Leadership & Human Behavior
Clayton Alderfer's (1969) Existence/Relatedness/Growth (ERG) Theory of Needs postulates that there are three groups of needs:
- Existence - This group of needs is concerned with providing the basic requirements for material existence, such as physiological and safety needs. This need is satisfied by money earned in a job so that one may buy food, shelter, clothing, etc.
- Relationships - This group of needs centers upon the desire to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships. Since people normally spend approximately half of their waking hours on the job, this need is normally satisfied to some degree by their coworkers.
- Growth - These needs are met by personal development. A person's job, career, or profession provides significant satisfaction of growth needs.
Notice that Alderfer's ERG theory is built upon Maslow's, however it does differ. First he collapses it from five needs to three. And unlike Maslow, he did not see these needs as being a hierarchy in which one climbs up, but rather being more of a continuum:
Alderfer's ERG theory states that more than one need may be influential at the same time. If the gratification of a higher-level need is frustrated, the desire to satisfy a lower-level need will increase. He identifies this phenomenon as the "frustration & shy aggression dimension." Its relevance on the job is that even when the upper-level needs are frustrated, the job still provides for the basic physiological needs upon which one would then be focused. If a person reaches this point and something happens to threaten the job, then the person's basic needs are significantly threatened. If there are no factors present to relieve the pressure, the person may become desperate and panicky.
While there has not been a lot of research on Alderfer's theory, most contemporary theories and related studies tend to give it stronger support than Maslow's theory.
Vroom's Expectancy Theory (1964) states that an individual will act in a certain way based on the expectation (belief) that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. This motivational model has been modified by several people, to include Porter and Lawler (1968). Vroom's Expectancy Theory is written as a formula:
Valence x Expectancy x Instrumentality = Motivation
- Valence (Reward) = the amount of desire for a goal (What is the reward?)
- Expectancy (Performance) = the strength of belief that work related effort will result in the completion of the task (How hard will I have to work to reach the goal?)
- Instrumentality (Belief) = the belief that the reward will be received once the task is completed (Will others notice the effort I put forth?)
The product of valence, expectancy, and instrumentality is motivation. It can be thought of as the strength of the drive towards a goal. For example, if an employee wants to move up through the ranks, then promotion has a high valence for that employee. If the employee believes that high performance will result in good reviews, then the employee has a high expectancy. However, if the employee believes the company will not promote from within, then the employee has low instrumentality, and the employee will not be motivated to perform better.
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Alderfer, C. (1969). An Empirical Test of a New Theory of Human Needs. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, vol. 4, pp. 142 - 175.
Porter, L., Lawler, E. (1968). Managerial Attitudes and Performance. Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press.
Vroom, V. (1964). Work and Motivation. New York: Jon Wiley & Sons.