Need Theories: Comparing Maslow, Alderfer, and Mcclelland

1194 Words5 Pages
19 July 2014
Need Theories: Comparing Maslow, Alderfer, and McClelland

Most theories of motivation revolve around the idea an employee’s needs influence their motivation. Needs are physiological or psychological scarcities that stimulate behavior therefore are necessary to live a healthy, productive lives both in personal and work lives. “If work is meaningless, then life comes close to being meaningless”(Maslow, Stephens Heil 39). These needs, whether weak or strong and are greatly influenced by environmental factors, thus causing human needs to vary over time and place. The general idea behind need theories of motivation is that unmet needs motivate people to placate them. On the contrary, people are not motivated to pursue a
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“A person’s motivation and effectiveness in certain job functions are influenced by these three needs”(McClelland - Theory of Needs). Those who have a high need for achievement share three common characteristics: a preference for tasks of moderate difficulty, situations in which their performance is due to their own efforts, and a desire for more performance feedback on their successes and failures. Those with a high need for affiliation have a strong desire for approval and reassurance from others, a tendency to conform to the wishes of others when pressured by people whose friendships they value, and a sincere interest in the feelings of others. Finally, those with a high need for power seek to influence and direct others, exercise control over others, and maintain leader-follower relations. Upon further comparisons, Alderfer does not disagree with Maslow's hierarchy of needs completely. He suggests that as more concrete needs are satisfied, less concrete need become more important. Instead of the five needs Maslow believes should be satisfied, Alderfer says there are only three important needs, and McClelland says there three differing needs than the others. Whereas Maslow's theory argues that individuals move up the hierarchy as a result of the satisfaction of lower order needs. ERG theory includes a unique frustration - regression component. This suggests that an already satisfied need can become activated when a higher need cannot be satisfied.

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