Theory of Human Needs | Existence - Relatedness - Growth Theory | ERG Theory (Alderfer)
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.
The ERG categories of human needs
These ERG Theory categories are:
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
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.
Compare Theory of Human Needs | Existence - Relatedness - Growth Theory | ERG Theory (Alderfer) with: Hierarchy of Needs | Theory of Needs | Herzberg Two Factor Theory | 4 Dimensions of Relational Work | Emotional Intelligence | Expectancy Theory | Path-Goal Theory | Theory X Theory Y | Cultural Dimensions | Hawthorne Effect | Customer Satisfaction Model Kano | Coaching | Mentoring
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