Alderfer's ERG theory is a modification of Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. It identifies three categories of human needs: existence, relatedness, and growth. Existence needs pertain to survival and basic physiological requirements, while relatedness needs focus on interpersonal relationships and a sense of belonging. Growth needs involve personal development and self-actualization.
Unlike Maslow's theory, Alderfer's ERG theory acknowledges that individuals can be motivated by needs across different levels simultaneously. It also highlights the possibility of frustration-regression, where unmet higher-level needs can lead individuals to prioritize lower-level needs.
In the context of an online community, Alderfer's ERG theory helps understand members' motivations. Addressing existence needs can involve providing essential resources and a safe online environment. Relatedness needs can be met by fostering a sense of community and encouraging social connections. Growth needs can be fulfilled through opportunities for learning, personal development, and recognition within the community.
By considering the diverse needs outlined in Alderfer's ERG theory, online communities can design strategies to better engage members and enhance their satisfaction and overall well-being.