Clayton Alderfer ERG Theory

ERG Theory (Clayton Alderfer)


Clayton Alderfer extended and simplified Maslow's Hierarchy into a shorter set of three needs: Existence, Relatedness and Growth (hence 'ERG'). Unlike Maslow, he did not see these as being a hierarchy, but being more of a continuum.

ERG Theory (Clayton Alderfer)


At the lowest level is the need to stay alive and safe, now and in the foreseeable future. When we have satisfied existence needs, we feel safe and physically comfortable. This includes Maslow's Physiological and Safety needs.


At the next level, once we are safe and secure, we consider our social needs. We are now interested in relationships with other people and what they think of us. When we are related, we feel a sense of identity and position within our immediate society. This encompasses Maslow's Love/belonging and Esteem needs.


At the highest level, we seek to grow, be creative for ourselves and for our environment. When we are successfully growing, we feel a sense of wholeness, achievement and fulfillment. This covers Maslow's Self-actualization and Transcendence.
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