Discuss the difference between the theories of Herzberg and Maslow. Elaborate with reasons for which of these theories you prefer in the Pakistani context.


CSS Solved Business Administration Past Papers | Discuss the difference between the theories of Herzberg and Maslow. Elaborate with reasons for which of these theories you prefer in the Pakistani context.

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Topic Breakdown:
Management theories lie at the heart of business management. They elaborate on the evolution of management in past decades. Classical theorists are incomplete without Maslow and Herzberg.
Subject: Management
Chapter: Motivation


Motivating employees is one key pillar of retaining employees and ensuring that they work to their capacity. Different theorists have given different theories based on their analysis and research work; while some theorists focus on monetary benefits others focus on human relations and the working environment. Maslow and Herzberg are two theorists that relate to the human relations group of thought. Despite being similar in different aspects, the two have considerable differences.

Maslow and Herzberg theories and their differences   

  1. Maslow Hierarchy of needs model:

Abraham Maslow suggested that people are motivated by multiple needs and that these needs are in a certain hierarchical model.  Maslow categorized different needs into five groups as lower and higher-level needs.

  • Types of Needs:
    • Physiological needs:
      The most basic of human needs are physical needs such as food, shelter and water. In an organizational setting, basic requirements are office ambience, facilities and salary.
    • Security needs:
      A need for a secure physical and emotional environment is next in the hierarchy of needs. Job security and the safer nature of the job are two basic requirements for employees.
    • Social needs:
      Employees’ need for affection; belongingness, and acceptance are the last of lower-order needs in Maslow’s hierarchy model.
    • Esteem needs:
      These relate to a person’s need for self-respect and recognition. In an organizational environment, factors such as status, recognition, and sense of responsibility can work to full fill these needs.
    • Self-Actualization needs:
      This is known as the drive to become what one is capable of becoming. It involves the need for growth, creativity and advancement.
  • Analysis of Maslow’s model
    • All needs are interdependent.
    • Each higher level need emerges before the lower level need is satisfied; hence, they are overlapping.
    • Need does not disappear, in fact its gravity or desire is reduced with the emergence of new needs.
  1. Herzberg’s two factor theory:

Fredrick Herzberg proposed another popular motivation theory in the late 1950’s. After studying many cases Herzberg suggested that employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction depends on two main factors: hygiene factors and the motivation factors.

  • Hygiene Factors:

The extrinsic factors that create job dissatisfaction are known as hygiene or maintenance factors. When these factors are adequate they won’t dissatisfy people, but on the other hand, they no contribution to satisfying the employees. Hygiene factors include working conditions, pay, company policies and interpersonal relationship.

  • Motivational factors:

The second group of factors is intrinsic in nature that results in job satisfaction. They focus on higher-level needs such as recognition, achievement, growth opportunities and responsibility. Although absence of these factors does not lead to dissatisfaction but they play a crucial role in satisfying employees.

  • Analysis of Herzberg’s two-factor theory:
    • Hygiene factors do not contribute in satisfaction in fact their reduction below a certain level will lead to dissatisfaction.
    • This model is not unanimously applicable as the level of personal needs and strength varies across individuals.
    • Job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are two opposite ends of a single continuum that moves through a few phases.

Difference between Maslow’s and Herzberg’s theory:

  1. Maslow has achieved universality in his strides, while Herzberg could not.
  2. Maslow propagated that each could be a motivator, irrespective of being a lower or higher-order need. Meanwhile, Herzberg contested that hygiene factors do not contribute as motivators.
  3. For employees in the later part of their career, pay, job security and perks matter more; however, Herzberg’s theory does not recognize it at any stage.
  4. Herzberg, in his theory, illustrated a continuum of satisfaction, while Maslow only proposes two options; satisfied and dissatisfied.

Which theory is more relevant in the Pakistani context?

 Interestingly, Pakistani society is strikingly different from the Western world. All the various macro-environmental factors, especially economic conditions and socio-cultural elements, have played a significant. In Pakistani society, Maslow’s model is a lot more relevant than Herzberg’s model due to following reasons:

  • Economic factors:
    Considering Pakistan’s economic conditions pay and economic benefits play a huge role in motivating employees. Therefore Maslow is more relevant as it pays considerable importance to this factor, while Herzberg does not.
  • Job Security:
    With a huge population growth rate and poor economic conditions job security is a vital motivator for most of the employees. Herzberg does not consider hygiene factors to be motivators; on the other hand, Maslow gives considerable importance to this factor.
  • All needs are overlapping:
    Although respect, affection and relationship are pillars of Pakistani society, the need for perks, allowances, and pay always is a considerable factor. Thus needs overlap as propagated by Maslow.


Motivation is a crucial factor in employee performance and retention. Different theorists have proposed distinct theories on employee motivation; however, the two most famous theories were given by Maslow and Herzberg. Despite quite a few similarities, there are a number of differences between the two theories. While Maslow gives equal importance to all the need categories, Herzberg considers the motivator group to be of more importance. After analyzing Pakistani society, it can be safely concluded that Maslow’s theory is more relevant in the Pakistani context as compared to the Herzberg’s theory.

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