Status and ranking of factors affecting job motivation from the viewpoint of librarians of special libraries of Ahvaz city, Iran

Artículo original


Status and ranking of factors affecting job motivation from the viewpoint of librarians of special libraries of Ahvaz city, Iran

Clasificación de los factores que afectan la motivación laboral desde la perspectiva de los bibliotecarios de las bibliotecas especializadas de Ahvaz, Irán


Shahnaz Khademizadeh1*

1Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.


*Autor para la correspondencia:




The aim of this study was to investigate the status and ranking of job motivational factors using Herzberg Two-factor Theory. This is a descriptive-analytical survey, and researcher-made questionnaire was used for data collection with reliability of 0.92 based on Cronbach Alpha. The statistical population included librarians of 7 special libraries of Ahvaz city, Iran, out of which 53 responded to the questionnaire. Data analysis was done using SPSS and descriptive and statistical statistics. The results indicate that according to librarians' viewpoint, from hygiene or extrinsic factors of job motivation, three components of qualified supervisor, proper management of affairs and desirable working condition, and from intrinsic or subjective factors, three components of success, assignment of responsibilities, and sense of achievement are in the first to third ranks, respectively. On the other hand, appreciation and salary components are in the lowest ranks among other factors. Therefore, it can be concluded that the status of hygiene (extrinsic) factors and motivational (intrinsic) factors is satisfactory in the studied population. However, it is required to plan for improving the current condition and compensating weaknesses.

Key words: Special libraries; Ahvaz city; job motivation; Herzberg theory.


El objetivo principal del presente estudio fue estudiar el estado y la clasificación de los factores de motivación laboral basados en la teoría de los dos factores de Herzberg. El estudio consistió en una encuesta descriptiva-analítica, la cual se utilizó para recopilar datos. Este cuestionario fue realizado por investigadores y su confiabilidad se calculó 0,92 utilizando el coeficiente alfa de Cronbach. La población estadística incluyó bibliotecarios de bibliotecas especializadas de Ahvaz, 53 de los cuales respondieron el cuestionario. Los datos fueron analizados por el software SPSS utilizando estadísticas descriptivas y estadísticas inferenciales. Los resultados mostraron que desde la perspectiva de los bibliotecarios de las bibliotecas especializadas de salud (externos) o de la motivación laboral, tres componentes del supervisor competente, la gestión adecuada de los asuntos y las condiciones de trabajo óptimas, y entre los factores de trabajo internos (subjetivos), la motivación, tres componentes del éxito, la asignación de responsabilidad y el progreso están en buenas condiciones. También, en función de los resultados de la investigación, en términos de clasificación del estado de los factores motivacionales, los componentes de las condiciones de trabajo óptimas, la gestión adecuada de los asuntos y el supervisor competente se clasifican de primero a tercero, respectivamente. Por otro lado, los componentes de apreciación y salario tienen el rango más bajo entre otros factores. En general, según los hallazgos del estudio, se puede concluir que el estado de salud (externo) y los factores de motivación laboral (interno) en la población estudiada fueron prometedores. Sin embargo, se necesita una planificación principal para mejorar la situación actual y eliminar las debilidades existentes.

Palabras clave: Biblioteca especializada; Ahvaz; motivación laboral; teoría de Herzberg.



Recibido: 22/05/2019
Aceptado: 25/08/2019




Human resources are considered as the main success factor of organizations in modern managerial discussions, and highly significant in comparison with other intra-organizational resources (material, financial, and information resources), which makes is necessary to take them into account and study their behavior in the workplace. To this end, the organizations invest in human resources. The effectiveness of human resources depends on their activities and desired behavior in the achievement of organizational objectives. Human being is required to be motivated to show desired organizational behavior.(1)

