Difference Between Maslow and Herzberg Theory of Motivation

Maslow vs Herzberg Theory of Motivation

Difference between Maslow and Herzberg theory of motivation is that, Maslow’s theory is concerned about different levels of needs which affect the motivation levels of the employees; Herzberg’s two factor theory is concerned about the relationship between the employee satisfaction and motivation levels. Both these theories are concerned about the ways of increasing the motivation levels of employees. In this article, we will briefly discuss about these two concepts and compare both to identify the difference between Maslow and Herzberg theory of motivation in detail.

What is Maslow’s Theory of Motivation?

This theory has been introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1954. As per the theory, the needs of an individual can be divided into five major levels; physiological needs, security needs, social/belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Individuals try to fulfill these five levels of needs through a hierarchical order. Therefore, the unsatisfied needs of an individual in a given time become a factor to motivate him/her to behave in a particular manner.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs_Difference Between Maslow and Herzberg Theory of Motivation
In an organization, employees may be at different levels of the need hierarchy and, therefore, before planning the motivational strategies, an organization should identify in which level the current requirements of employees have been positioned. Accordingly, companies can motivate their employees providing opportunities to satisfy their needs. When the salary and other monetary rewards fulfill the physiological needs of an employee, health insurance and retirement plans fulfill the security needs. Friendly working environment and effective communication fulfill social/belongingness needs. Promotions and recognition fulfill the esteem needs and finally, interesting and challenging job opportunities fulfill the self-actualization needs of an employee.

What is Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation?

This theory was introduced by Frederick Herzberg during 1950s based on the concept of employee satisfaction. As per the theory, there is a strong relationship between employee motivation and their level of satisfaction. Satisfied employees of an organization tend to be self-motivated while dissatisfied employees will not motivate to achieve organizational objectives. Accordingly, Herzberg has introduced two types of organizational factors; Hygiene factors and Motivational factors.

 Difference Between Maslow and Herzberg Theory of Motivation

Hygiene factors, also called dissatisfiers, are the factors that cause to dissatisfy or demotivate the employees of an organization. By carefully handling these factors, an organization can avoid the dissatisfaction of its employees, but cannot satisfy or motivate them. Motivational factors are the factors that cause to satisfy or motivate employees of an organi zation. Therefore, companies can avoid its employee dissatisfaction through its non-strict and flexible company policies, high quality of supervision, effective measures for job security and so on. On the other hand, the companies can motivate its employees by providing opportunities in career development, job recognition, responsibility, etc.

What is the difference between Maslow and Herzberg Theory of Motivation?

• Maslow theory talks about the needs that are to be fulfilled in order to motivate a person while Herzberg theory talks about the causes of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Herzberg’s theory explains the factors that lead to motivation and demotivation.

• According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, human needs can be classified into five basic categories as physiological needs, security needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs.

• According to Herzberg’s two factor theory, there are two factors as hygiene factors and motivational factors which affect the employee’s level of satisfaction.



  1. Armstrong, M. (2006). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. London: Kogan Page Publishers.
  2. Lussier, R. N. (2009). Management Fundamentals: Concepts, Applications, Skill Development. Mason: Cengage Learning.
  3. Griffin, R. W. (2013). Fundamentals of Management. Cengage Learning.