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McClelland and Maslow Theory

American’s Psychologist David Clarence McClelland (1917-98) proposed that every individual have specific needs that can be classed into need for achievement (nAch), need for affiliation (nAff), and need for power (nPow). Regardless of gender, culture or age, human beings have three motivating drivers that will affect their behavior. People with a high need for achievement seek to excel, to accomplish in relation to a set of standards, to struggle to achieve success. High nAch individuals prefer work that has a moderate probability of success, ideally a 50% chance.

There is a strong need for feedback as to monitor the progress of their achievements. They prefer either to work alone or with other high achievers. High achievers are not interested in rewards or money unless these rewards reflect a measurement of their success. Their desire is to do a task better than it has been done before. The individuals with high achievement needs are highly motivated by competing and challenging work. They also look for promotional opportunities in job.

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Second, the individuals who are motivated by affiliation have an urge for a friendly and supportive environment. They prefer to spend time creating and maintaining social relationships, enjoy being a part of groups, and have a desire to feel loved and accepted. Individuals with high nAff strive for friendships, prefer cooperative situations rather than competitive ones, and desire relationships involving a high degree of mutual understanding. Individuals having high affiliation needs prefer working in an environment providing greater personal interaction.

Such people have a need to be on the good books of all.

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They generally cannot be good leaders. A high need for power may be expressed as “personalized power” or “socialized power”. Those with a high need for power work best when they’re in charge. Because they enjoy competition, they do well with goal-oriented projects or tasks. They may also be very effective in negotiations or in situations in which another party must be convinced of an idea or goal. Those who need personal power want to direct others, and this need often is perceived as undesirable.

Persons who need institutional power (also known as social power) want to organize the efforts of others to further the goals of the organization. Managers with a high need for institutional power tend to be more effective than those with a high need for personal power. McClelland’s theory of Needs allows for the shaping of a person’s needs; training programs can be used to modify one’s need profile. The use of this information is to lead, praise, and motivate your team more effectively, and to better structure your team’s roles.

Maslow Theory In 1943 a Psychologist Mr. Abraham Harold Maslow suggested his Theory of Human Motivation. According to him, our actions are motivated in order achieve certain needs. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. The hierarchy of needs includes five motivational needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Maslow identified five types or sets of human need arranged in a hierarchy of their importance and priority.

They are physiological, safety, love, and esteem and growth needs (self-actualization). Physiological needs are the basic needs for sustaining human life. These needs include food, shelter, clothing, rest, air, and water. These needs cannot be postponed for long. Unless and until these basic physiological needs are satisfied to the required extent, other needs do not motivate an employee. Second is safety, these include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs.

Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health care, safe neighborhoods, and shelter from the environment. Next is social needs. An employee is a human being is rightly treated as a social animal. He desires to stay in group. He feels that he should belong to one or the other group and the member of the group should accept him with love and affection. He needs friends and interaction with his friends and superiors of the group such as fellow employees or superiors. After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important.

These include the need for things that reflect on self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment. Lastly is self-actualization. Self-actualization is the desire to become what one is capable of becoming. It is a ‘growth’ need. A worker must work efficiently if he is to be ultimately happy. Here, a person feels that he should accomplish something in his life. He wants to utilize his potentials to the maximum extent and desires to become what one is capable of becoming. Though everyone is capable of self-actualization, many do not reach this stage. This need is fully satisfied rarely.

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McClelland and Maslow Theory. (2016, Oct 19). Retrieved from

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