Motivation could be seen as a complex concept because of the diversified determinants such as the individual job expectations and self-esteem, while at the organizational level, motivation could relate to meeting the needs of job security, salary, and other benefits.(2) The willingness or motivation to perform job is the key factor in individuals' making efforts and doing activities. Motivation is an important factor in inspiring the employees to produce an effective and efficient result, create positive working environment, and successfully implement the predicted plans.(3) The investigation of the success factors of some organizations and the origin of the solvency of some companies shows that developing required motivation in human being has significant effect on success and stability or solvency of these units.(4) Experts believe that motivated employees are more willing to attend the organization, to be rarely absent, and ultimately, actively participate in organizational decisions and operations. Therefore, highly motivated employees can be expected to make more effort to satisfy the customers' expectations and needs.(5) A manager could efficiently function when he understands what motivates his staffs and employees. One of the main missions of management is in fact, realization of the employees' needs and increasing their satisfaction to the success of the organization.(6)

Special libraries are the main instrument for actual the development of the organization and consequently progress of country, while, Iranian organizations have not so far seriously taken into account this issue. (7) In attention to information orientation (IO), relying on information in decision making and disbelief in the role of special libraries in organizational development lead to ignorance of the role of these important centers. The librarians of special libraries have perceived their inefficiency in increasing beneficence and productivity or decreasing the organizational success.(8)

In the meantime, the study of job motivation among librarians, particularly the librarians of special libraries, with key role in development of objectives of the main organization seems to be necessary since unmotivated employees would ruin the best plans, most effective structures, and most valuable resources. Therefore, concerning the obvious role of motivations in directing the individuals' behavior and performance and as far as motivational factors could be diversified in different conditions, organizations and communities, the process of developing and directing motivations becomes significant. In addition to being the intermediary between information resources and clients, the librarians of special libraries should work in line with the objectives of the main organization and serve its interests. In order to plan for motivating the librarians of special libraries, first the current status of job motivational factors should be examined from librarians' point of view to specify the weaknesses and strengths. Hence, it seems necessary to perform practical studies in this area. However, the review of related literature showed that so far, no study has dealt with the status and ranking of job motivational factors from the viewpoint of librarians working in special libraries. Most special libraries of Khuzestan province are located in Ahvaz city as it is the center of the province. Therefore, the investigation and recognition of factors affecting job motivation of librarians working in special libraries of Ahvaz city could provide managers with valuable and beneficial tools which enable them to direct the staffs' actions toward achievement of individual and organizational objectives. To this end, this study intends to investigate the status and ranking of job motivational factors using Herzberg Two-factor Theory.

Research questions

1. How is the status of hygiene job motivational (extrinsic) factors according to librarians of special libraries of Ahvaz compared to average level?

2. How is the status of motivators (intrinsic factors) according to librarians of special libraries of Ahvaz compared to average level?

3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of special libraries of Ahvaz city in terms of hygiene (extrinsic) factors and motivators (intrinsic factors)?

Research background

There are many theories on job motivation where the motivational techniques used by the managers to improve the performance of staffs have been theoretically and experimentally studied and discussed including Maslow's hierarchy of needs,(9) Herzberg theory,(10) McClelland's need theory,(11) Alderfer's ERG theory(12) and process theories, which takes into account its process including Adams' theory and Victor and Rome theory.(13) The most common and frequently cited theory in studying job satisfaction is Herzberg theory. In two-factory theory of Herzberg, some factors are called as motivation driving factors (intrinsic factors) and some as hygiene factors (extrinsic factors). Hygiene factors are those whose presence is necessary in job and their absence would disrupt it. These factors do not generally motivate individuals. In other words, they do not create motivation but, their absence causes dissatisfaction. Salary and physical working conditions are among hygiene factors. Motivating factors (intrinsic or subjective) are those factors that cause encouragement and motivation. Sense of achievement, success, identification, and appreciation for good performance are among intrinsic factors. Based on this theory, manager could succeed in motivating employees when fully takes them into these factors.(13) Therefore, the factors considered in this study include 1) Motivating factors (intrinsic or subjective factors) such as success, appreciation, identity, and sense of achievement, 2) Hygiene factors (extrinsic factors) such as qualified supervisor, desired working condition, assignment of responsibility, and salary. Thus, concerning various theories and definitions, in order to investigate motivation, those theories should be used that can be studied, analyzed, and used. In this study, Herzberg theory is used because of proper classification of occupational and individual factors.

Individuals have different motivations with different prioritization.(14) Job motivation of individuals who enter organization might not be the same. Salary and benefits, happy working environment, job security, interest in career and good social relations at workplace, job identity, appreciation, and job attractiveness are among the factors affecting job motivation.(15,16,17) Job motivation is not separated from developmental, social, and physiologic needs that shall be satisfied. It is the driving force making individuals perform theirs tasks. Every organization needs motivated staff to succeed in fulfilling its objectives. If the individual does not benefit from good job motivation, the organization fails in fulfilling its objectives, which reduces the productivity.(18) According to Dieleman et al.,(19) the staff retention can be achieved through salaries, rewards, and good working conditions such as free flow of communication and relationship with colleagues.

Kaya(20) studied the factors affecting job motivation among librarians of developing countries. The results showed that the studied librarians are dissatisfied with the work condition, professional reputation, job value, job security, salary and allowances, promotion, social status, and assignment of responsibilities. In another study, Awuku studied the profitability of academic libraries in developing countries. The results indicated that it is possible to increase productivity in libraries by improving and redressing staffs and providing clear vision of the objectives of libraries to them.(21)

Siepre(22) studied the satisfaction of librarians in three English language universities of Quebec State of Canada, and concluded that the librarians were satisfied with supervisor, job nature, and achievements; however, they were dissatisfied with the status of communications, executive orders, salaries, and benefits. Jain,(23) in his study on the strategic management of human resources in organizational context, found that some cases such as changing the employees' expectation of job, changing leadership, job satisfaction, providing feedback to employees, and assignment of responsibility could motivate employees. Togia et al.(24) studied six effective factors on job satisfaction (work conditions, salary, promotion, job nature, supervisor, and organization). The study was carried out using staff satisfaction list distributed among academic librarians of Greek. The findings of this study showed that according to librarians, the components of job nature, supervision and work conditions are in relatively good situation, and the components of salary and achievement are an undesired situation.

In a study, looking at the job satisfaction variable as enabler of job performance, Egan, Yang, and Bartlett(25) posited that job satisfaction negatively influenced organizational job performance. As part of the investigation conducted by Ekere and Ugwu(26) on the influence of demographic variables on librarians' job satisfaction in university libraries in Nigeria, the study used descriptive statistics, and found librarians exhibited average level of job satisfaction. Oyewole and Popoola(27) investigated the effects of independent variables of psycho-social factors on job performance of library personnel in Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria. A correlational type of survey research design was used while the entire population of 195 library personnel in all the Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria was adopted for the study. Questionnaire was used to collect data, and job performance questionnaire was completed by the College Librarians. Descriptive statistics was used to answer the research questions. According to the descriptive analysis, the results showed that the mean score for job performance of library personnel was X = 55.68, SD = 5.25, suggesting moderate level of job performance.

There are also some local studies dealing with investigation of the motivation of libraries' staff including Hariri and Ashrafizadeh(28) who concluded that satisfaction of librarians of Iranian public libraries with the material and welfare facilities was below average level, job stability was above average level, and management behavior was below average level. In general, the job satisfaction of librarians is below average level. The results of another study on motivational and hygiene factors of librarians of academic libraries based on Herzberg two-factor theory showed that intrinsic motivational factors (driving factors) lead to satisfaction, and hygiene factors lead to the dissatisfaction of librarians.(29) Farhadizadeh(30) evaluated the job satisfaction of librarians of libraries affiliated to Culture and Art Organization of Tehran Municipality. The results indicated that there is significant difference between increased job satisfaction of the librarians and dimensions of job motivation and the components of appreciation and encouragement, directorship and leadership and enablement have the highest effect. Moreover, Dastjerdi and Abbasi(31) indicated significant relationship between organizational self-esteem and job motivation among librarians of the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. The research findings showed that from librarians' point of view, some factors such as the role of the authorities of university and libraries, the nature of job, consideration of human relations, respect, honesty and participation of librarians, evaluation of performance, appreciation and reward and work division based on psychological and personality features of librarians, and creating proper mental space in organization are the most important factors affecting organizational self-esteem and job motivation. Shabani et al.(32) investigated job motivation of librarians in state universities of Isfahan city based on McClelland 's Theory of Needs. The results showed that the staffs' motivation based on achievement, power seeking, affiliation, and relation with others was in relatively good status. In another study investigating the factors affecting employee motivation in Regional Power Company of Isfahan city based on Herzberg theory, in employees' point of view, motivational factors such as participation, success, knowledge and appreciation, demanding task, and responsibility were the factors affecting them and above average level.(33)

The literature review indicates that all studies that have so far dealt with job motivation of librarians have focused on public and academic libraries and no study has dealt with special libraries. Therefore, the present study is the first one investigating the status of factors affecting job motivation of librarians of special libraries in Iran.




The present study is descriptive-analytical survey. The statistical population included librarians of 7 special libraries of Ahvaz that are in sum 64 librarians (including Central Library of National Iranian South Oil Company, Technical Library of National Iranian South Oil Company, Library of Water and Power Organization of Khuzestan Province, Library of Khuzestan Steel Company, Research Center of Agricultural Training, General Directorate of Agriculture and Watershed and Library of Department of Environment). Because of limited population (64 librarians in sum), the whole population was selected and the sampling was done through census. The required data were achieved through questionnaire distributed among the librarians of these libraries by the researcher. Because of lack of checklist on the number of librarians working in special libraries of Ahvaz city, there was no precise statistics on the total number of librarians working in these librarians. Before distributing the questionnaire among librarians of each library, the number of librarians working in library had to be precisely determined. Those librarians without academic education on librarianship were excluded to complete questionnaire. In sum, 53 librarians responded to questionnaire.

Data collection instrument was an author-made questionnaire developed using related books and papers. The questionnaire was constructed in two parts. The first part included demographic information such as gender, age, educational level, etc., and the second part included two main factors (hygiene and intrinsic motivating factors). 24 items were developed in five-point Likert scale (Completely agree, Agree, No idea, Disagree, Completely disagree) through which the factors affecting motivation are evaluated in librarians' point of view. In order to calculate the reliability of questionnaire, first, it was distributed among some experienced librarians of special libraries of Ahvaz city in two rounds. The collected responses of two rounds were identical. The reliability of questionnaire was measured using Cronbach Alpha, and it was obtained as 0.92, which indicates intrinsic coordination between items of questionnaire, and accordingly the reliability of questionnaire. Data analysis was done using SPSS and descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation) and inferential statistics (single group t-test and Friedman test).


Demographic characteristics

83% (n=44) of respondents were female and 17% (n=9) were male; 3.8% (n=2) were under 25 years old, 20.8% (n=11) were 25-30 years old, 45.3% (n=24) were 31-35 years old, 24.5% (n=13) were 40-36 years old, and 5.7% (n=3) were over 40 years old. In terms of education, 7.5% (n=4) had associate degree, 58.49% (n=31) had bachelor degree, 34% (n=18) had a master degree. In terms of field of study, 34% (n=18) studied in librarianship field, 66% (n=35) studied other fields than librarianship. In terms of working experience, 13.20% (n=7) had below 5 years of working experience, 15.09% (n=8) had 5-10 years, 43.4% (n=23) had 11-15 years, and 11.3% (n=6) had 16-20 years, and 5.7% (n=3) had over 20 years of working experience.


Status of hygiene job motivational factors

In order to investigate the status of hygiene factors, single-group t-test was used. In this method of analysis, the researcher tests the mean of the target population with any standard (international, national, regional, and continental) or even with his own claim.(34) In the present study, as the used questionnaire has a five-point scale (completely agree= 5, agree= 4, no idea= 3, disagree= 2 and completely disagree= 1), the score 3 was considered as the average level for each item, and multiplied 3 by the number of questions of each component and considered the result as the average mean of society (table 1) presents the results of single-group t-test analysis on data related to the first research question.



Considering the significance level that for all 4 components of hygiene job motivation is less than 0.05, it can be said that in all four components, the mean of the population has a significant difference with the average mean. However, table 1 shows that among hygiene job motivation factors, the mean of salary (7.94) is less than its average mean, while the mean of population in other components is higher than their average mean. In overall, the total mean of hygiene factors (50.8) is significantly (5.8) higher than the average mean.


Status motivators (intrinsic factors)

Single-group t-test was used to study the status of hygiene factors, the results of which are shown in table 2.



Considering the significance level that for all 4 components of intrinsic factors of job motivation is less than 0.05, it can be stated that in all four components, the mean of the population has a significant difference with the average mean. However, among intrinsic job motivation factors, the mean of appreciation (4.97) is less than its average mean, while the mean of the population in other components is higher than their average mean. Overall, the total mean of intrinsic factors (30.60) is significantly (3.60) higher than the average mean.(27)


Ranking of effective factors on job motivation factors (hygiene factors and motivators)

Friedman test was used to rank the factors affecting job motivation, the results of which are shown in tables 3 and 4.




As the significance level (0.000) is less than 0.05, it can be stated that there is a significant difference between the mean of hygiene factors and motivators. The results of ranking hygiene factors and motivators are presented in table 4. The components of desired conditions of work, proper management of affairs, and qualified supervisor are in first to third ranks.



The findings of the present study showed that from the viewpoints of librarians of Ahvaz special libraries, the averages of qualified supervisor (11.83), proper management of affairs (14.83) and desired work conditions (20.20) from extrinsic job motivation factors were significantly higher than average mean (P<0.05). Therefore, it can be said that special libraries of Ahvaz are in relatively good status in terms of these components and in the viewpoints of their librarians, which indicates consideration of the key role of special libraries in the main organization by the organizational managers. The reason is that extrinsic factors are mostly related to the conditions that the organizational managers provide without any interference by the librarians. Moreover, it indicates that managers of the studied organizations have realized the significance of creating an intimate, safe, systematic, and regular environment to increase the job motivation of librarians. The present study suggests that librarians of special organizations of Ahvaz city are satisfied with the hygiene (extrinsic) factors of job satisfaction which is consistent with findings of Togia et al.(24) and Mohamadi Najafabadi.(33) However, findings of current research are inconsistent with findings of Zarei(29) and Hariri and Ashrafizadeh.(28) According to these authors, job satisfaction of librarians is lower than average level, and librarians are dissatisfied with most variables related to job satisfaction.

However, on the other hand, the research findings showed that according to studied librarians, the mean of salary (4.94) was significantly (P< 0.05) less than average mean,(6) while the main aim of individuals of working is to earn money. Therefore, salary can be considered as a strong motivator, and if the payment of the salary is not fairly based on job type, it will result in dissatisfaction. This research finding was consistent with findings of Kaya,(20)Siepre(22) and Togia et al.(24) Kaya(20) study indicated that librarians are dissatisfied with working conditions, profession reputation, work value, job security, wages and rewards, career promotion, social status, and liability.

The findings related to second research question showed that from the viewpoint of the librarians of the special libraries of Ahvaz, among the intrinsic (subjective) factors of job motivation, success,(8) assignment of responsibility (10.13) and sense of achievement (6.52) was higher than average. Therefore, it can be said that special libraries of Ahvaz are in relatively good status in terms of these components, which could be due to the relatively good status of hygiene motivational factors in these libraries. It can be due to relatively suitable situation of health factors of job motivation in these libraries since suitability of hygiene (extrinsic) factors of job motivation influences mentality of people (intrinsic factors) on their job. According to Herzberg,(10) the better is situation of hygiene factors, it has more positive impact on the mentality and self-confidence of an individual.

