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

One similarity between the theories of Maslow and Herzberg is that both theories intended to discover what motivates people. One difference between the theories is that Maslow's theory studies developmental psychology, while Herzberg's theory uses the study of real workplaces to discover what two factors motivate people.

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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,...

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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.

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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.

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