Murray’s Theory of Motivation

Murray’s Theory of Motivation

Henry Murray (1893-1988)-American psychologist

Unlike other theorists, Murray studied the combination of internal motivations and external demands.

He emphasized that individuals are integrated, dynamic and complex in nature, and are constantly responding to a specific environment.

Therefore, on the one hand, Murray stressed the role of needs and motives, and on the other hand, he emphasized the environmental press’.

Murray defines a need as a drive that has the potential to prompt a behaviour from the person. Like, the need for affiliation may drive a person to join social organization.

Henry Murray proposed that a series of needs are present, and the combination of needs at that particular time and their individual strength, plays an important role in human motivation. Murray emphasized upon how motivation influences behavior, and not on whether motivation is innate or learned. Research findings have established some relationships between these needs and other psycho-social factors.


  1. Affiliation (Need to be near &enjoyably reciprocate with another). Need for Affiliation is found more in females.
  2. Autonomy (Need to be free & independent of others)
  3. Achievement. Need for Achievement has been found to be positively related with occupational and financial success.
  4. Dominance (Need to control or influence others)
  5. Exhibition (Need to be seen & heard, entertain & entice)
  6. Harm-Avoidance (Need to avoid injury, take precaution)
  7. Nurturance (Need to help, console, nurse the weak)
  8. Order (Need for organization & neatness)
  9. Play (Need for enjoyment & fun)
  10. Sex (Need to form erotic relationships)
  11. Succorance (Need to be loved, nursed, controlled)
  12. Understanding (Need to analyze, speculate, generalize)

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