Testing Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation in the Public Sector: Is it Applicable to Public Managers?

Abstract

Given the limitations in providing monetary rewards as an incentive in the public sector, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation can be promising if it is applicable to public employees. This study identifies the effects of motivators and hygiene factors on public managers’ job satisfaction, and finds out if there is difference, compared to how private-sector employees are motivated. According to the findings, a majority of identified motivators in the previous research showed positive effects on job satisfaction among public managers, and public managers’ job satisfaction was not affected by hygiene factor as predicted in Herzberg’s study. Managerial implications are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    National Administrative Studies Projects (NASP) data was first collected in 1992 and NASP III is a final attempt at a NASP database.

  2. 2.

    Since the mean value is 2.5 when the score range is between 1 and 4, any value that is larger than 2.5 indicates that more than majority of respondents checked very important (4) or somewhat important (3) in their answers.

  3. 3.

    According to this result, more than majority of public managers would strongly agree or somewhat agree that they had enough authority to determine how to get their jobs done.

  4. 4.

    The term, dimension is used in this study instead of factor that is the original term, to avoid confusion with hygiene and motivating factors.

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Correspondence to Yongbeom Hur.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Table 3 Correlation matrix

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Hur, Y. Testing Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation in the Public Sector: Is it Applicable to Public Managers?. Public Organiz Rev 18, 329–343 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-017-0379-1

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Keywords

  • Satisfaction
  • Motivation
  • Hygiene
  • Herzberg’s two factor theory of motivation
  • Public managers