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Organizational Behavior and Needs-Based Motivation; the Two-Factor Theory

Effective talent management is paramount for organizational success. It entails the process of recruiting, developing, and retaining talents by providing an environment that supports the achievement of set objectives. Notwithstanding, the management tasked with overseeing the performance of employees might create unrealistic goals. This situation often results from poor communication and leadership, inappropriate performance evaluation systems, and other causes. In such a situation, employees feel demotivated to work and are less productive in their duties. However, there are a few proposed needs-based models that the management can employ at such a time to stimulate employees and boost their satisfaction, such as Herzberg’s two-factor theory, the ERG theory, and the Acquired-Needs model. The Two-Factor model sets itself apart from the rest in describing human behavior in the workplace because it stresses the difference between motivation and movement and recognizes the significance of job enrichment.

There is a significant difference between the management that focuses only on the hygiene factors from the management style that pays greater attention to motivation. According to Herzberg, the “kick in the pants” (KITA) management pays greater regard to hygiene factors, hence only results in short-term movement (Tietjen & Myers, 1998). In contrast, management by motivation stressed by Herberg’s theory taps into the potential of all employees. Each employee receives the satisfaction of what they do hence get motivated in the long-term. Even if managers decide to give incentives to employees to complete a task, it is not motivational on its own. Herzberg says such incentives only spur movement. Once the worker receives a bonus upon task completion, the worker does not get prompted to work harder the next time. Instead, it moves them temporarily to act, and there are no extended benefits associated with it. According to Tietjen and Myers, workers perform best when such stimulation is internal and work-related. Only the motivational factors proposed by the Two-Factor theory have a lasting effect on the worker’s attitude and satisfaction.

Herzberg’s theory supports the role of job enrichment in employee satisfaction and motivation. It necessitates addressing the motivating factors associated with the work itself, which Herzberg refers to as job enrichment. He argued that it is necessary to examine how every job could be more satisfying for the worker. To achieve this, the manager has to provide opportunities for achievement, recognize the contributions of each employee, create rewarding work and give a reasonable amount of responsibility. The Two-Factor theory supports the need for greater employee responsibility in planning and controlling their work to boost their motivation and satisfaction (Dartey-Baah & Amoako, 2011). It is, therefore, necessary for managers to create jobs that allow employees to control and plan how they perform their duties to serve the motivator needs of employees, as suggested by Herzberg.

The first step would involve assessing employee performance relative to the standard expectations established collaboratively by management and employees. There is no better way of discerning where and when to use rewards than getting the gaps and issues in the workplace. This process could involve asking employees to describe when they or a co-worker demonstrated qualities worthy of recognition, whether they got it and which kind of rewards they would prefer. There are those employees that prefer monetary rewards while others prefer non-monetary ones. This information can be collected using surveys sent directly to employees via email. After collecting employee responses, the next step would entail the identification of rewards to use, whether promotions, certificates of achievements, or bonuses. Finally, it would be necessary to offer a job enrichment program for all employees for long-term motivation. Such a program would create a sense of loyalty to the job, increase satisfaction and overall productivity.

The Two-Factor theory proposed by Herzberg is a crucial needs-based motivation model that an organization can employ to deal with low productivity. It increases productivity among employees by focusing on factors that increase long-term motivation while emphasizing the role of job enrichment in an organization. The absence of hygiene factors causes an employee to lower their performance, whereas the motivating factors encourage them to work harder. As the issue of talent management becomes critical in the workplaces today, organizations must adopt motivational means that produce long-term effects to reduce turnover and increase productivity.


Dartey-Baah, K., & Amoako, G. K. (2011). Application of Frederick Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory in assessing and understanding employee motivation at work: a Ghanaian Perspective. European Journal of Business and Management3(9), 1-8.

Tietjen, M. A., & Myers, R. M. (1998). Motivation and job satisfaction. Management Decision36(4), 226-231. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251749810211027

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