Describe the basic features of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Alderfer’s ERG theory, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, and McClelland’s acquired needs theory? What guidance does each theory provide to managers?
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory specifies five levels of human needs that are arranged in a hierarchy of importance. In the hierarchy, lower-order needs include physiological, safety, and social concerns, whereas higher-order needs include esteem and self-actualization concerns. Additional features of the need hierarchy are the deficit principle and the progression principle. The deficit principle holds that a satisfied need is not a motivator of behavior; people act to satisfy needs for which a deficit exists. The progression principle holds that a need at one level doesn’t become activated until the next lower-level need is satisfied. People are expected to advance step by step up the hierarchy. Within this framework, self-actualization needs become stronger when they are satisfied. Therefore, a person should continue to be motivated by opportunities for self-fulfillment as long as the other need levels remain satisfied. (pg. 363)
Alderfer’s ERG theory is an extension of Maslow’s theory. Instead of five need levels, Alderfer proposed three need levels, the first letters of which are identified by the name of the theory itself –– ERG. Existence needs are desires for physiological and material well being. Relatedness needs are desires for satisfying interpersonal relationships. Growth needs are desires for continued psychological growth and development. ERG theory does not assume that lower-level needs must be satisfied before higher-level needs become activated. ERG theory includes a unique frustration-regression principle whereby an already satisfied lower-level need becomes reactivated when a higher-level need is frustrated. Mangers should help to remove blocks to need satisfaction. (pg. 363)
Two-factor theory argues that different factors are sources of job dissatisfaction and job satisfaction. The job dissatisfaction factors are called hygiene factors and the job satisfaction factors are labeled satisfier factors. Hygiene factors are elements of the job context, including the following: working conditions, interpersonal relations, organizational policies and administration, technical quality of supervision, and base compensation. Improvements in hygiene factors can prevent and/or eliminate job dissatisfaction; they will not improve job satisfaction. Satisfier factors are elements of the job content that include the following: sense of achievement, feelings of recognition, sense of responsibility, advancement opportunities, and feelings of personal growth. Improvements in satisfier factors increase job satisfaction; they will not prevent job dissatisfaction. According to two-factor theory, managers should: (a) recognize that all jobs have two important aspects what people do in terms of job tasks (i.e., job content) and the setting in which they do it (i.e., job context); (b) always correct poor context to eliminate actual or potential sources of job dissatisfaction; and (c) be sure to build satisfier factors into job content to maximize opportunities for job satisfaction. (pg. 364)
Acquired needs theory proposes that people acquire or develop needs through their life experiences. These needs relate to achievement, power, and affiliation. The need for achievement is the desire to do something better or more efficiently, to solve problems, or to master complex tasks. The need for power is the desire to control other persons, to influence their behavior, or to be responsible for other people. The need for affiliation is the desire to establish and maintain friendly and warm relations with other persons. Managers should create work environments that are responsive to the varying need strengths of people.
Source: Management, 11th Edition & 12th Edition- John R. Schermerhorn