Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an example of a content theory of motivation

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

 Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs to explain motivation.


Maslow's theory may be summarised and simplified by saying that everyone wants certain things throughout life, and these can be placed in five ascending categories, namely:

  • Basic or physiological needs - The things needed to stay alive: food, shelter and clothing. Such needs can be satisfied by money.
  • Safety or security needs - People want protection against unemployment, the consequences of sickness and retirement as well as being safeguarded against unfair treatment. These needs can be satisfied by the rules of employment, i.e. pension scheme, sick fund, employment legislation etc
  • Social needs - The vast majority of people want to be part of a group and it is only through group activity that this need can be satisfied. Thus the way that work is organised, enabling people to feel part of a group, is fundamental to satisfaction of this need.
  • Ego needs - These needs may be expressed as wanting the esteem of other people and thinking well of oneself. While status and promotion can offer short-term satisfaction, building up the job itself and giving people a greater say in how their work is organised gives satisfaction of a more permanent nature. An example might be being asked to lead groups on a course.
  • Self-fulfilment needs - This is quite simply the need to achieve something worthwhile in life. It is a need that is satisfied only by continuing success, for example opening and running a new office.

Maslow suggested that people start at the bottom of the hierarchy and work up:

  • If a need is not satisfied then the person will be motivated to act in order to meet it. For example, if hungry then you do something to get food.
  • Once a need is satisfied, then the person moves up the next need in the hierarchy. For example, once you have eaten something the satisfied need no longer motivates but safety needs might, etc.
Created at 8/10/2012 11:42 AM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Last modified at 9/25/2013 3:27 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

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