ERG Theory Alderfer

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Definition: ERG Theory Alderfer

ERG theory was developed by Clayton Alderfer as a revision of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. ERG theory groups human needs into three broad categories:

  • Existence
  • Relatedness
  • Growth

Existence needs (corresponding to Maslow’s physiological and safety needs) include a person’s physiological and physically related safety needs. Relatedness needs (corresponding to Maslow’s belongingness needs) include a person’s interpersonal need and also of public recognition. Growth needs (corresponding to Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs) include a person’s self-esteem.

ERG Theory Alderfer

ERG theory states that an employee’s behavior is motivated simultaneously by more than one need level. But the difference with Maslow’s theory lies in a frustration-regression process whereby those who are unable to satisfy a higher need become frustrated and regress to the next lower need level.




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