Needs Hierarchy Theory of Motivation

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a. One of the most widely mentioned theories of motivation is the hierarchy of needs theory put forth by psychologist Abraham Maslow. He was known for establishing the theory of a hierarchy, writing that the needs of human beings can act as motivators when those very needs remain unsatisfied. In order to address a need of a higher level, the immediate lower level of need must be satisfied initially. Maslow’s studied extensively exemplary people like Einstein, Roosevelt rather than mentally ill or neurotic people. This was in itself a radical deviation from the popular schools of psychology of his day, Freud and Skinner who saw little difference between animalistic and humane motivations.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs was an alternative to the depressing determinism of Freud and Skinner. He felt that people are basically trustworthy, self-protecting, and self-governing. Humans tend toward growth and love. Although there is a continuous cycle of human wars, murder, deceit, etc., he believed that violence is not what human nature is meant to be like. Violence and other evils occur when human needs are thwarted. In other words, people who are deprived of lower needs such as safety may defend themselves by violent means.

The basic human needs placed by Maslow in an ascending order of importance are shown below

1. Physiological Needs – Physiological needs are the very basic needs such as air, water, food, sleep, sex etc for sustaining life. When these are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation, pain discomfort. These feelings motivate us to alleviate them as soon as possible to establish homeostasis, once they are alleviated however we proceed to think of other thing. Maslow therefore took the position that until these needs are satisfied to the degree necessary to maintain life, other needs will not motivate people.

2. Security/Safety Needs – These are the needs to be free of physical danger and the fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter. They have to do with establishing stability and consistency in a chaotic world, these needs are mostly therefore psychological in nature. We need the security of a home and family, however if a family is dysfunctional then the members cannot proceed to the next level as she is constantly concerned of her safety. Love and belongingness have to wait until she is no longer cringing in fear. Religion at times allows us the comfort of a secure, safe place after we die and escape the insecurities of this world, unfortunately however a great number of people are abundantly stuck at this level.

3. Affiliation/Acceptance/Love Needs – Love and belongingness are next on the ladder. Humans have a innate desire to belong to groups, clubs, religious clubs, family, gangs, communities and a greater association of individuals due to their social nature. We need to feel adored, loved and accepted by others. Performers appreciate applause, tributes and graciousness. We need to be needed and appreciate various items, tools, products and lifestyles that encourage greater camaraderie and gathering. The necessity therefore of communal meetings, weekend parties or even a cafeteria lunch table inclusion therefore lies strongly at this level.  Looked at negatively, you become increasing susceptible to loneliness and social anxieties. 4. Esteem Needs – Once people begin to satisfy their need to belong, they tend to want to be held in esteem both by themselves and by others. This kind of need produces such satisfactions such as power, prestige, status and self-confidence. There are two types of esteem needs. First is self-esteem which results from competence or mastery of a task. Second, there’s the attention and recognition that comes from others. This is on par with the belongingness level; however, wanting admiration has to do with the need for power.  People who have all of their lower needs satisfied, often drive very expensive cars because doing so raises their level of esteem. The...
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