Herzberg's Theory of Motivation and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Eric digest



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Herzberg's Theory of Motivation and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. ERIC Digest. 

by Gawel, Joseph E. 

Among various behavioral theories long generally believed and embraced by American business are those of Frederick Herzberg and Abraham Maslow. Herzberg, a psychologist, proposed a theory about job factors that motivate employees. Maslow, a behavioral scientist and contemporary of Herzberg's, developed a theory about the rank and satisfaction of various human needs and how people pursue these needs. These theories are widely cited in the business literature. 

In the education profession, however, researchers in the '80s raised questions about the applicability of Maslow's and Herzberg's theories to elementary and secondary school teachers: Do educators, in fact, fit the profiles of the average business employee? That is, do teachers (1) respond to the same motivators that Herzberg associated with employees in profit-making businesses and (2) have the same needs patterns as those uncovered by Maslow in his studies of business employees? 

This digest first provides brief outlines of the Herzberg and Maslow theories. It then summarizes a study by members of the Tennessee Career Ladder Program (TCLP). This study found evidence that the teachers in the program do not match the behavior of people employed in business. Specifically, the findings disagree with Herzberg in relation to the importance of money as a motivator and, with Maslow in regard to the position of esteem in a person's hierarchy of needs. 


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