Before the mid- to late 1950s, it always made sense to most people who thought about it that the opposite of employee job satisfaction was job dissatisfaction, and that the opposite of job dissatisfaction was job satisfaction. The more a person had one of these on the job, the less he or she had of the other—they were opposite concepts, experiences at two extremes of a common continuum.

Then, in 1957, Frederick Herzberg, a psychiatrist from Pittsburgh, and his colleagues did a thorough review of the literature of job attitudes and came forth with a new hypothesis that they tested later in an empirical study of 200 engineers and accountants, asking them to recall events that made them especially happy or unhappy about their jobs. Herzberg, ...

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