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Personality, motivation and job satisfaction: Hertzberg meets the Big Five

Adrian Furnham (University College London, London, UK)
Andreas Eracleous (University College London, London, UK)
Tomas Chamorro‐Premuzic (Goldsmiths University of London, London, UK)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 6 November 2009



The current study aims to investigate the extent to which personality and demographic variables contribute to motivation and job satisfaction as defined by the two‐factor theory.


A total of 202 fulltime workers completed three questionnaires measuring their personality, work motivation and satisfaction.


Results demonstrate that between 9 and 15 per cent of the variance in motivation is accounted for by demographic variables and the Big Five personality traits. In line with previous findings (Judge et al.), conscientiousness and job status were both significant predictors of job satisfaction, and between 11 and 13 per cent of the variance was accounted for by personality and other demographic variables.

Research limitations/implications

This study was restricted to self‐report measure. It never took into consideration other potential confounds like a person's job history, level and responsibilities. It also showed personality factors accounted for very little evidence of the variance.

Practical implications

Implications are discussed in terms of attempts to improve employee attitudes without considering the effects of individual differences. An acknowledgement that individual differences can affect the success of an intervention, may contribute to the design of effective work reorganisation schemes that are better suited to the employees they seek to benefit.


The value of this paper was that it looked at how personality and demographic factors may influence a person's work satisfaction.



Furnham, A., Eracleous, A. and Chamorro‐Premuzic, T. (2009), "Personality, motivation and job satisfaction: Hertzberg meets the Big Five", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 765-779.



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