ERG Theory

Existence, Relatedness, and Growth

Contributors:  name list here           

Clayton Alderfer

The ERG theory is based on the work of Maslow...
REFERENCES ~ Coding Spreadsheet - Web View
  • Alderfer, Clayton P. An empirical test of a new theory of human needs. Organizational Behavior & Human Performance. Vol 4(2),1969, 142-17

  • Dickinson, Gail Krepps. A new look at job satisfaction. Library Administration and Management  2002 Vol.16, No.1, 2002
    p.30 - Comparison Chart of Maslow, Alderfer, and Herzberg

    Most library managers are familiar with the job satisfaction theories of Maslow and Hertzberg. Alderfer's existence, relatedness, and growth (ERG) theory is an approach that is rarely discussed in most management literature. Yet, ERG categories can be applied readily to the more team-based library workplace, and the implications of ERG theory can be successful in problem-solving in today's libraries. This article discusses the background of ERG theory and some potential applications in library management. "Do you like your job?" is a question that is asked and answered throughout our lives. Generally, it's a question that we often answer with a simple "yes" or "no," in much the same way as saying, "Fine," in answer to "How are you?" However, if the question "Are you satisfied with your job?" was posed, our answers would become more thoughtful, more complicated, and reveal more than a simple "yes" or "no." Job satisfaction is a complex issue that goes beyond the simple surface question to a deeper understanding of why and how we work. It goes beyond workforce production to workforce dynamics, to what our involvement in work can give us emotionally as well as materially. For library administrators, job satisfaction is one key to a more motivating and productive workplace. Working with satisfied and motivated employees can create a satisfying work environment for managers as well. Most administrators are familiar with the basic motivation literature studied in management classes, especially Maslow's need hierarchy and Herzberg's hygiene-motivator factor theory. Alderfer is a less familiar and often overlooked job satisfaction theorist, but his work on ERG theory may have more direct application to today's workplace than Maslow or Herzberg. This article reviews Alderfer's theories in the context of site-based, team-driven workplaces found in today's libraries.