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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Herzberg's theory of work motivation as it applies to University Librarians Gifford, Martin Nelson


Statement of the Problem. The object of this study is to test the theory of determinants of job satisfaction as proposed by Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman in The Motivation to Work (1959) by applying Herzberg's (1959) technique to female library employees. The theory states that the factors causing job satisfaction ("satisfiers") are qualitatively different from the factors causing job dissatisfaction ("dissatisfiers"). Satisfiers or motivators are mostly the factors of "achievement", "recognition", "responsibility", "growth", "advancement" and "the work itself". The presence of these factors acts primarily as a satisfier. On the other hand dissatisfiers are mainly made up of such matters as "pay", “supplementalbenefits", "company (library) policy and administration", "behavior of supervision", "working conditions" and other factors which are peripheral to the task itself. The major criticisms of Herzberg's study (Brayfield, I960) (Ewen, 1964) are that the area has not been widely researched and that unwarranted generalizations are made from the findings which only include (1) a few job classifications and (2) practically no study of females (Herzberg et al., 1959; Myers, 1964). A third important criticism may be made which is that no one, at the time this study was made, had generated categories of satisfaction and dissatisfaction using Herzberg's technique, without referring to Herzberg's categories thus testing their validity. This study will deal with these criticisms by testing the applicability of Herzberg's technique to female librarians, library assistants, and clerks and by doing so will: 1. generate categories of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, without reference to Herzberg's categories, and thereby test the validity of Herzberg's categories, 2. test the applicability of the Herzberg technique on female subjects, and 3. test the applicability of Herzberg's technique to the job classifications of librarians, library assistants and library clerks. The Method. Seventy-seven subjects who were employees of the University of British Columbia Library were interviewed individually; 27 Librarians, 19 Library Assistants and 31 Clerks. The Herzberg (1959) patterned interview was used to elicit from the subjects sequences of events which were satisfying and dissatisfying. Categories of first-level and second-level "satisfiers" and "dissatisfiers" were generated and compared with Herzberg's (1959) categories of first-level and second-level "satisfiers" and "dissatisfiers". The frequency of responses in the first and second-level satisfying and dissatisfying categories in this study were compared with the frequency of responses in the first and second-level satisfying and dissatisfying categories in Herzberg's (1959) study. A comparison of the duration of feelings for first-level sequences between Herzberg's (1959) data and the data in this study was made. Conclusions. This study generally validates the first and second-level categories generated by Herzberg (1959). Virtually all Herzberg's (1959) categories were generated from the female library subjects plus some extra second-level categories which Herzberg did not find. The concept of unilateral satisfiers and dissatisfiers was generally supported but the unilateral satisfiers and dissatisfiers were not consistent for all job classifications. There were no consistently unilateral satisfiers for all the job classifications and only two consistently unilateral dissatisfying categories for the female library subjects: "company (library) policy and administration" and "working conditions". Herzberg's (1959) first-level satisfiers of long duration were first-level satisfiers of short duration for the female library subjects. The "work itself" was the only predominantly long duration first-level dissatisfier in Herzberg's (1959) study which was also a long duration first-level dissatisfier for the female library subjects.

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