Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/ERG theory

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ERG theory:
What is Alderfer's ERG theory?
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Overview[edit | edit source]

image of ERG THeory
Figure 1. ERG Theory
Figure 2. ERG and Maslow
Figure 3. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Alderfer's Existence, Relatedness and Growth (ERG) theory is a multi-directional revision of Malsow's Hierarchy of Needs. ERG separates Maslow's pyramid into three components that a individual is motivated by to transcend or transgress dependent on there emotional position. Further, Alderfer's ERG model allows for individuals to focus on more than one need at a time, allowing more flexibility in the framework (Snow, 2019).

This book chapter will attempt to illustrate;

  • What is ERG Theory,
  • The current research and operationtialism of ERG,
  • And the applications of ERG to the real world.

Focus questions:

  • What are the three sections of ERG?
  • How does ERG motivate people?
  • Where has ERG Theory been applied?

What is ERG theory[edit | edit source]

The ERG model is a movement between, its three classifications, using the processes of satisfaction-progression and frustration-regression (Snow, 2019).

  1. Existence, the first level of needs. comprised of survival, the safety and basic physiological needs of the individual (Snow, 2019).
  2. Relatedness, social motivations, interpersonal and intrapersonal needs, the ability to shear feelings and thoughts for example being accepted (Snow, 2019).
  3. Growth, is locked into the development of ones potential. it involves the needs of productive and creative efforts within the environment to capitalise on opportunities (Snow, 2019).

Research and operationalism[edit | edit source]

Although a relatively old theory in psychology, ERG theory has not held much interest in comparison to other motivation models.

  1. What it has to do with motivation (Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002; Snow, 2019)
  2. Measures (Alderfer, Kaplan & Smith, 1974; Bláfoss Ingvardson et al., 2020; Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002)
  3. Lack of academic literature (Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002; Caulton, 2012)

Application of ERG theory[edit | edit source]

There are many applications that ERG theory has been applied too.

  • Development (Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002; Poulou & Norwich, 2019)
  • Job performance/productivity (Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002; Caulton, 2012)
  • Travel (Bláfoss Ingvardson et al., 2020)
  • Leadership (Sosik et al., 2013)

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Alderfer, C. P., Kaplan, R. E., & Smith, K. K. (1974). The effect of variations in relatedness need satisfaction on relatedness desires. Administrative Science Quarterly, 19(4), 507–532.

Arnolds, C. A., & Boshoff, C. (2002). Compensation, esteem valence and job performance: An empirical assessment of Alderfer’s ERG theory. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(4), 697–719. Bláfoss Ingvardson, J., Kaplan, S., de Abreu e Silva, J., di Ciommo, F., Shiftan, Y., & Nielsen, O. (2020). Existence, relatedness and growth needs as mediators between mode choice and travel satisfaction: evidence from Denmark. Transportation (Dordrecht), 47(1), 337–358.

Caulton, J. R. (2012). The development and use of the theory of ERG: A literature review. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 5(1), 2-8.

David Snow. (2019). The Big Picture: How the New Use of an Old Theory will Enhance Leaders’ Perspective on Management. The Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 21(1), 117–130.

Poulou, M., & Norwich, B. (2019). Adolescent students’ psychological needs: Development of an existence, relatedness, and growth needs scale. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology: IJSEP Supplemental Issue 2019, 7(sup1), 75–83.

Sosik, J. J., Chun, J. U., Blair, A. L., & Fitzgerald, N. A. (2013). Possible selves in the lives of transformational faith community leaders. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5(4), 283–293.

External links[edit | edit source]