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The Difference Between Job Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction

Posted on Feb 28th 2019


The Difference Between Job Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction

In 1960, American psychologist Frederick Herzberg proposed something called the two-factor theory.

In this theory, Herzberg suggested that the factors contributing to job dissatisfaction are entirely different than those that cause job satisfaction. He proposed that these two sets of factors are independent from each other. Working to decrease dissatisfaction, according to Herzberg, won't have the same result as working to increase satisfaction.

Herzberg based his theory on two different sets of independent needs: lower order needs and higher order needs.

Lower order needs are things like workspace, salary, and overall working conditions. Improving these things may decrease dissatisfaction, but don't equate to improved job satisfaction, and therefore may not actually impact an organization's ability to retain talent.

Higher order needs are more personal and relate to things like responsibility, recognition, and achievement. These needs look different from employee to employee and can still be met without meeting lower order needs.

Today's employees, however, have too many options to justify staying a role or organization that meets only one set of needs. Too many organizations are willing to offer solutions for both.

If you find yourself constantly losing the hiring and retention battle, it may be worth revisiting the needs you're meeting and the ones you're not.