Another well-known need-based theory of motivation, as opposed to hierarchy of needs of satisfaction-dissatisfaction, is the theory developed by McClelland and his associates’. McClelland developed his theory based on Henry Murray’s developed long list of motives and manifest needs used in his early studies of personality. McClelland’s need-theory is closely associated with learning theory, because he believed that needs are learned or acquired by the kinds of events people experienced in their environment and culture.
He found that people who acquire a particular need behave differently from those who do not have. His theory focuses on Murray’s three needs; achievement, power and affiliation. In the literature, these three needs are abbreviated “n Ach”, “n Pow”, and “n Aff” respectively’.
They are defined as follows:
Need for Achievement
This is the drive to excel, to achieve in relation to a set of standard, and to strive to succeed. In other words, need for achievement is a behaviour directed toward competition with a standard of excellence. McClelland found that people with a high need for achievement perform better than those with a moderate or low need for achievement, and noted regional / national differences in achievement motivation.
Through his research, McClelland identified the following three characteristics of high-need achievers:
1. High-need achievers have a strong desire to assume personal responsibility for performing a task for finding a solution to a problem.
2. High-need achievers tend to set moderately difficult goals and take calculated risks.
3. High-need achievers have a strong desire for performance feedback.
Need for Power
The need for power is concerned with making an impact on others, the desire to influence others, the urge to change people, and the desire to make a difference in life. People with a high need for power are people who like to be in control of people and events. This results in ultimate satisfaction to man.
People who have a high need for power are characterized by:
1. A desire to influence and direct somebody else.
2. A desire to exercise control over others.
3. A concern for maintaining leader-follower relations.
Need for Affiliation
The need for affiliation is defined as a desire to establish and maintain friendly and warm relations with other people’. The need for affiliation, in many ways, is similar to Maslow’s social needs.
The people with high need for affiliation have these characteristics:
1. They have a strong desire for acceptance and approval from others.
2. They tend to conform to the wishes of those people whose friendship and companionship they value.
3. They value the feelings of others.
Three Need Theories of Motivation
This Figure is a summary chart of the three need theories of motivation just discussed. The chart shows the parallel relationship between the needs in each of the theories. Maslow refers to higher- lower order needs, whereas Herzberg refers to motivation and hygiene factors.