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

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Summary

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


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🔥 NEW Testing / Assessing Alderfer's ET
In assessing the ERG theory of Alderfer, the main focus has often been primarily on the correlation between on one hand (...)
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Advanced insights about ERG Theory. Here you will find professional advices by experts.


Drivers and Levers of Employees

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

Differences Between Maslow's Hierarchy and Alderfer's ET

Understanding Human Needs, Teaching
The 4 main differences between the theories by Maslow and Alderfer are that ET: 1. Recognizes that multiple nee (...)

Classifications of Human Needs (Employees, Consumers)

Motivation, Marketing, Human Needs
One of possible ways to classify human (employee, consumer) needs is to break them down into: - Biogenic Needs (essenti (...)

Family-Work Conflicts (FWC) and Daily Job Performance

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

Try This Useful ERG-Exercise

Understanding ERG
- What are currently your own most important needs? - And of your main employees? - And of your boss? Are you sure? Do (...)
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Various sources of information regarding ERG Theory. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.


Human Motivation

Employee Motivation
Comprehesive presentation on Human / Employee Motivation. Topics: 1. What is motivation? 2. How do needs motivate peo (...)

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Motivation, Needs, Incentives, Goal Setting, Behavior
Overview presentation of the major content motivation theories (Hierarchy of Needs; Acquired Needs theory; Two-Factor Th (...)

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6 layers to view at the reality of a person or issue
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ET Diagram

Employee Satisfaction / Frustration
Download and edit the 12manage PowerPoint model for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in int (...)

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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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