Comparison of Two Theories of Motivation – Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Clayton Alderfer’s ERG

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The two theories of motivation I have chosen to compare are Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory, which is also based on needs. Maslow’s theory is based on five levels of individual needs. Those levels are further broken down into two tiers, lower-order needs and higher-order needs. This theory is based on the premise that some needs are more important than other needs. The more important needs must be satisfied before the other needs can serve as motivators. The lower-order needs start with physiological, things like food, water, and sustenance.

The next is safety, which encompasses things such as the need for security, protection and stability. The last of the lower-order needs tier is social. Social are the needs for love, affection, and a sense of belongingness in relationships with other people. The higher-order needs tier has two, esteem and self-actualization. Esteem is described as the need for respect, prestige, recognition, self-esteem, competence, and mastery. Self-Actualization is listed, as the highest need level, including the need to fulfill oneself, to grow and use your abilities to the fullest and most creative extent (Uhl-Bien, M., Schermerhorn & Osborn, 2014, p. 101).

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The ERG theory is similar, but only has three categories. Existence needs are physiological needs. Relatedness needs are desires for satisfying interpersonal relationships and growth needs are for continued personal growth and development (Uhl-Bien, M., Schermerhorn & Osborn, 2014, p. 102). To effectively apply these principles, you need to start by making sure that physiological and safety needs are met immediately. From there, you need to build and uphold a work environment in which there is a sense of camaraderie and belonging. This will help fulfill social and some esteem needs. Employees need to know that their contributions are valued and that their ideas to improve processes and procedures are welcomed.

Some ways managers can know that they’re having a positive impact on employees is job performance. Are the employees and their work center performing at high levels? Is retention of employees high? Another great feedback tool is the use of anonymous work center climate surveys. Provide an easy way for employees to give feedback where there is no concern of reprisal or management finding out who made the comments.

To be able to establish what it takes to be an excellent leader we have to assess a group to come up with a fair and reasonable outcome. First, each person of our group conducted a self-assessment given in the Organizational Behavior book page W-42 through W-44. The evaluation consisted of answering the following assessments; 10, 11 and 12.

Assessment 10- covered the Least Preferred Co-worker Scale which consisted of answering 18 temperamental questions by placing a circle on numbers from one to eight which will determine a score. After adding the total of the chosen numbers, this determines if your boss or co-worker is a relationship motivated leader or a task motivated leader.

Assessment 11- consisted of a Leadership Style. The given statements describe leadership acts which indicate the way you would most likely act if you were the leader of a workgroup doing so by placing a circle on the answer that you must probably behave in this way. After following the instruction, you put the final scores on the given “T” that represents “Leadership concern for Task” or “P” that represents “Leadership concern for People.”

Assessment 12 – consisted of “TT” Leadership Style. The assessment consisted of answering ten questions with an “a” or “b” answer. Based on the answer you divide a number five in between “a” or “b” but, the total cannot exceed the number 5. This assessment identifies if you are a Transactional leader or a transformational leader.

These assessments are very instrumental in determining the leadership qualities of everyone that participates in them — our group assessment intel that our least preferred co-worker scored a minimum of 26 with a high of 118 which placed us in the task-motivated arena. A motivated task score shows that this person is more task-oriented leadership than a relationship-motivated leader. The assessment creator lives it up to you to figure out for yourself what type of leader you are if your score is in between 65 to 72 points.

Our leadership’s style came to be a leadership concerned for people instead of a leadership concern for the task. I found this to be wrong because I am a task-oriented leader. My “TT” Leadership Style showed a score of a combine as a transformational and a score of 28 as a transactional leader. I was surprised by this also because I was under the impression I was more as a transformational leader. That is because I like helping others get their full potential when it comes to moving up in the chain.

We discussed in our Group Excellent opinions about have a relationship-motivated/concern for people or task motivated/concern for the task. On our combined assessment number 10 “Less Preferred Co-Worker” we scored a combined score of 60 among our group. That was because we all have a different life and work experiences and it is not going to match. Some of us scored as low as 26 and as high as 118. Because we have such exemplary talents in our group, we added all of the scores and came up with the combined average.

On assessment 11 our group was very closed to similar score window of T:10 and P:10 to wit we agree that the motivated/concern for the task was more important than relationship/motivated concern for people. Patrick stated a good point “Cultivating good relationships results in a more cohesive team and fosters trust at all levels, but those by themselves don’t get the work done.” We agree that is very truthful.

On assessment 12 our group was very much in the window between scores T:10-26 for the transformational leadership and score T:23-35 for the transactional leadership. We agree as a group that having both types of leadership gives the team an advantage over other teams because it helps us be strong, agile, enduring and self-organized. In better words, one cannot live without the other. As a leader, we find ourselves in situations that we would have to use both transformational leadership to help the company move forward into the future and use the transactional leadership to make the mission happen with flying colors.

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Comparison of Two Theories of Motivation – Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Clayton Alderfer’s ERG. (2023, Feb 16). Retrieved from

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