How to be happy at work. Herzberg’s motivation theory.
The topic we are discussing these days in class deals with how to motivate people at work. We are talking about what makes people happy at work, and I think we are coming up with a lot of interesting ideas and I want to share my own opinion on this matter.
It is generally thought that money is one of the most motivating things at work, especially nowadays because there are a lot of unemployed people. But there is an American psychologist, called Herzberg, who introduced the motivation-hygiene theory. Herzberg , after interviewing many workers about their conditions at work, thought that there are certain factors at work that cause satisfaction and there are other factors that cause dissatisfaction, and he called motivators to those factors that give satisfaction and hygiene factors to those that cause dissatisfaction when we don’t have them, but that aren’t motivators if we have them because hygiene factors are necessary to work in proper conditions and to avoid dissatisfaction but by themselves don’t provide satisfaction.
For him, hygiene factors are a good salary, lighting and temperature conditions, security, etc. And motivator factors are those related to recognition at work, achievement , challenging atmosphere or promotion. If we don’t have a good salary or air conditioning at work we would be dissatisfied but if we have we don’t feel really happy and motivated because we think we need those factors to work.
In addition, other psychologists obtained similar conclusions, as Hawthorne experiment or Rosenthal experiment. At Hawthorne factory, the experts were studying if the workers would become more productive with better light conditions but they realized that the most productive people were the those involved in that experiment and regardless of the light conditions. So, the conclusion was that people become more motivated when they feel somebody cares about them, when somebody is asking about their opinion.
Finally, there is another experiment about how the expectations we have about a person or a worker can influence their behavior. This is the Pygmalion effect or Rosenthal effect that was an experiment with real students done in the United States in the 60’s. As you can see in this video with real students and real workers, too often we put a label on somebody’s forehead and we don’t look at people, we prefer look at his label.