Frederick Herzberg

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Frederick Irving Herzberg (April 18, 1923 – January 19, 2000) was an American psychologist, and Professor of Management at the University of Utah, and author of the 1968 best-seller One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees? He is most famous for introducing job enrichment and the Motivator-Hygiene theory, and is one of the most influential names in business management.


  • I can charge a man's battery, and then recharge it, and recharge it again. But it is only when he has his own generator that we can talk about motivation. He then needs no outside stimulation. He wants to do it.
    • Frederick Herzberg in: M.M. Gruneberg (1976), Job Satisfaction. p. 19
  • If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do — an enriched job.
    • Frederick Herzberg in: Randall B. Dunham (1984), Organizational Behavior: People and Processes in Management. p. 118
  • In 1950, I received my PhD in psychology. I was offered a fellowship to attend the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. My major was to be in industrial mental health under the direction of an industrial psychiatrist from McGill University in Canada by the name of Graham Taylor. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the concepts of industrial mental health were really a restatement of the concepts of mental illness that I had previously studied in clinical and abnormal psychology. Reflecting this disappointment, I entitled my Public Health Practice thesis Mental Health Is Not the Opposite of Mental Illness. After receiving my master’s degree in public health, I took a job as research director for Psychological Services of Pittsburgh. A local industrialist came to see me after a nasty labor relations disturbance and asked me plaintively, ‘What do people want from their jobs?’ I answered him in typical academic fashion, ‘Sir, I don’t know but if you give me enough money I will find out.’. I followed up on my School of Public Health thesis by designing a study to test the hypothesis that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction were separate concepts. The result was the book, The Motivation to Work, which led to a fundamentally different approach to the study of people’s affective states.
    • Frederick I. Herzberg in: "This Week’s Citation Classic," in: CC, Nr. 19, May 7, 1984; Re-published in: Neil J. Smelser (1987) Contemporary Classics in the Social and Behavioral Science. p. 199
  • Idleness, indifference and irresponsibility are healthy responses to absurd work... If you want people motivated to do a good job, give them a good job to do.
    • Frederick Herzberg in: Alfie Kohn (1999), Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, ... p. 205
  • It's the job of the manager not to light the fire of motivation, but to create an environment to let each person's personal spark of motivation blaze.
    • Frederick Herzberg, quoted in: Marci Segal (2003), Quick Guide to the Four Temperaments and Creativity. p. 12
  • True motivation comes from achievement, personal development, job satisfaction, and recognition.
    • Attributed to Frederick Herzberg in: Stuart Crainer, ‎Des Dearlove (2004), Financial Times Handbook of Management. p. 229

The motivation to work, 1959


Frederick Herzberg, Bernard Mausner and Barbara B. Snyderman, (1959) The motivation to work, New York: John Wiley & Sons. 2nd ed. 1959;

  • This book reports the findings from a study of job motivation based on a fresh approach to this problem. It is an important study, since the analyses and interpretations of the authors suggest that a breakthrough may well have been made to provide new insights into the nature and method of operation of job attitudes.
    • p.vii: Preface ; lead paragraph
  • There is a great variety of measures of job attitudes. Basically, however, the identification of job attitudes has been done in three ways. In the first of these the worker is asked to express his "[job satisfaction]]" directly by answering questions that investigate his over-all attitude toward his job, whether he likes or dislikes it.
    • p. 5
  • In our first pilot study we talked with clerical and production workers as well as professional and managerial people. We discovered that the professional and managerial groups were more verbal, showed a quicker grasp of the technique, and gave more and better delineated sequences of events than the clerical and production groups.
The second pilot study was restricted to managerial and professional people. On the basis of our experiences in this work, we decided to concentrate in the major sample on engineers and accountants. It was apparent in the results of this second pilot that engineers were able to give exceptionally vivid accounts of their work experiences. Since our study was still in the nature of an exploratory project, it was vital to us that we mine where the metal was richest.
  • p. 32
  • A sample limited to one profession would have yielded results of doubtful generality. To develop findings independent of the peculiar circumstances of the engineer, we needed to study a comparable group. Accountants were chosen because their jobs, like those of engineers,· are rich in technique. This richness makes it likely that the accountant, like the engineer, would have much to tell us. However, the groups are vastly different in the nature of their training, their present degree of professionalization, the kind of work they do, and, presumably, the kind of people attracted into them. Last, by covering accountants and engineers, we examined the job attitudes of two of the most important staff groups in modern industry
    • p. 32
  • As a first step in preparing the analytic scheme, all of the interviews were read by one of our staIr members and the replies were broken down into "thought units." A thought unit is defined as a statement about a single event or condition that led to a feeling, a single characterization of a feeling, Or a description of a single effect.
    • p. 38
  • The results of this study are presented under three general headings. The first, and most extensive, section consists of data relating to the factors that lead to positive and negative attitudes toward the job. It will be recalled that the major question this study set out to investigate was whether different kinds of factors were responsible for bringing about job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction.
    • p. 57
  • The factors that are rarely instrumental in bringing about high job attitudes focus not on the job itself but rather on the characteristics of the context in which the job is done: working conditions, interpersonal relationships, supervision, company policies, administration of these policies, effects on the worker's personal life, job security, and salary. This is a basic distinction. The satisfiers relate to the actual job. Those factors that do not act as satisfiers describe the job situation.
    • p. 63
  • All the basic satisfiers, recognition, achievement, advancement, responsibility, and work itself, appeared with significantly greater frequencies in the highs than they did in the low sequences of-events.
    • p. 80
  • The job satisfiers deal with the factors involved in doing the job, whereas the job dissatisfiers deal with the factors that define the job context. Poor working conditions, bad company policies and administration, and bad supervision will lead to job dissatisfaction. Good company policies, good administration, good supervision, and good working conditions will not lead to positive job attitudes.
    • p. 82
  • Let us summarize briefly our answer to the question, "What do people want from their jobs?" When our respondents reported feeling happy with their jobs, they most frequently described factors. related to their tasks, to events that indicated to them that they were successful in the performance of their work, and to the possibility of professional growth. Conversely, when feelings of unhappiness were reported, they were not associated with the job itself but with conditions that surround the doing of the job. These events suggest to the individual that the context in which he performs his work is unfair or disorganized and as such represents to him an unhealthy psychological work environment. Factors involved in these situations we call factors of hygiene, for they act in a manner analogous to the principles of medical hygiene.
    • p. 113
  • Among the factors of hygiene we have included supervision, interpersonal relations, physical working conditions, salary, company policies and administrative practices, benefits, and job security.
    • p. 113

Work and the nature of man, 1966


Frederick Herzberg (1966). Work and the nature of man. Cleveland, OH: World Publishing.

  • Man has two sets of needs: his need as an animal to avoid pain and his need as a human to grow psychologically.
    • p. 71
  • Dissatisfiers led to dissatisfaction because of the need to avoid pain for situations that caused discomfort; satisfiers led to job satisfaction because of a need for growth or self-actualization.
    • p. 75).
  • Factors involved in producing job satisfaction were separate and distinct from the factors that led to job dissatisfaction.
    • p. 75-76
  • Job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are not the obverse of each other... The opposite of job satisfaction would not be job dissatisfaction, but rather would be no job satisfaction. Similarly, the opposite of job dissatisfaction is no job dissatisfaction, not satisfaction with one's job.
    • p. 76
Wikipedia has an article about: