Theory of Human Needs | Existence - Relatedness - Growth Theory | ERG Theory (Alderfer)

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Human needs that influence worker's behavior. Explanation of ERG Theory of Alderfer. ('69)

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The ERG Theory of Clayton P. Alderfer is a model that appeared in 1969 in a Psychological Review article entitled "An Empirical Test of a New Theory of Human Need". In a reaction to the famous Hierarchy of Needs by Maslow, Alderfer distinguishes three categories of human needs that influence worker's behavior; existence, relatedness and growth.


ERG TheoryThe ERG categories of human needs

These ERG Theory categories are:

  • Existence Needs: physiological and safety needs (such as hunger, thirst and sex). The first two levels of Maslow.
  • Relatedness Needs: social and external esteem (involvement with family, friends, co-workers and employers). The third and fourth levels of Maslow.
  • Growth Needs: internal esteem and self actualization (the desire to be creative, productive and to complete meaningful tasks). Maslow's fourth and fifth levels.

ERG Theory and Maslow

Contrarily to the idea by Maslow that access to the higher levels of his pyramid required satisfaction in the lower level needs, the ERG areas of Alderfer are simultaneous needs.


ERG Theory recognizes that the importance of the three categories may vary for each individual. Managers must recognize that an employee has multiple needs, that must be satisfied simultaneously. According to the ERG theory, if you focus exclusively on one need at a time, this will not effectively motivate.
 

The frustration-regression principle

In addition, the ERG theory acknowledges that if a higher level need remains unfulfilled, the person may regress towards lower level needs, which appear easier to satisfy. This is known as: the frustration-regression principle. This principle impacts workplace motivation. For example, if growth opportunities are not offered to the employees , they may regress towards relatedness needs, and socialize more with co-workers.


If management can recognize these conditions early, steps can be taken to satisfy the frustrated needs until the subordinate is able to pursue growth again.


Book: Clayton P. Alderfer - Existence, Relatedness, and Growth; Human Needs in Organizational Settings -




ERG Theory Forum Help
  Assessing Alderfer's ERG Theory: Correlation vs. Causal Relationship
In assessing the ERG theory of Alderfer, the main focus has often been primarily on the correlation between on one hand the theory’s components and on the other hand the working behavior of people.
Nevertheless a more appropriate t...
     
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Best Practices - ERG Theory Premium

Expert Tips - ERG Theory Premium
 

Drivers and Levers of Employees

In their 2002 book "Driven: How Human Nature Shapes our Choices", Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria mention 4 drives underlying everything we do:
...
Usage (application): Improving Employee Motivation
 
 

Differences Between Maslow's Hierarchy and Alderfer's ERG Theory

The 4 main differences between the theories by Maslow and Alderfer are that ERG Theory:
1. Recognizes that multiple needs can be present at the s...
Usage (application): Understanding Human Needs, Teaching
 
 

Classifications of Human Needs (Employees, Consumers)

One of possible ways to classify human (employee, consumer) needs is to break them down into:
- Biogenic Needs (essential, inherent certain eleme...
Usage (application): Motivation, Marketing, Human Needs
 
 

Family-Work Conflicts (FWC) and Daily Job Performance

FAMILY ROLES and WORK are two factors influencing each other: - Work can interfere with family roles; this is called a Work-Family Conflict (WFC).
...
Usage (application): Family-work conflicts, Coaching, Mentoring, Job Performance
 
 

Try This Useful ERG-Exercise

- What are currently your own most important needs?
- And of your main employees?
- And of your boss? Are you sure? Do they agree?
- A...
Usage (application): Understanding ERG
 

Resources - ERG Theory Premium

Human Motivation

Comprehesive presentation on Human / Employee Motivation. Topics:
1. What is motivation?
2. How do needs motivate people?
3. Are ther...
Usage (application): Employee Motivation

Overview of Content and Process Motivation Theories

Overview presentation of the major content motivation theories (Hierarchy of Needs; Acquired Needs theory; Two-Factor Theory) and process mo...
Usage (application): Motivation, Needs, Incentives, Goal Setting, Behavior

NLP: The 6 Neurological Levels

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is used increasingly by businesses and individuals in HR, marketing, sales and organizational development
Expl...
Usage (application): 6 layers to view at the reality of a person or issue

ERG Theory Diagram

Download and edit the 12manage PowerPoint model for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in intranets, websites, books, magaz...
Usage (application): Employee Satisfaction / Frustration
 

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