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whiteliondreams's avatar

How can two-factor theory be best exemplified?

Asked by whiteliondreams (1717points) June 19th, 2012

I am trying to help my partner understand this theory in layman’s terms as I am having issues myself. I understand the basic concept, but it tends to become more complicated as the theory thickens. Can anyone give a detailed, simple example explaining the theory and how it is used on a personal level?

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2 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Here’s an example. Pay can make you feel ok about your work, but it can’t make you happy. So if you aren’t paid enough, you are dissatisfied, and you feel like you are being taken advantage of. You don’t think you are being treated right. However, if you are paid what you think is right, getting a raise doesn’t make you feel any happier or feel more appreciated.

Instead, what you need to feel happier is a sense that your boss and coworkers really appreciate you. You also need to get intrinsic satisfaction from your work. You need to enjoy doing it just because it interests you and makes you feel needed and challenged and that you are doing what you were meant to do.

If both pay and satisfaction are there, you’ll be happy with your work. But if one or both are missing, you feel cheated or worse.

There are many other things involved in work satisfaction, including autonomy in decision making and control over how you do your work, as well a numerous other things. But this is just a gross example.

I have found this also works in other kinds of relationships. For example, in pleasing my boss, there are certain things I have to do to keep his ire away, but they won’t get me any positive points. I must keep administrative crap off of his plate. If I do that, he won’t get mad at me for giving him crap to do. However, if I do that, I don’t get any credit. I just don’t lose credit.

In order to get credit, I must come up with a new idea for work and implement it well. He gives me credit and approval for that. So that’s another two-factor area. One thing avoids dissatisfaction, but can not breed satisfaction. Another thing creates satisfaction, but will not avoid dissatisfaction on its own.

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