Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Social sciences
  • Business and Management


Show Summary Details


ERG theory

Quick Reference

(existence, relatedness, and growth theory)

A theory of human motivation that focuses on three groups of needs that form a hierarchy: existence needs (physical and material wants); relatedness needs (the desire for interpersonal relationships and for deeper relationships with the important people in one's life); and growth needs (desires to be creative and productive). The theory suggests that these needs change their position in the hierarchy as circumstances change (). A need does not have to be fully satisfied for upward movement to occur; a downward movement can occur when a need is not satisfied. In the deficiency cycle at the bottom of the hierarchy the individual can become obsessed with satisfying existence needs. The enrichment cycle leads a person to learn and grow, generally in multiple environments (i.e. work, home, etc.). The theory, which was developed from Maslow's motivational hierarchy by the US organizational psychologist Clayton P. Alderfer (1940–  ), has been widely applied to issues of workplace motivation and consumer behaviour.

ERG theory. The existence, relatedness, and growth theory of motivation.

Reference entries