Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow defined need as a physiological or psychological deficiency that a person feels the compulsion to satisfy. This need can create tensions that can influence a person's work attitudes and behaviors. Maslow formed a theory based on his definition of need that proposes that humans are motivated by multiple needs and that these needs exist in a hierarchical order. His premise is that only an unsatisfied need can influence behavior; a satisfied need is not a motivator.

Maslow's theory is based on the following two principles:

Deficit principle: A satisfied need no longer motivates behavior because people act to satisfy deprived needs.

Progression principle: The five needs he identified exist in a hierarchy, which means that a need at any level only comes into play after a lower-level need has been satisfied.

In his theory, Maslow identified five levels of human needs. Table 1 illustrates these five levels and provides suggestions for satisfying each need.

TABLE 1 Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs
Higher Level Needs

To Satisfy, Offer:

Self-actualization needs

Creative and challenging work

Participation in decision making

Job flexibility and autonomy

Esteem needs

Responsibility of an important job

Promotion to higher status job

Praise and recognition from boss

Lower Level Needs

To Satisfy, Offer:

Social needs

Friendly coworkers

Interaction with customers

Pleasant supervisor

Safety needs

Safe working conditions

Job security

Base compensation and benefits

Physiological needs

Rest and refreshment breaks

Physical comfort on the job

Reasonable work hours

Although research has not verified the strict deficit and progression principles of Maslow's theory, his ideas can help managers understand and satisfy the needs of employees.

References:

http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Motivation-Theories-Individual-Needs.topicArticleId-8944,articleId-8908.html

View Full Essay