The ERG theory was developed by an organizational behavior scholar named, Clayton Alderfer. This theory has classified the human needs into three groups: Existence, Relatedness and Growth. The Existence need corresponds to the Maslow’s physiological and safety needs. Relatedness need is referred to the Maslow’s belongingness need while the Growth need is referred to the Maslow’s Esteems and Self-actualization needs.

Alderfer has reworked on Maslow’s hierarchy theory based on the fact that the human needs can be operative more than one at a time. It doesn’t demonstrate on the fact that a lower need has to be satisfied in order to move on to another need. The ERG theory also deal on the Frustration –regression principle which is worked as if a high order need is frustrated, then an individual needs to satisfy the lower order need. The theory believes as a person starts to satisfy its higher needs, they become more intense with time. For instance, the power you acquire makes you to get a hold on more power just similar to an addiction. The ERG Theory has simplified the question of how to motivate a person to act?

Let’s now take a close look to the needs:

1- Existence:

The lower level of need is to stay alive and safe. When our existence needs are satisfied we feel more physically comfortable. This exactly relates to the Maslow’s physiological and safety needs. Similar to a workplace, where an employee who feels greater satisfaction is more likely to be highly motivated. The motivation and satisfaction are one of the same things but its relevance is a bit different. In both the ways, these theories of motivation are able to predict job satisfaction. For instance, we all expect that our work will fulfill our basic existence needs that it will provide us a salary that enables us to buy food, clothing, transportation and all those things that are important to exist in our culture. A more safe environment where health insurance, retirement facilities are being provided. If none of these are given to us, we feel a bit less satisfied with our jobs.

2- Relatedness:

[large]Once we are safe and secure, we consider fulfilling our social needs. We become more concerned about our relationships with other people and what society thinks of us. This refers to the motivation of improving our interpersonal skills.

3- Growth:

This refers to the highest level of need, we aim to grow in order to be creative and competitive for ourselves and the society we live in. A successful person feels to have a sense of achievement and fulfillment. Therefore, growth represents our intrinsic desire for self-development.

Implications of ERG Theory

The managers need to recognize the fact that each employee has multiple needs to satisfy simultaneously. Moreover, if the growth opportunities are not been satisfied, the employee will act on the Frustration-regression principle and therefore feel regressed to the relatedness needs. If the manager is situational aware, then steps can be implemented to work on the relatedness needs until the subordinate is able to concentrate on the growth again. Therefore, each person has to carefully analyze how well each need in the model are met and how to improve them.