Evolution of Motivational Theories

 by Shawn P. Quigley Evolution of Motivational Theories

Since the beginning of man’s socialization people have been attempting to understand what motivates an individual or group to act in the manner they do.  However, official theories of motivation did not start to develop until the early 1900’s.  The first few theories of motivation viewed man as a simple animal to be manipulated and controlled for his own good, but after World War II and the great depression, man was seen as having complex social and physical needs.  While the motivational theories produced during this time presented differing designs they remain constant in the sectionalism, containing both physical and social wants/needs.



Theories of Motivation Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In (Maslow, 1943), Maslow states the five levels of the hierarchy of needs as Physiological, Security, Social, Esteem, and Self-actualizing needs.  Physiological needs are described as those needed for survival such as food, water, and sleep (Maslow, 1943).  Security needs were … Continue reading

Existence, Relatedness, Growth (ERG) Theory of Motivation

by Shawn P. Quigley

What is ERG?

Today we will discuss a theory by Clayton P. Alderfer called the ERG Theory of Motivation. No, Alderfer was not a physicist and ERG in this case is not a unit of energy equal to 10-7 joules. Aldefer is an American psychologist known for his further development of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

In the ERG theory Existence is defined as the physiological and safety needs which are seen as the first two steps of the pyramid which people now use to represent Maslow’s theory. Relatedness equates to the social and external esteem needs such as relationships or involvement with friends, family, and co-workers. This would be the third and fourth rung of the Maslow triangle. Last, but not least, would be Growth which is the internal esteem and self-actualization needs. This is represented by the final two levels in Maslow’s needs theory.

ERG and Motivation

On the first review of … Continue reading

The Theory of Needs and Achievement

By Shawn P. Quigley

Needs According to McClelland

We have discussed several different motivational theories and today we will continue that discussion with McClelland’s Needs theory of motivation. The reason we are discussing McClelland’s theory now is that it provides some insight why an employee may become disenchanted with not improving a process that they perceive as requiring improvement. We discussed this to a small degree in Pavlov’s Employee.

Achievement, Affiliation and Power

There are three sections to McClelland’s theory: Achievement, Affiliation, and Power (McClelland, 1995).  Achievement refers to how people have different levels of achievement they desire and they seek an objective equivalent to their need for achievement. Affiliation refers to the individual’s desire to be associated with and/or accepted by a specific group. Typically a group that has the majority of members with a similar level of desired achievement as they perceive themselves as having. Power has two sub-categories for this theory: Personal and Institutional. Personal … Continue reading

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