Maslow, Alderfer, and Herzberg each came up with their own theory defining motivation. Maslow created his Hierarchy of Needs, Alderfer the ERG Model, and Herzberg the two-factor theory.

In Maslow's estimation, the critical factors for taking behavioral decisions are net profit—the observed value of a reward minus its observed cost—the...

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Maslow, Alderfer, and Herzberg each came up with their own theory defining motivation. Maslow created his Hierarchy of Needs, Alderfer the ERG Model, and Herzberg the two-factor theory.

In Maslow's estimation, the critical factors for taking behavioral decisions are net profit—the observed value of a reward minus its observed cost—the cost of failing, the perceived probability of success, and the individual's confidence in their calculation.

Comparatively, Herzberg created what he called hygiene factors. These are groups of variables that are split into two groups: those directly related to motivation and those that aren't. Motivational factors under this theory include the work itself, the possibility for growth, responsibility, and recognition, among others.

Finally, Alderfer's ERG model focuses on three distinct groups of needs. He defines these in the categories of relatedness needs, existence needs, and growth needs.

After understanding how each model works, we can draw some similarities between them. For example, all three models account for psychological needs in some capacity. Maslow calls them psychological needs, Alderfer calls them existence needs, and Herzberg references them with his appeal to the importance of status and relationships when making a decision.

There are also differences between the models. Much of this difference can be found in the specific weight that each model gives to each motivational factor. For example, Maslow's hierarchy of needs begins with psychological needs. However, Herzberg's begins with working conditions and pay. Thus, we see that each model has its own unique explanation to define the root of any particular behavior. These are just a few examples, but there are certainly many more similarities and differences that you can draw from these models.