Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Motivation, Psychology Pages: 5 (1414 words) Published: April 22, 2013
1. Introduction
In the field of management, motivating employees is a very important issue that managers have to consider. Research has shown in many cases that companies with motivated and satisfied employees are more efficient and productive. Considering the goal of the company, this can lead to higher profits and moreover to a good internal corporate culture. How can managers accomplish this task? Is it effective using Maslow’s theory to motivate employees? This paper will analyze why managers should not follow Maslow’s theory of needs in order to motivate employees. To prove this statement, the expose will focus on the model of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, after giving a brief description of motivation. In addition the paper will examine how, according to Maslow, managers can satisfy these needs in a company. Furthermore the weaknesses are pointed out, also with the help of research studies. At the end, Alderfer’s ERG Theory is compared to Maslow’s theory , as he reshaped the hierarchy of needs, which will provide a better understanding of Maslow’s theory and especially of the weaknesses. Although Maslow’s theory is often used to illustrate the concept of motivation, it is not a reliable theory when utilizing it in practice. 2. Motivation

In the context of Psychology motivation can be described as ‘ processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal ‘(Robbins 2007: 186). Many managers who do not see motivation in their employees tend to characterize them as lazy. However motivation is not a personal trait, and therefore can always be taught. This concludes that one should not deal with the question whether someone is motivated, instead one should find out what is causing the motivation or lack of motivation (Robbins 2007: 186) In the 1950’s some of the first need theories that explain how work-related behavior can be driven by satisfying needs, were formulated (Furnham 1992: 128). 3. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The need hierarchy which is also associated with a pyramid , is divided into five levels which represent five basic needs. Maslow assumed that an individual had five needs which are activated in a hierarchical order. It was based on the prepotency of needs, meaning that a need emerged as a motivator as soon as a lower-need was satisfied (Heylighen 1992: 40) 3.1 Model

* Physiological Needs – food, water , air , shelter
* Safety Needs – security, stability, protection
* Love and Belongingness Needs– relationships, friends, family, socializing * Self-esteem Needs – achievement, reputation, independence, prestige * Self-actualization Needs – becoming everything one is capable of becoming (Maslow 1970 : 39-46)

Counter argument: Maslow’s theory claims that all needs are not equal. In general, one might approve this statement as in many cases lower order needs take priority over higher order needs. However, in certain situations e. g escaping danger, hunger might be unimportant (Kalat 2008: 377). Therefore the hierarchical model does not provide an accurate picture of reality and does not consider these exceptions.

3.2 Application on Management
As Maslow claims, that once a need is satisfied, it does not serve as a motivator anymore, managers for example cannot only pay their employees more money, as this need will eventually be satisfied and no longer be a motivator. Instead they have to find other ways to satisfy the different needs (Robbins: 187) In the context of an organization (Sadri 2011 : 45-48) :

* Physiological Needs – salaries, wages, bonuses
* Safety Needs – health insurances, retirement plans
* Love and Belongingness Needs - teamwork, company festivals, clubs * Self-esteem Needs –recognition, praise, competitions, promotions * Self-actualization Needs- tution reimbursement programs Counter argument: Maslow argues that a ‘satisfied need no longer motivates’. (Robbins 2007: 187)....

Bibliography: Berl,R.L, Williamson, N.C., Powell,T.(1984) Industrial Salesforce Motivation: A Critique and Test of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 4(1), 33-39. Retrieved 26/04/2012 from EBSCO
Cole, G.A
Kreitner,R., Kinicki A. (2007) Organizational Behaviour (7th edition ).New York : McGraw-Hill

Maslow, A.H (1970) Motivation and Personality.(2nd edition). New York: Harper & Row Publishers
Sadri, G
Robbins, S.P, Judge,T.A.(2007) Organizational Behavior (12th edition) New Jersey: Pearson Education
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