Frederick Herzberg (1923-2000) was an American psychologist whose work became highly influential in business management, largely through his 1968 article “One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?” which originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review. Herzberg is also remembered for the Motivator-Hygiene Theory, also known as the Two-factor theory, regarding job satisfaction.
Frederick Herzberg was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the son of Lithuanian immigrants. In 1939, he entered City College of New York, but left before completing his studies in order to enlist in the US Army during World War II. After the war, he returned to City College, completing his degree in 1946 and then moving to the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees. His thesis work focused on electric shock therapy.
Starting in the 1950s, Herzberg worked at the University of Utah, where he began research on organizations and organizational behavior. It was through this work that he developed the Motivator-Hygiene Theory, also known as the Two-factor theory, or simply the Herzberg Theory. This states that people are influenced by two sets of factors. Hygiene factors include status, salary, fringe benefits, and job security, which do not lead towards higher satisfaction, but the absence of which will lead to dissatisfaction. Motivators include recognition, and responsibility, things that do provide satisfaction.