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Maslow Hierarchy Theory Of Motivation

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Describe about the Maslow Hierarchy Theory of Motivation.



Maslow hierarchy theory of motivation is the research thought of Abraham Harold Maslow. He was an American psychologist and his all research work stressed to focus on positive    qualities of people and not on the negatives. Maslow always questioned himself to understand human nature and know what the driving forces that motivates the people most in their lives. Abraham Maslow being an expert in the subject matter of psychology paid close attention to the human behavior in different situations and on various parameters when needs few or all gets fulfilled or remain narrowed away. Positive outcomes and thoughts were always successful in creating healthy environment and motivates people to bring best of them. (Keith, 1973)

Maslow always have positive belief that people always have ability to achieve their desired goals. He did not denied that situations in one’s life are always powerful to shift focus from good to bad and vice-versa. Maslow theory of motivation helped in understanding human behavior and reactions and thus, action plans were easy to take care of their desires. (Andrew, 1991)  


Maslow Hierarchy Theory of Motivation

Maslow hierarchy theory of motivation is about five needs of human. This theory believes that a need that is not satisfied dominates the behavior of an individual.

Maslow Need Hierarchy Theory have five important needs that are structured in the level of their importance.

1-Physiological needs.

2-Security/Safety needs

3-Social needs

4- Self-Esteem needs

5-Self-Actualization needs 

Physiological needs- These needs are basic and their fulfillment provides satisfaction and leads to continuity of life. Such basic needs are desire to have food when hungry, drink water when thirsty or sleep when tired .So these needs can also be called as priority needs. Such need are must to be fulfilled in order of the survival of the human race. (Joshi, 2011)

Security needs- Once physiological needs are met, next in queue are safety or security needs. The need to make future secure, need of the family, health, property form the security needs. Job security is on important as it brings monetary benefits for the present and also for future such as provident funds, pension, and gratuity and so on. (Keith, 1973)

Social needs- The need of belongings is one of the greatest needs of the human beings. We live in social environment and acceptance by social group or individuals is desired .Human beings strives for stronger relations such as friendship, family when they become socially stable. (Andrew, 1991)

Esteem needs- It is more important for human that others should realize his worth. The need of confidence, achievement, and respect of others are self-esteem needs. It is also the need for status and power.

Self-Actualization needs- As per Maslow “what a man can be should be”. A self-actualized person have confidence to trust his instincts and is unmindful of the physical surroundings. Such needs brings best in the people.

Maslow hierarchy theory of motivation is detailed concept and need well illustrated examples are required to understand the theory. We will take each of the motivational needs one at a time. 

It is crucially important to understand the pyramid of hierarchy and know on what basis Abraham Maslow defined the needs and did the grading of the motivational needs. The basic genre is that need which motivates the most stands at the higher rank in Maslow theory but again basic needs holds importance as it is the need of survival. (Griffin)

Maslow theory of motivation is applied with assumptions such as human character is positive and goodness or frustration existence is natural phenomenon. 

Maslow theory believed that human brains are pretty complex and there runs parallel processes at a       time and therefore there are chances of being motivated by various levels of motivation as defined in Maslow’s theory of motivation. Maslow stated that a certain need "dominates" the human organism .Thus Maslow acknowledged the likelihood that the different levels of motivation could occur at any time in the human mind, but he focused on identifying the basic types of motivation and the order in which they should be met. (Joshi, 2011)  


Physiological needs: Maslow theory stated that physiological needs are actually dimensions of money motives. Human beings are motivated to earn more and more to take care of their hunger, sleep, thirst and these needs get multiplied when a person moves from living alone to being a family man. We can understand it well that money is the best source to fulfill some of physiological needs. When such needs does not get fulfilled, it is not possible for human system to operate and it may fail. Here failure is the end of the human phase. For example, even if all physiological needs of human are getting fulfilled except food/diet, the lack of discontented need will overshadow the other needs and survival will be in danger. In a nutshell, lower needs take priority until met and also a need fulfilled no longer motivates. (Andrew, 1991) 

Safety needs: As per Maslow, safety or security needs functions mainly on the psychological level of human beings. Life always does not co-operate to fulfill human needs and there are repercussions for the same. Now security needs doesn’t always count for being physically safe and secure but there can be financial safety, well-being of oneself and family or personal safety against the acts of accidents and so on. 

Social needs: Maslow theory of motivation states that social needs come into picture after physiological needs and security needs are fulfilled. It is the need of love and belongingness. Maslow did not deny from a fact and opened it as-when a need is fulfilled for a longer time, it tends to practically become vague. There could also be situations where the social need of motivation crisscross their self-esteem. In such situations, human being expect to be respected first and then loved. (Keith, 1973) 

Esteem needs: When the point of discussion is esteem needs, Maslow theory of motivation have defined it in a very technically and emotionally pattern. Esteem need is the combination of self-esteem and self-respect. Its meaning in a nutshell is to be accepted by others and also valued. By valued, it means people to understand your worth. (Griffin) 

Self-Actualization needs- It seems to be ultimate goal of achievement. Self-actualization refers to believing in oneself and making efforts with all your potential to become what one can be. There can be anything a person can be dedicated to such as efforts to be a good father, desire to be renowned artist or singer or athlete. 

Criticism of Maslow theory of motivation-Researchers have supported the concepts of the theory but not the order of the need presented in the theory. It was also said that though Maslow observed and highlighted the human needs but did not provided concrete guidance on how should managers take care of employee needs and cater them as per bandwidth of the organization. There could be ups and downs in order the needs get fulfilled and a harsh fact cannot be denied that all needs cannot be fulfilled always.  



Griffin, E., A First Look at Communication Theory

Joshi, V. 2011, Leadership and Personality Development,Symbiosis centre for distance learning,Pune

Wikipedia, Maslow's hierarchy of needs,

Andrew Neher, “Maslow’s Theory of Motivation: A Critique,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 31, No. 3, 1991, pp. 89-112.

Keith Miller, The Becomers, Word, Waco, Tex., 1973, pp. 89- 109.


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