Abraham Maslow suggests that all actions of human beings are motivated to achieve some needs. Maslow, in his paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’ talks about hierarchy of needs and the same idea was discussed in his book, ‘Motivation and Personality’. This paper intends to discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and further examines how Maslow’s pyramid is used.
Five levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Maslow describes hierarchy of needs in form of a pyramid which is divided into different levels. The Lowest level indicates very basic needs while several multifarious needs are placed at the highest level of the hierarchical pyramid (McGuire).
Basic needs, which are in the lowest level, indicate some very basic needs that are necessary for human life. These needs include food, water, fresh air, sleep, sex, excretion etc. Maslow considers these needs as fundamental and all other needs are secondary and irrelevant if these needs are not fulfilled.
Once basic needs are fulfilled, people step ahead at next level that deals with safety and security (McGuire). These needs are also important for endurance of people but not as crucial as the psychological needs.
This level is related to social needs. People feel need of friendship, love and several other things become important for them (McGuire). This level is less important for people in comparison of first two levels of needs.
Self esteem, achievement, confidence, social identity and respect comes at this stage, once all other levels of this hierarchy are achieved.
Self actualization needs
At this level morality, lack of prejudices and creativity are located. People become more concerned with personal growth and less concerned about what others think about them.
Use of Maslow pyramid theory
Maslow theory emphasizes on human motivation by arranging different needs in a systematic order. This theory is applied in organizations to motivate employees by fulfilling their needs as per priority. The basic needs, which is also psychological need, of employees in an organization is salary and working environment. Safety needs of employees come at second level that deals with job security and safe working conditions in an organization. Third level or social level of hierarchy deals with friendly atmosphere in an organization along with a good team. Fourth level, that is about esteem needs, deals with recognition, achievements and fancy job designations. Fifth level of self actualization deals with creativity, promotion and personal growth of people (Sims).
Organizations across the world apply Maslow Hierarchy in order to motivate their employees by fulfilling their different needs. Level 1 and 2 needs are basic needs that are generally governed by different laws; all organizations are required to fulfill basic needs of their employees (Sims). Other needs encouraged employees to perform better. Maslow hierarchy is not only applicable in professional life but it can also apply to personal and social life of individuals. In personal life individuals are governed by this hierarchy, they first look for fulfillment of their basic needs. Once basic needs are satisfied individuals tries to fulfill needs of next level. This process keeps on moving till all needs are satisfied. It is tendency of human being to never get satisfied and keep looking betterment. This psychology is very well described by Maslow in his hierarchy of needs pyramid.
McGuire, Kevin John. Maslow's hierarchy of needs. USA: GRIN Verlag, 2012.
Sims, Ronald R. Managing Organizational Behavior. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002.