Resurrecting the Motivation-Hygiene Theory: Herzberg and the Positive Psychology Movement
Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory is a popular but controversial theory of employee satisfaction. The theory was at the center of a long debate that focused on conceptual and methodological problems with the theory. Now, more than 30 years after the debate and despite multiple claims that Herzberg's theory is dead, emerging research from the field of positive psychology is surprisingly consistent with basic tenets of the motivation-hygiene theory. It may be time to resurrect Herzberg's theory. This article includes a summary of the motivation-hygiene theory, a clarification of long-standing misinterpretations of the theory, and an examination of the fit between Herzberg's theory and contemporary research on happiness, intrinsic motivation, and materialism. The benefits of returning to Herzberg's model are discussed.
Human Resource Development Review
Sachau, D. (2007). Resurrecting the Motivation-Hygiene Theory: Herzberg and the Positive Psychology Movement. Human Resource Development Review, 6(4), 377-393. doi:10.1177/1534484307307546
Link to Publisher Version (DOI)
Publisher's Copyright and Source
Copyright © 2007 SAGE Publications. Article published by SAGE Publications in Human Resource Development Review, volume 6, issue number 4, December 2007, pages 377-393. Available online: