Need-Press Analysis

In the 1930's a personality theorist at Harvard by the name of Henry Murray presented a list of over 20 needs that he believed constituted basic personality traits. Among these were the needs for achievement, affiliation, dominance, order, understanding, play, autonomy, aggression, and sex. Murray defined a need as a force, located somewhere in the brain that creates tension when aroused. When a need is aroused, the person seeks goal objects that reduce the tension. Individuals learn to associate particular goal objects with satisfaction of particular needs. Thus, one person might call friends to satisfy affiliation needs whereas another might go shopping.

According to Murray, all people have the same basic psychological needs but not at the same degree. Murray proposed that there is a hierarchy of needs, unique to each person, in which some of the needs are more important than others (are prepotent). When these prepotent needs are satisfied, the other needs become more important. He used a variety of methods to measure needs, including self-report, questionnaires, interviews, observation of behavior, and projective techniques. The projective technique he developed is known as the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), and it has been particularly influential in research on personality and motivation. People are shown a standard set of rather ambiguous pictures and asked to compose stories about them. Their needs purportedly influence the stories they compose (i.e., they will project themselves into the stories). Murray's theory of needs is one of the psychological theories. His ideas and methods of research are important because of the influence they had on subsequent theorists and researchers.

Need Press Analysis

The original Need-Press Inventory was constructed by Aderman & Hershenson (1967) and was adopted from Edwards (1957) and Murray (1938). The Need-Press system consists of three objective work related inventories entitled: Individual Needs Analysis Inventory (INAI), Ideal Organization Climate Inventory (IOCI), and Organization Climate Inventory (OCI). All three inventories utilize the same 18 variables and each variable contains nine items such that three of them deal with the job setting, (nature of the task), three have to do with interpersonal relations (on the job), and three are benefit-incentive items.

Initial data for all three inventories were obtained on a cross section of successful managers. Obtained scores on the Individual Needs Analysis Inventory (INAI) basically shows the need make-up (temperamental structure) of a manager as he/she relates to the work situation. The pattern of scores (profile) reveals, more specifically, the strengths and weaknesses of the manager in terms of his/her current natural predispositions. Appropriate feedback, especially on the ascertained “short-circuits” will enable the manager's strengths to come to the fore more readily and to be utilized more appropriately.

Need-Press Analysis

The Ideal Organization Climate Inventory (IOCI) results indicate two relevant bits of information. First, by comparing the obtained pattern of scores with the normative profile of successful managers, the manager's grasp of organizational functioning is readily ascertained. And, secondly the obtained score on each variable can be compared to his/her score on the INAI. Thus, it is possible to determine the areas where there is appropriate degree of synergism (correspondence) between the manager's natural inclinations and what he/she deems to be appropriate in a viably functioning organization. Comparing these two sets of scores (INAI vs. IOCI) can also pinpoint the areas of conflict (if they exist) between the reaction tendencies of the manager and what he/she considers to be appropriate in an ideal organizational setting. Conflicts of this sort lead to inconsistent behavior over time. Depending on which is predominate at the moment.

The Organization Climate Inventory (OCI) portrays the manner in which the manager perceives his/her organization. When data are obtained for his/her particular organization they can be compared to the manager's obtained scores, thus indicating if there are any gross perceptual distortions. Further, the discrepancy between the cores of the OCI and the IOCI can be examed. Areas of job satisfaction would be indicated by a high degree of congruence between the two scores and similarly variables that show a large discrepancy between the two scores would reveal specific areas of job dissatisfaction. The discrepancy between the OCI and IOCI scores can also be summated over 18 variables to give a single, overall index of job satisfaction (sigma).

In essence, the integrated pattern of scores on the Need-Press profile is a work-related psychological x-ray that objectively depicts the interaction between a manger's natural proclivities and his/her perception of organizational factors. This, in turn, will enable one to predict a manager's behavioral manifestations in the setting in which he/she is called upon to function.

Need-Press Analysis

The productivity of any organization is basically determined by the caliber of its management. It is also axiomatic that a manager cannot really manage anything effectively – be it his/her time, his/her subordinates, or even the organization – if he/she cannot manage himself/herself properly. This is especially critical to realize, since strengths and weaknesses get magnified as one ascends the organizational ladder. Hence, proper self-disclosure is the first, and most basic, step to effective managerial functioning. This is meaningfully accomplished by astute (professional) feedback of the Need-Press analysis profile of the three related inventories. The system is both comprehensive and comprehensible, simple but not simple minded.

Aside from a detached, in-depth feedback session, how else can these inventories be utilized? For one, it can be used developmentally by re-taking the inventories at a later time to determine the impact of the feedback session and any coaching or other interventions that took place in the interim. Applicants can also be given two of the inventories (INAI and IOCI) by which the probability of their success can be determined. Among incumbents, the profiles can be employed as a major thrust is setting up a cutting edge type of succession planning program. Moreover, a profile can be reviewed with the testee's manager to coach him/her concerning effective ways to deal with and develop his/her subordinates.

Besides developing data for a particular organization to compare it with organizations in general, a “functional analysis” can also be performed on the press (climate) data. This is done by determining the percentage of incumbents who had deviations of three or more between the perceived climate (OCI) and the ideal climate (IOCI) for each 18 variables. This analysis provides information about perceived deficits in the organization or any particular unit or department so that training programs can be tailored to the specific needs of the incumbents. In sum, the need-press analysis is a system that readily addresses a broad spectrum of human resources concerns.