ERG Theory of Motivation

Clayton Alderfer
Clayton Alderfer (September 1, 1940 - October 30, 2015) was an American psychologist and consultant also known for the very popular theory of Motivation called ERG Theory. ERG theory of motivation is the further development on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory developed by Abraham Maslow. 

Related Theories:


Clayton Alderfer has provided an extension of the Maslow’s need hierarchy and Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation, particularly the former. Like the previous theories, Alderfer believes that there is a value in categorizing needs and that there is a basic distinction between lower-order needs and higher-order needs. Based on the empirical evidences, he has found that there seems to be some overlapping between physiological, security and social needs. Also the lines of demarcation between social, esteem and achievement needs are not clear. Based on these observations, Alderfer has categorized the various needs into three categories: existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs. The first three letters of these needs are used to call it ERG theory.
ERG Theory of Motivation

1. Existence Needs 


Existence needs include all needs related to physiological and safety aspects of an individual. Thus, existence needs group physiological and safety needs of Maslow into one category as these have similar impact on the behavior of the individual. 

2. Relatedness Needs 


Relatedness needs include all those needs that involve relationship with other people whom the individual cares. Relatedness needs cover Maslow’s social needs and that part of esteem needs which is derived from the relationship with other people. 

3. Growth Needs 


Growth needs involve the individual making creative efforts to achieve full potential in the existing environment. These include Maslow’s self actualization need as well as that part of the esteem need which is internal to the individual like feeling of being unique, feeling of personal growth.

In conclusion, ERG Theory of Motivation is very similar to the Maslow's Hierarchy of Need Theory.  The existence needs is considered as the physiological and safety needs of Maslow's hierarchy of need. Likewise, relatedness needs is considered as social needs of Maslow's theory. It includes the social desires and status for maintaining interpersonal relationships. Similarly, the growth needs of Alderfer is as similar as the Maslow's esteem category which include self-actualization needs. It is the desire for personal development which includes the self-esteem needs and self-actualization needs.

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