Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50’s USA. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs remains valid today for understanding human motivation and for management training. Abraham Maslow’s key book, Motivation and Personality, was first published in 1954 (second edition 1970). Maslow was born in New York in 1908 and died in 1970, although various publications appear in Maslow’s name in later years.

Maslow’s PhD in psychology in 1934 at the University of Wisconsin formed the basis of his motivational research, initially studying rhesus monkeys. Maslow later moved to New York’s Brooklyn College. Maslow’s original five-stage Hierarchy of Needs model is attributable to Maslow, later versions are not. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was later variously developed by other people.

Each of us is motivated by needs. Our most basic needs are inborn, having evolved over tens of thousands of years. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps to explain how these needs motivate us all. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn, starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself. Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher order needs of influence and personal development. Conversely, if the things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, we are no longer concerned about the maintenance of our higher order needs.

Maslow’s original Hierarchy of Needs model was developed between 1943-1954, and first widely published in Motivation and Personality in 1954. At this time the Hierarchy of Needs model comprised five needs. This original version remains for most people the definitive Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Self-Actualisation needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

1970’s adapted Hierarchy of Needs Model, including Cognitive and Aesthetic needs

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Cognitive needs – knowledge, meaning, etc.

6. Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

7. Self-Actualisation needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

1990’s adapted Hierarchy of Needs including Transcendence needs

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Cognitive needs – knowledge, meaning, etc.

6. Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

7. Self-Actualisation needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

8. Transcendence needs – helping others to achieve self actualisation.

Maslow said that needs must be satisfied in the given order. Aims and drive always shift to next higher order needs. Levels 1 to 4 are deficiency motivators; level 5, and by implication 6 to 8, are growth motivators and relatively rarely found. The thwarting of needs is usually a cause of stress, and is particularly so at level 4.

Examples:- You can’t motivate someone to achieve their sales target (level 4) when they’re having problems with their marriage (level 3).  You can’t expect someone to work as a team member (level 3) when they’re having their house re-possessed (level 2).

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