Alderfer Needs Theory

Alderfer Needs Theory Presentation

Also known as ERG Theory (Existence, Relatedness and Growth), Alderfer Needs Theory, developed by Clayton Alderfer, is one of the several theories that seek to explain human motivations through the needs satisfaction. In many aspects very similar to Maslow’s Needs Theory, Alderfer Needs Theory also explains the employees motivation according to their needs hierarchically grouped in a pyramid. Presents however some disagreement aspects regarding Maslow, namely in the following:

  • Unlike Maslow who considers 5 levels of needs, Alderfer considers only 3, namely the needs of Existence, Relatedness and Growth (therefore the acronym ERG);
  • Even though usually the emergency of a need with possibility of motivation only occurs after being satisfied the needs of the previous levels (like Maslow defends), there are situations in which the employees can activate their highest level needs without having completely satisfied the lower levels needs;
  • Alderfer defends, unlike Maslow, that when the needs at a superior level are frustrated, the lower level need return, even being already satisfied.
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