockes
formulation of value and its importance to
work goals and subsequently job satisfaction.
Additionally, the situational theory of leadership serves to aid management in its balance
of task and relationship. Attitude is everything, goes the familiar phrase. Indeed,
attitudes serve as the bottom line in specifying behavior. However, they do not act alone.
The values, or worldview, a worker carries
into the job form the foundation by which
attitudes develop. Therefore, managers must
acknowledge both the significance of attitudes
and values to the actions of the worker.

[ 230 ]

Self the respondent
Supervisor superior of respondent
Co-worker colleague or peer at same level
Subordinate person at lower level

Organization, management, or policies no

particular person(s)
Customer includes students, patients, buyers

Nonhuman Agent nature, machinery, weather,


No Agent luck, Murphys law; or unclassifiable

However, whereas the values are much more

subjective to the worker and have developed
over the individuals life, attitudes can be
impacted or influenced much more easily.
In seeking to create specific boundaries and
clarification of his categories, Herzberg noted
that factors which cause extreme satisfaction
and extreme dissatisfaction were not identical for the most part. Though Lockes
response places the event factors on the same
spectrum, the dual-factor findings of
Herzberg are significant in that they
pioneered a new way of thinking, drawing
attention to the integral role that management has in cultivating satisfaction within
workers. Lockes clarification of that which
motivates and the means through which
someone is motivated in the agent/event
theory, draws more practical application to
the way factors at work contribute to the
experience of the worker as understood
through satisfaction/dissatisfaction.
What Herzberg offers in his distinguishing
between motivation and movement is applicable for all management. A kick in the pants
gets the job done, to be sure. However, it

Mark A. Tietjen and

Robert M. Myers
Motivation and job

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Management Decision
36/4 [1998] 226231

affects no lasting positive change within the

worker. This is not a call to cancel incentive
programs but to encourage consideration of a
refined definition of motivation. This new
definition deals primarily with an adjustment in performance as a function of an
adjustment in the work of the employee.
Likewise, both theories point to the work
itself as containing the most potential for
causing satisfaction. Enhanced, sustained
performance on the job results not so much
from the fully furnished office or the temperature of the work environment, but the basic
duty assigned in the job description and all
those intrinsic feelings that produce positive
attitudes about that duty. Although aspects of
ones personal life as well as non-job factors
at work influence the behavior and eventually the satisfaction of the worker, it is the
work itself which brings fulfilment and
Maslows higher order of needs into being.
For management, this means that when a
workers performance steadily declines, it is
not due to a lack of perks or enforcement on
the part of management. Instead, the task of
the employee should be altered in such a way
that the fulfilment gained from doing the job
is expected daily.

Blanchard, K.H. and Hersey, P. (1996), Great
ideas, Training and Development, January,
pp. 42-7.
Herzberg, F. (1968), One more time: how do you
motivate employees?, Harvard Business
Review, pp. 53-62.

Herzberg, F., Maunser, B. and Snyderman, B.

(1959), The Motivation to Work, John Wiley
and Sons Inc., New York, NY.
House, R.J. and Wigdor, L.A. (1967), Herzbergs
dual-factor theory of job satisfaction
and motivation: a review of the evidence
and a criticism, Personal Psychology,
pp. 369-89.
Locke, E.A. (1970), The supervisor as motivator:
his influence on employee performance and
satisfaction, in Bass, B.M., Cooper, R. and
Haas, J.A. (Eds), Managing for Accomplishment, Heath and Company, Washington, DC,
pp. 57-67.
Locke, E.A. (1976), The nature and causes of job
satisfaction, in Dunnette, M.D. (Ed.),
Handbook of Industrial and Organizational
Psychology, Rand McNally, Chicago, IL,
pp. 1297-349.
Locke, E.A., Cartledge, N. and Knerr, C.S. (1975),
Studies of the relationship between satisfaction, goal-setting and performance, in Steers,
M.R. and Porter, W.L. (Eds), Motivation and
Work Behavior, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY,
pp. 464-73.
Maslow, A.H. (1954), Motivation and Personality,
Harper & Row Publishers, New York, NY.
Maslow, A.H. (1962), Toward a Psychology of
Being, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company,
New York, NY.
Rand, A. (1964), The objectivist ethics, in Rand,
A. (Ed.), The Virtue of Selfishness, Signet,
New York, NY, p. 15.
Steininger, D.J. (1994), Why quality initiatives
are failing: the need to address the foundation
of human motivation, Human Resource
Management, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 601-16.

Application questions
1 How is it possible to affect the attitudes of
employees in your organization, such that
attitude does not become a factor which
leads to dissatisfaction?
2 Does recent company policy reflect an
attempt to move employees through
reward/punishment conditions or
motivate employees through the

enhancement and even reconfiguration of

tasks within a job?
3 In diagnosing problems experienced by
employees and pinpointing their sources,
does management often confuse agent and
event factors?
4 Is management doing its job in balancing
the task with relationships?

[ 231 ]

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