There are various theories of human development, each of which has a different approach in explaining maturity and human development. The theories have different definitions and explanations of being human. The theories also focus on the ways on how to understand human response to collective working and to challenges in life. It is important that individuals, especially managers, have a clear understanding of these theories. This will help them to have in depth insights and ways with which they can apply in order to an effective work force that will accomplish the organization’s objectives. The manager will also use this knowledge to ensure harmony, unity, discipline and transparency at the place of work by instilling valuable work ethics in the organization’s culture.
Abraham Maslow proposed a theory in human development. The theory is referred to as Maslow’s theory of human motivation. Maslow based his theory on the human needs and what motivates them at different stages in their development. Human beings differ from each other. Every individual has their own desires and needs. This theory is important in understanding management, motivation and human development. Managers use this theory to establish a list of needs and responsibilities that are necessary in creating a conducive and favorable environment at the work place. The Maslow’s theory has five important stages for human beings. In those five stages, individuals reach each stage at different ages in their maturity as well as career development.
The five stages of the theory of human development according to Abraham Maslow are ranked according to their necessity for individuals and also the environment in which they are. The stages ranked from the basic are; physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and finally self actualization. Maslow argued that every individual is motivated by certain needs, most of which are inborn. As an individual matures and develops, their needs change and evolve. The hierarchy of needs was developed by Maslow in his attempt to illustrate that individuals seek to satisfy their needs according to priority. Therefore, according to Maslow, the five orders are pre-requisites to one another in that one order must be satisfied before an individual seeks to satisfy the next order.
In personal development, the lower orders of needs must be satisfied before an individual concerns themselves with the other higher orders of needs. More so, as personal developments occur and an individual experiences personal development, the lower order needs remain important to their personal development. If any of the lower needs are taken away from an individual, they will no longer concentrate on achieving their objective of acquiring the higher needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The individual will focus mainly on getting back the lower needs.
The most basic need in Maslow’s order of hierarchy of needs is the physiological and biological needs. This comprises of the basic needs for all human beings to live. They include food, shelter, air, drink, sleep, sex and warmth. These needs are necessary to even those who do not afford them in order to survive. The next level in the hierarchy is safety. An individual has to feel safe in whatever environment they are. The requirements for an individual’s safety needs are security, protection elements, limits, stability, law and order. The third need in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the need for love and sense of belonging. Individuals require love from the people around them to feel they belong somewhere and that they are appreciated. This need is satisfied by family, relationships, work groups and affection. The forth need in the hierarchy is esteem. Esteem is the feeling of self worth based on what an individual does, who they associate with and what they have achieved in their life. They include mastery, status, prestige, self esteem, independence, dominance and managerial responsibility. The fifth and final stage in the hierarchy of needs is the self actualization stage. This stage is regarded as the pinnacle of personal achievement. This is when an individual has self fulfillment of realizing their personal dreams and potential in life. At this point, the individual experiences the personal growth as well as the peak experiences they wish they could achieve.
The five needs in Maslow’s hierarchy must be satisfied in the specific order that they are given. Individuals’ drive and aim usually shift to a higher order only when the lower needs are satisfied and realized. The first four level of the hierarchy are referred to as deficiency motivators while the fifth which is self actualization is a growth motivator. Self actualization is rarely achieved. The needs in the hierarchy can be thwarted mainly because of stress during the fourth level. For instance, individuals cannot achieve their professional goals when they are experiencing marital issues. That is the third level thwarting the fourth level. Another example is ; one cannot expect to work in a team when they are having a rough time meeting their mortgage requirements. This is the third level being thwarted by the second level.
Abraham Maslow’s theory can be used in management to effectively manage employees at the work place and achieve organizational goals. The theory can also be used in monitoring the human development and maturity of individuals from the time they join an organization as junior employees and their progress in the organization. The theory can be used by managers in the advertising and sales departments of organizations to achieve their targets. The products of an organization can be classified on particular levels of the Maslow hierarchy. From that point, the management can identify the best way to market the product.
Managers can use the theory by Abraham Maslow to motivate their employees to work and achieve the goals of the organization. Through this theory, the manager will be able to identify the needs of the various employees in the company and know how best to deal with them. The manager can use the hierarchy of needs to motivate employees based on the post an employee occupies. The managers can motivate employees by giving them recognition through promotions or salary increases. The self actualization concept my Abraham Maslow can be directly related to the opportunities and challenges that employees and organizations face in the present world. All organizations as well as individual employees aim to attain their purpose and develop themselves both professionally and as an individual.
Employees, just like organization owners and top directors, have both basic human needs as well as the right to seek opportunities for self actualization. Presently, there are many employers and organizations that are increasingly focusing on the need to motivate their employees by helping them achieve self actualization. This is illustrated by organizations’ genuine care, encouragement and understanding approach towards their employees’ personal growth to achieve self actualization. This even goes beyond work related development and training. The previously famous theory X where managers treated employees like slaves, pushing and ordering them around is no longer applied. Autocratic oriented management is now much organized and employees have freedom to develop and realize their individual goals while working for a given organization.
The most successful organizations today have learnt to build sustainable success on compassionate and serious commitment towards helping their employees and to some extent the society at large to pursue and realize their individual unique potential. This is because when an individual develops in line with their personal will, they are more likely to automatically be effective and valuable to their employers. Therefore, it is important that managers should help their employees pursue their personal interests even as they concentrate on helping the organization to develop. Therefore, special talents, hobbies, interests, new experiences, new and exceptional skills, behaviors, attributes and work related wisdom of the employees should be recognized and respected by managers. They should then nurture these attributes of every employee because it will be a way of offering support to personal development of the employees. Only then will the employees grow personally and work efficiently. Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation is the most appropriate theory that the managers should consider when making decisions on personal development for the employees because the theory is practical and easy to understand and apply in any organization.
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