The article being reviewed was written by the famous management writer Frederick Herzberg. Professor Herzberg was a distinguished professor at the University of Utah and was associated with the department of management studies. He was also a distinguished professor and the head of the department of psychology in the Western Reserves University in 1968, when this article was published (Herzberg, 1968).
The article highlights the many strategies and policies that are designed, implemented and followed by the higher managements of various organizations so as to get what they want from their employees. The process of motivating an employee to perform his regular duties at the job is perhaps the most monotonous job that the management has to perform. The higher management of every organization is continuously in search of ways in which their employees can be motivated: there has been no well formulated permanent answer to this question as none of the strategies implemented so far has been able to provide a complete remedy to this problem. Until now innumerable theories, strategies and policies have been applied by organizations so as motivate their employees, some of these have even been successful to meet their purpose, but none of them provide the desired result in a long term basis.
Professor Herzberg starts this article with the very same question that has been asked to him several times by the managements of various organizations, and also admits that the psychology that works behind entire process of the organizations trying to motivate their employees and the negative response of the employees towards all such attempts is indeed very complex. He sarcastically formulates the theory of KITA or the KICK IN THE ASS as the ultimate policy of moving an employee and making him do his job as and when required by the management. However, the author does not forget to make his point clear while formulating the theory of KITA: he expresses his firm belief that the primary aim of organizations is not to force their employees into doing things each and every time; instead the organizations should be looking at solutions which would be far more dignified a d wood actually generate a sense of responsibility and ownership towards the jobs that they perform.
In the following sections the author describes some of the ‘mythological’ strategies that are still employed by various organizations so as to motivate their employees into performing their own duties: strategies being reducing the number of hours an employee needs to be present at work, the various types of increments in payments, different reward systems implemented by the organizations and so on.
However, Professor Herzberg is of the opinion that all the above mentioned strategies had been unsuccessful at motivating the employees due to a very basic reason: the management had been so far overlooking a prime factor, namely the dissatisfaction of the workers at the work place. In this context, the author also clearly states that although in our semantic languages the opposite of ‘job satisfaction’ would be ‘job dissatisfaction’, yet in the real world the two words have a very different relationship. In the real world, the opposite of job satisfaction would be ‘no job satisfaction’ and that of job dissatisfaction would be ‘no job dissatisfaction’. According to this theory, when researches are being conducted on this particular domain, the factors behind the job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction of employees that are to be studied and analyzed need to be differentiated at first, as there exists no correlation in between these two factors. The author also uses a triangle of philosophies in this context, which can be used in personnel management: the three sides of the triangle depicts some motivators factors which can be used so as to manipulate the employees I performing their job.
The last section of the article is dedicated to the principles and strategies of ‘job enrichment’ which has been developed by the incorporation of various strategies taken by organization that had actually been successful in motivating their employees. One of these principles is known as job loading. According to the author, job loading can be differentiated into two types; the horizontal job loading and the vertical job loading. While the vertical job loading is associated with providing motivator factors to the employee, the horizontal job loading mainly increases the target of the employee instead of giving them scopes for growth. An enterprise which has been successful in motivating its employees must put in a right mix of these two sets of job overloading for achieving the success. Lastly, the author suggests the steps that should be ideally implemented by an organization so as to enrich the jobs and motivate the employees in performing those.
Herzberg, F. (1968). One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, (September-October 1987). Retrieved from https://synchronit.com/downloads/freebooks/herzberg.pdf
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