Motivation Theory of Maslow and Herzberg: Similarities & Differences

Maslow Vs. Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation

Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg, both have given important theories of work motivation. Where Maslow’s theory explains human needs form a hierarchy and unsatisfied need is the main activator of human actions or behavior.

Whereas, Herzberg’s theory explains two factors in the workplace that influence employees’ motivation and satisfaction, namely hygiene factors and motivating factors.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation is the improved version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Let’s understand the similarities and differences between these two motivation theories.

Similarities Between Motivation of Theory of Maslow and Herzberg

  • Both theories have given the emphasis on employee or work motivation.
  • They both emphasize the need is the main factor in employee motivation.
  • Both theories help to understand the motivational psychology i.e. factors of employees and emphasize acting accordingly.
  • Maslow’s physiological, safety, and social needs are similar to Herzberg’s hygiene factors. And, esteem and self-actualization needs are similar to motivating factors.
  • Both Herzberg and Maslow are behavioral scientists who have given more importance to human relations and behavioral approaches to the workplace.

Dissimilarities Between the Motivation Theory of Maslow and Herzberg

The following are the main points that differentiate between Maslow’s need hierarchy theory and Herzberg’s two-factor theory.

Order of Needs

In Maslow’s theory, there is a sequential arrangement of needs. Whereas, in Herzberg’s, there is no such arrangement of needs.


The essence of Maslow’s theory is that unsatisfied needs energize the behavior of an individual to perform. In contrast, in Herzberg’s theory gratified or satisfied needs cause individuals to perform.


According to Maslow, any need that is relatively unsatisfied can be the motivator of human behavior. Whereas, according to Herzberg, only higher-order needs serve as a motivator.


Need hierarchy theory takes a general view of the motivational problems of all workers. And, two-factor theory takes a micro view and deals with work-oriented motivational problems.

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