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Existence, Relatedness and Growth Theory of Motivation

ERG theory

Alderfer proposed ERG theory as a new version to the Maslow’s need hierarchy theory.

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Similarities: The research on the Maslow’s need hierarchy theory shown that the needs in the hierarchy have some common characteristics. And thus there is a need for to clear the ambiguity. Alderfer proposed a new form by reducing the need level into three. Existence combines safety needs and psychological needs. Relatedness is a combination of internal esteem needs. Self actualization and External Esteem needs come under the variable growth.

ERG theory also addresses some of the limitations of need theory. It says more than one needs may motivated simultaneously. There is no compulsion that lower needs must be satisfied before the lower level needs. Another significant part of ERG theory is that it says that people organize their order of needs as per their own perception. It also proposes frustration-regression principle. That means if higher order needs are not satisfied he may start to satisfy at least the lower order needs which may be an easier one.

Practical application

In an organization, there will be different people and each of them has some distinct needs and wants. In the modern world, motivator tries to respect individual personalities and thus they are motivating individuals in different ways. Thus ERG theory has more practical implication. “The frustration-regression principle has additional impact on motivation in the workplace. As an example, if employees are not provided opportunities to grow, an employee might regress to fulfilling relatedness needs, socializing with co-workers more. Or, the inability of the environment or situation to satisfy a need for social interaction might increase the desire for more money or better working conditions. If Leadership recognizes these conditions soon enough in the process, they can take steps to satisfy those needs which are frustrated until such time that the worker can again pursue growth.” (EGR theory of motivation- Clayton P. Alderfer 2007).

Maslow’s need hierarchy theory in Asian culture

The personal values and societal values are different in Asian and western countries. Asian personal values are in the following order: hard work, respect for learning, honesty, self discipline and self reliance while Western people have given more importance to self reliance. Hard work, success in life, Personal achievement, helping others is the other values. And honesty has a least importance. Among the social values Asian prefers an orderly society and harmony and binding among the people have given importance. Freedom of expression has only a least value. On the other hand freedom of expression and personal freedom is the highest valued factors in the society. In short Asian has given more importance to collectivism while the west has given preference to individuality of a person. This difference also exhibited in the Maslow’s need hierarchy theory.

Schutte and Ciarlante say that Maslow need hierarchy theory is more suitable for the western culture. The hierarchical order of need in Asia:

West Asia
1. Self Actualization 1. Status
2. Prestige 2. Admiration
3. Belonging 3. Affiliation
4. Safety 4. Safety
5. Psychological 5. Psychological

As per the figure highest Asian needs are status and admiration both is the result of the value of ‘respecting others’. Affiliation is getting when he belongs to a group. Since collectivism is the trademark of Asian culture, the Maslow’s pyramid is also different as per it. Thus in Asia, needs derived from the social values has much importance in the Asian business world. For e.g., when westerners tends to be lovers of travelling and leisure and is an expression of self enjoyment. While the Asian selecting travelling if it provides an opportunity for belongingness and collectivism. Moreover, Asians are more heterogeneous in nature and thus it is also reflected in the Asian business world. (Weiermair & Mathies 2004, p.124).

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ERG theory and its market implication

Earlier studies have shown that motivational theory has failed to explain some consumer behaviour characteristics. (Mowen 1999, p.4). ERG theory has formulated in the late 6os. Meanwhile the consumer behaviour of the modern world man is changed in a wide manner. Today’s consumer has living in a world of information and his behaviours are changing in a rapid manner. Each consumer treats purchasing in different ways. It may be for usage, for personal identity or may be behaviour. These consumer traits are explained by the consumer behaviours scientist. The consumer science is an integration of psychology, motivation and marketing. Thus it may not be sufficient to explain the consumer behaviour on the basis of ERG theory.


EGR theory of motivation- Clayton P. Alderfer: leadership lessons 2007, Envision Software Incorporated, 2009. Web.

Mowen, John, C 1999, The 3M model of motivation and personality: theory and empirical applications to consumer behaviour, Springer, 2009. Web.

Weiermair, Klaus & Mathies, Christine 2004, The tourism and leisure industry, Haworth Press 2009. Web.

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