2. What are the similarities and differences between the theories of Maslow and Herzberg?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Each of these two theories sought to explain what motivates people. Maslow did so in the context of developmental psychology. He posited a five-stage hierarchy of needs that began with basic needs (characterized as "physical") and progressed through stages including security needs, social needs, ego (the need for power, influence, and recognition) until arriving at what he called "self-actualization." This is finding meaning and importance in one's own existence, life, and work. Maslow thought that each one of these stages had to be fulfilled, satisfied, or completed in order to move on to the next one.

Frederick Herzberg, whose study was published a few years after Maslow's in the 1950s, imagined a two-factor model of motivational needs. Herzberg, whose study was based on research in actual workplaces (a key difference between his work and Maslow's), thought that that people were essentially motivated by two types of factors, or needs. The first was what he called "hygiene" needs, which included the basics like pay, work conditions, and job stability. If these needs were not being met, a person would be unhappy at their job. In order to be happy at one's job, a series of "motivator" needs also had to be fulfilled. These included finding value in one's work, feeling respected, and other similar needs.

In short, both psychologists thought that certain needs had to be met in order for people to fulfill their potential and to develop. Both emphasized versions of "self-actualization" as being more important than basic needs. But Herzberg, whose work was more grounded in hard research in workplaces, is generally regarded as more relevant to business management strategies.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The similarities are as follow:

Both theories confer that a specific set of needs must be met in order to propiciate behavior, and maintain it. In Manslow's theory, it is through a Hierarchy of Needs.  In Herzberg's theory it is through a 2 way paradigm in which two specific needs must be met and they are hygiene (basic physical and psychological needs) and motivation.

The main difference is that Manslow is more specific in terms of categorizing the areas of human need and includes less concrete areas such as emotions and other feelings. Herzberg is more specific in what psysiological and concrete things must be present to produce motivation. Also, Herzberg's ultimate goal is for motivation to be the prevailing attitude among individuals (quite clearly a need for a good quality of life), while Manslow's main goal is for needs to be met in order for an individual to develop in a healthy mental and physical way.

asiame92 | Student

what are the main factor relate to motivation?

ummamira | Student


  • Both use a hierarchical scale..where one stage must first be fully or largely completed before advancing to the next stage.
  • Both are based on the argument that "we behave as we do because we are attempting to fulfill internal needs." (Bartol et al., 2005) i.e. needs theory
  • They both specify the criteria as to what motivates people. However, this is controversial because entrepenuers and people from different cultures have different values and norms, and therefore have different criteria or have criteria which are percieved as more important e.g. Greek and Japanese employees stated that safety and physiological needs are more important to them, where as employees from Norway and Sweden saw belongingness needs as being more important.
  • Herzberg's hygiene idea corresponds with Manslow's Physiological, Safety and Belongingness needs i.e. they both have the same critieria (basic pay, work conditions etc...)
  • Also, Herzberg's motivators idea corresponds with Manslow's Esteem and Self-Actualisation needs i.e. they both have the same criteria (recognition, growth, achievement etc...).
  • Both theories are influenced by environmental conditions, employee attitudes and as a result, their motivation. These influence an employees performance.


  • Maslow says that each stage of the 5 must be fully or largely completed before advancing to the next stage..however, Herzberg suggested that there were only 2 stages (hygiene and motivators) instead of 5.
  • Maslow said that fulfilling each stage is a motivator, however Herzberg said that fulfilling the hygiene stage only results in an employee being in neutral state and that satisfaction and motivation only comes from the 2nd stage (motivator).