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Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory and Motivating the 62nd Army

Pictured: Commander of the 62nd Army, Lieutenant-General V. I. Chuikov and Kommisar Major-General K. A. Gurov in Stalingrad.

As an adjunct professor of the managerial sciences, it is a rewarding experience to serve students and help them make the connection between theory and practice. One helpful concept in developing effective workplace cultures is Frederick Herzberg’s theory focusing on team member motivation. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory describes two basic elements that motivate employees in organizations—motivators and hygiene factors, both of which play a critical role. Intrinsic motivators such as achieving, recognizing, and progressing promote job satisfaction. Having motivation factors in place contributes to employee satisfaction and increases productivity. Factors related to hygiene are not directly related to workplace satisfaction, but they must exist to prevent dissatisfaction in the workplace. Hygiene factors encompass extrinsic concerns like pay grade, workplace policies, relationships with peers, and procurement of supplies for the team.

Examining the life and work of Marshal Chuikov, discovering the parallels with his practice and western theoretical models, and finding such a close alignment is gratifying. It demonstrates the wider application of such theories. Also, it serves as a reminder that effective leadership transcends time, social and cultural context, organizational type and form, and geographical borders.

Regarding Herzberg’s theory and Marshal Chuikov’s leadership practices which engendered team member satisfaction, his command of the 62nd Army is an excellent example of the ways in which Vasily Ivanovich strove to connect with his soldiers. He asked for their insights and listened to them, considered and implemented their input, recognized their individual contributions and celebrated them, and motivated his soldiers by fighting right alongside them—which aligns with the first part of Herzberg’s theory. David Stone’s article published in The Journal of Slavic Military Studies includes Chuikov’s philosophy which guided his actions on his soldiers’ behalf:

“In discussing his men, [Chuikov] recalled that ‘…in the forefront of my reflections was the individual soldier. He is the main hero of war. More than anyone else it is he who has to meet the enemy face to face... I underline this point that he studies the enemy, because the soldier has a mind, a heart, an ability to think and not merely to understand the orders of his commander; he can weigh up the situation and the enemy’s intentions. In street fighting, a soldier is on occasion his own general. He needed to be given correct guidance and, so to speak, the trust of the generals.’

The small storm groups were no different, for the tactics of the storm group are based on rapid action, a sudden charge, a wide sense of initiative, and boldness on the part of every soldier. These groups need to be flexible in tactics, because, after entering a fortified building and the labyrinth of rooms occupied by the enemy, they are faced with a welter of unexpected situations.”

Regarding the second part of the theory focusing on hygiene factors, Chuikov set an example of officers sharing rations with their troops and encouraged an environment fostering a strong comradery between the soldiers and their officers. And, his warriors knew that their Commander consistently tried to keep them supplied although it was very challenging to do so. They understood the severity of the situation and did their part in helping to make sure there were enough resources. David Stone shared more about this factor in Stalingrad:

“[The] insatiable demand for ammunition illustrates very well the need for better supply to make improvement in Soviet performance possible. The demand for ammunition forced the Soviets to superhuman efforts to force supplies across the Volga to beleaguered Soviet defenders on the west bank.

As Chuikov wrote, ‘We needed a lot of ammunition, the more the better in fact, because knowing the enemy’s intention to wipe out the troops defending the city as rapidly as possible, we could not, and had no right to, tell the men to use ammunition sparingly in battle. Our soldiers made sure they always had a proper store of grenades, mortar bombs, bullets, and shells. They always said quite openly that they were prepared to tolerate hunger and cold, as long as they were not left without ammunition.’ The particular features of fighting in the city made it essential for infantry units to have ample automatic weapons, grenades, and bottles of incendiary liquid.”


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