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Human Relations: Theories on Motivation, Group Development and Group Effectiveness

Needs-Based Theories on Motivation

Many psychologists acknowledge that people are driven by what they want to do in life. In the “scientific management” school of the beginning of the 20th century, money was the major thing that made people want to work hard for it. They include Abraham’s grading of needs theory, McClelland, Herzberg’s two-factor theories, and Alderfer’s ERG theory on how to get people to do what they want to (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). Many theories are based on needs, but Maslow’s is the first one. They are put in a group by him. A need won’t make you do something until it has been met. This theory is different from other need-based theories because it lists needs in a certain order. People have a wide range of needs, from physical to security and safety, esteem, and special needs. It thinks that needs that haven’t been met will drive or influence a person’s behavior. When a need is met, it won’t be a motivator anymore. Needs are arranged in order of priority, and a need from the hierarchy won’t be a source of motivation until the needs below have been met.

ERG theory is the idea that is based on Maslow’s hierarchy, but in some ways, it is better than it was. Clayton Alderfer, a scholar, came up with this theory. In place of Maslow’s five levels, the ERG theory has three: existence, relatedness, and growth, which are the three main things. Unlike Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this theory looks at motivational needs like being alive and having a sense of belonging (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). It also looks at how these needs change over time. First, contrasting Maslow’s ERG theory says that the sequence in which people progress through three phases can differ for each individual. This helps make the theory more adaptable and more useful to many people. Second, some persons can even work on all three needs simultaneously. In those other words, some individuals might be working on all three needs simultaneously. Most significant, ERG theory has the “indignation” principle in it. These theories are useful because they show how important it is for workers to participate in participatory decision-making, more worker liberation, and an individualized workspace.

According to McClelland’s manifest needs theory, we all need to achieve, be powerful, and be part of a group, but in various proportions. McClelland’s manifest needs theory doesn’t have a top or bottom, unlike certain needs theories (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). It took McClelland many years of research to figure this out. All people have three requirements: power, the need to converse with others, something McClelland calls “affiliation needs,” and the need to be successful, which McClelland calls “achievement needs.” Everyone will believe one needs some more powerfully than another two needs. Every individual has all three basic needs, but they are all different. McClelland says that these basic needs are not things people are born with. They are made by the things that happen in your life. Is it among the three components you want to grow in? You can make this work.

Finally, Herzberg’s two-factor theory demonstrates the variation between hygienes (things that make you unhappy) and motivators (things that make you want to do things) (satisfiers). It’s only the motivators that make people excited about their jobs. They also keep them happy for a long time to come (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). The hygienes must also be there, or workers will be unhappy and even quit their jobs. Herzberg says that job enlargement is the only thing a manager can do to get a worker who isn’t motivated to work. Hygienes are things about a job that makes it easier to work there. This theory is related to certain other needs and theories in that it talks about needs, but it’s different from them because it talks about factors that motivate people to do things. Motivators are the things just on the job that makes people want to work there. These are intrinsic things, which means that they are discovered either in the job itself or the worker.

Basic Components of Group Development

There are many things a group needs to work out before it can start to work. In most groups, four stages in their development focus on two group behaviors. Forming, coordinating, redefining, and formalizing are basic steps. When a group is new, the first thing they do is form. This is called orientation, or getting to know each other (Borek et al., 2019). Members in this phase take a good look at their job, adjust their behavior, and start to accept each other. This phase is called “adjustment.” Members of the group look at the assignment as a group issue when they redefine it. The group also tries to figure out who they are concerning this problem. Members will often show different levels of excitement (Borek et al., 2019). During coordination, the group gathers information and turns it into group goals. When people talk about things from the redefining stage, their feelings come out, and more fights happen here than at any stage. At the end, when you’re putting things together. This is when the group works well together and can achieve its goals. There are always new jobs to be done.

Barriers to Group Development

Most people who have worked for a company have seen ineffective groups, but not all. When a group doesn’t grow, one of the main things that stop them is “groupthink.” Groupthink can make people make bad decisions because they believe much in the group’s worth and status, close their minds off, or put too much pressure on them to be like everyone else (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). The first two business failures alone caused the biggest company’s financial catastrophes in the U. S. up until that point. This resulted in changes in company law in the United States. As per Janis, groupthink is always bad because it leads to bad decisions. Enron went bankrupt in 2001, WorldCom went bankrupt in 2002, and bank collapses like Washington Mutual went bankrupt. These bad business decisions were blamed on groupthink (2008).

Best Practices to Improve Group Effectiveness

Several other problems can arise from group discussions, such as too much conflict, a lack of creativity, a single-member taking over, and a reluctance to change. The best things to do are to change ineffective norms, identify problems, and improve the group’s composition. The best way to make a group more efficient is to change its rules (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). Because most groups haven’t talked about their norms before, it is the first step. Try to figure out what issues the group has to talk about how to solve them. Is one person in charge of the conversation? Are some of the people in the group fighting? Are people afraid of change as well as new ideas? Once the group or the designated person figures out the problem, they can come up with a solution to solve the problem (Lamberton & Minor-Evans 1995). Some groups don’t work well because they don’t have the right people. For example, they might have members who have different skills, interests, or personalities than each other. It’s possible that some of their members don’t have the skills they need to solve problems they’re told to work on.


Lamberton, L. H., & Minor-Evans, L. (1995). Human relations: Strategies for success. Irwin Professional Publishing.

Borek, A. J., Abraham, C., Greaves, C. J., Gillison, F., Tarrant, M., Morgan-Trimmer, S., … & Smith, J. R. (2019). Identifying change processes in group-based health behavior-change interventions: development of the mechanisms of action in group-based interventions (MAGI) framework. Health psychology review13(3), 227-247.


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