It also indicates that when individuals seek more for learning new things and opportunities for their growth and progress in the organization, with appropriate relegation of responsibilities to them, the opportunities are provided so that they can emerge their personal talents, learn new things, and feel growth. These measures are important in enhancing employee motivation and satisfaction with their working conditions. Therefore, identifying the factors that influence employees' motivation and empowering them can pave the way for more and more dynamics and success of the organization.

This finding is consistent with findings of Awuku,(21) Zarei,(29) and Shabani et al.(32) According to the findings of the current study, in the view of the respondents, the level of achievement motivation in the special libraries of Ahvaz is higher than the average level, which is consistent with findings of Awuku. He concluded that by refining and improving library staff and clear understanding of the library goals, productivity in libraries could be increased. In addition, the results of the study by Shabani et al.(32) showed that employees' motivation based on the components of achievement, power, and attachment and communication with others was in a relatively good condition.

However, on the other hand, the findings showed that from intrinsic motivational factors, the mean of appreciation (4.97) was significantly (significance level less than 0.05) less than average mean.(6) One reason can be the hierarchical structure of studied organizations since it makes the individual feels that his efforts are ignored and not desirably appreciated. This issue should be more seriously considered in librarianship because it requires higher motivation of librarians for providing information services, and if the librarian feels that he is not appreciated as deserved, he will gradually lose his interest and motivation for offering more desired services. This is in line with the results ofKaya,(20) Siepre(22) and Togia et al.(24) and it was inconsistent with the results of Dastjerdi and Abbasi(31) and Farhadizadeh.(30)

The findings related to the third question showed that according to librarians of special libraries of Ahvaz city, in terms of ranking motivational factors, the components of desired work condition, proper management of affairs, qualified supervisor are in the first to third ranks, respectively; however, on the other hand, appreciation and salary have the lowest ranks among other factors. This finding is in line with the results of Kaya,(20) Sipre(22) andTogia et al.(24) However, according to findings ofZarei,(29) Mohamadi Najafabadi,(33) Shabani et al.,(32) and Dastjerdi and Abbasi(31) the components of appreciation and salary were not in the lowest rank which is inconsistent with the results of present study.

In overall, it can be concluded that the status of extrinsic and intrinsic factors in the studied population is satisfactory; nevertheless, it is required to basically plan for improving the current conditions and resolving the weaknesses.



Considering research findings, it is recommended that top managers' attention to the role of special libraries in organization and librarians could be effective on improvement of their performance in administration of the libraries. In addition, paying attention to librarians in special libraries increases their self-confidence and creates better status for librarians as the basic element in the commercial cycle of organizations, and helps them survive in the competitive environments. Moreover, in order to improve librarians' performance in administration of special libraries, increasing the familiarity of library managers and officials with managerial issues such as motivation can be effective. One of the factors that will affect motivating library staffs is timely action of library managers and delegating authority to managers to timely reward staffs. To this end, it is possible to convert the long hierarchy of special libraries into one or two hierarchies, which increases the authority and scope of actions of the managers. It is also recommended to hold in-service training for managers of special libraries on effective ways of motivating and encouraging librarians. It is necessary to select top librarian based on proper and predetermined criteria on a periodical basis (monthly, quarterly, or annually), and consider material and spiritual reward for appreciation of the top librarian. The library manager should have direct supervision over the performance of librarians and creating healthy competitive space among them. Moreover, it is recommended to reconsider the salaries and allowances of the librarians and payment based on their expertise and performance.




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Conflict of interests

The author declares that interest's conflict doesn't exist.

Copyright (c) 2019 Shahnaz Khademizadeh

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