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Herzberg's Motivation Theory-The two-factor theory

Updated on March 30, 2016

Introduction

The success of a business is reliant on many aspects. The most important of these being the workers’ morale and how motivated they are to work. Many businesses tend to ignore this crucial aspect and in the process end up losing a lot in the long term. The simple truth is that businesses are only as good as their employees, without which they cannot function. In this article we will closely explore Frederick Herzberg’s theory on motivation, more commonly known as the two factor theory, and its’ fundamental importance to businesses. We will further hone in on two factors known as job enrichment and job enlargement and how they contribute to long term motivation of the workforce. It is good to remember that these two contrast each other. We shall expand on this and suggest methods in which businesses can implement the two factor theory in the modern world of business.

What Is Job Enrichment?

Firstly, in order to implement the factor of job enrichment, we need to understand what it is and how it motivates workers to produce optimal quality. Job enrichment by definition is the management technique implemented to make a workers task more challenging and interesting, or at the very least give the perception of this idea. The broad aims of this concept are fourfold; to reduce repetitive work, develop workers’ feelings of recognition and achievement, provide opportunity for advancement (promotion), and provide opportunities for growth (increase in skills and knowledge). A relevant example of job enrichment could be seen when you consider and employee who loads and off loads delivery trucks. A business could now give him/her the task of also driving those trucks to their intended destinations. Why do businesses need job enrichment? In simple terms, the benefits to the business are a workforce with a higher morale, increased productivity, and employees who are less likely to seek jobs elsewhere.

The path to RICHness is to enRICH your staff.
The path to RICHness is to enRICH your staff.

Implementation Of Job Enrichment

Let us now examine how businesses can implement job enrichment to produce long term motivation. Businesses first need to assess and formulate a list of possible changes that they can adopt into a job position. They should then follow the seven principles of job enrichment put forth by Herzberg which he referred to as vertical job loading. Vertical job loading is the process of making a job more challenging and it directly contrasts job enlargement, but we will come to that later. The seven principles are as follows; “Removing some controls while retaining accountability, Increasing the accountability of individuals for own work, Giving a person a complete natural unit of work, Granting additional authority to employees in their activity, Making periodic reports directly available to the workers themselves rather than to supervisors, Introducing new and more difficult tasks not previously handled, Assigning individuals specific or specialized tasks thus enabling them to become experts”. Business should then compile a shortlist of job changes that would integrate one or more of the principles into the job position. In this way businesses can ensure long term worker motivation. It is important to remember that each job position or sector of the business will require its’ own analysis as each position has its’ own unique requirements.

Major Companies That Implement It

There is an abundance of companies who have already taken measures to enrich the jobs of their workers. Among these are; McDonald's, AT&T, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Texas Instruments LTD. This is a fascinating achievement for something that is regarded as just a theory. There are still however 55% of recognized companies in the world who have made little to no effort in this regard.

If people choose to engage on a one-dimensional level that's fine. But going beyond the surface can enrich ourselves as human beings."- Geri Halliwell
If people choose to engage on a one-dimensional level that's fine. But going beyond the surface can enrich ourselves as human beings."- Geri Halliwell

What Is Job Enlargement

Let us move on to job enlargement. Job enlargement is the process of creating a job design whereby workers have an increased workload of the same type of job. In other words the increase in the scope of the job position tends to be more quantitative in nature rather than it being qualitative as is in the case of job enrichment. Job enlargement is a horizontal restructuring method for a job position and thus is known as horizontal loading. The aim of this design is to increase overall flexibility of the workforce while simultaneously reducing monotony in the job position that develops over time. It is of popular belief that because the restructuring is horizontal in nature there is no need to have additional training for workers. This is not true. There is a need for time and people related training as the jobs become more intensive and overwhelming. A good example of job enlargement is apparent if you consider an employee who carries empty boxes to and from the trucks. A business could now hand him/her the responsibility of carrying all types of items such as food, stationery etc. Why would a business need a job enlargement strategy?

Pro's and Cons of Job Enlargement

A few benefits of job enlargement are; reduced number of employees, happier workforce, less monotony, and the opportunity for growth of an employee. There are disadvantages to this strategy as well. Workers might feel that they are been given more duties for the same amount of earnings. This can lead to unrest in the workplace. Businesses could also run into problems with the workers Unions as they could misinterpret this job design as a reason to exploit workers.

A job without enrichment is just a highly paid chore
A job without enrichment is just a highly paid chore

Implementation

The implementation of this strategy is not as complicated as that of the job enrichment strategy because of its’ horizontal structure. Businesses will only have to focus more attention to their unit/time rate and might have to employ a few more supervisors to oversee the job restructure in its’ early stages of implementation.

Differences Between The Two

Finally let us look at the differences between the two job restructuring methods. Job enrichment allows for worker growth and improvement while job enlargement simply allows for worker contentment. Job enrichment supplies a variety of different tasks to one job position whereas job enlargement supplies more of the same or similar task to a job position.

enlarge your business by enlarging the job
enlarge your business by enlarging the job

Conclusion

In conclusion, with close consideration to the fore mentioned facts it is safe to say that job enrichment would have a better overall effect on worker morale and motivation as opposed to job enlargement. We may also deduce that although job enrichment has proven to be more successful in the long term it would also be more expensive to implement. The implementation of job enrichment requires more skills training and invested time that some businesses might not be able to afford. It is also pertinent to remember that each business will have to experiment and implement what is most useful for their own needs and the needs of their workforce.

It's Your Turn

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© 2016 Yaseen Essack

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