Erg Theory

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Date Submitted: 11/14/2012 07:27 PM

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ERG Theory

In order to rectify the lack of recognition and reward within IBM’s IT Department, management needs to begin by finding out what their employees need. As humans, we are all unique. That said, it is very likely that the primary needs of one individual differs from the primary needs of another. In order to motivate a group of employees, the most effective ammo a manager can be carrying is the knowledge of what their employees want and need. If you think about it, what good is it to offer someone an undesirable incentive, with hopes that it will push them to work harder?

The work of Clayton P. Alderfer, known as the ERG Theory, suggests that there are three basic categories of needs: existence needs, relatedness needs, and growth needs. These three categories embody Abraham Maslow’s five fundamental needs, being physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. The difference between the two theories, however, is the idea of order. According to Maslow, for each and every individual, these five needs are in the same order, starting with physiological as the most essential need of all. As for the ERG Theory, Alderfer suggests that each individual considers the three needs in their own unique order. While one may value relatedness as their main need, another may deem existence to be of primary importance. In using the ERG Theory, IBM’s management can strengthen their recognition and reward component in motivation.

It is important to identify the needs of employees for this theory to be effective. If one employee in the IT department values existence as most important, the implementation of a more social work environment will not affect the individual as much as it would an individual with a high need for relatedness. Furthermore, if an employee with a high need for growth is not given the chance to be promoted, he or she will perhaps resort to their second highest need of relatedness by socializing with coworkers. This second scenario...