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This page provides a brief overview of three models of motivation: Hertzberg, Maslow and Firo (also known as Human Elements).


Hertzberg's model suggests there are two types of motivator:

  1. Positive motivators
  2. Hygiene factors

Hygiene factors don't motivate, but if there is a problem with them then they demotivate

The types of things that are in each category include:

Positive Motivators

Type of work


Promotion prospects


Hygiene Factors



Working conditions

Supervision style/closeness

Sometimes people mistakenly conflate motivators from each list - eg: viewing salary as their primary means of reward/recognition. This can lead to problems as managers are often restricted in what salary increases they can award.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs


Maslow identified a "hierarchy of needs" - see the triangular diagram, right. You tend to be motivated by the lowest layer where your needs aren't met. Once that layer is addressed, you move up to be motivated by a higher layer.


The Firo model (Fundamental Interpersonal Relationships Orientation) suggests that you have various needs for control, inclusion and openness when you deal with people. This is part of a larger model ("Human Elements") which also looks at fundamental attitudes towards oneself.

Whether your Firo interpersonal needs are met can depend to some extent on the other people you work with, but also the nature of the job. For example, as a police officer you may need to exercise a great deal of control of others, but this might be demotivating if your need is for low control of others.

Return to the article: what career is right for me?.

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