2. Clayton P. Alderfer
Introduced the ERG theory in 1969
Alderfer's ERG Theory Simplifies Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Alderfer's ERG theory contends there are three basic needs an employee seeks to fulfill.
As each need is fulfilled, it serves as motivation to fulfill a different need.
ERG stands for Existence, Relatedness and Growth, and these are defined as:
Existence - the need for basic material existence, like physiological health and safety
Relatedness - the need for interpersonal connections, social status and recognition
Growth - the need for personal development, including creative and meaningful work
As each need is met, another need could be satisfied. In fact, at any point, several could be
3. Existence needs motivate at a more fundamental level than relatedness needs,
which, in turn supersedes growth needs.
Satisfaction-Progression > Moving up to higher level needs based on satisfied
needs (Applicable in Maslow’s theory. Not necessarily in ERG theory)
Frustration-Regression > If a higher-order need is frustrated, an individual
may regress to increase the satisfaction of a lower-order need which appears
easier to satisfy.
4. ERG Theory & MASLOW
ERG theory has three key differences from Maslow's theory:
It suggests that people can be motivated by needs from more than one level at the same time.
There is not necessarily a strict progression from one level to the next.
It acknowledges that the importance of the needs varies for each person and as circumstances
change. Some people might put a higher value on growth than relationships at certain stages of
It has a "frustration-regression" element. This means that that if needs remain unsatisfied at one
of the higher levels, the person will become frustrated, and go back to pursuing lower level needs