Abraham Maslow (1954) attempted to synthesize a large body of research related to human motivation. Prior to Maslow, researchers generally focused separately on such factors as biology, achievement, or power to explain what energizes, directs, and sustains human behavior. Maslow posited a hierarchy of human needs based on two groupings: deficiency needs and growth needs. Within the deficiency needs, each lower need must be met before moving to the next higher level. Once each of these needs has been satisfied, if at some future time a deficiency is detected, the individual will act to remove the deficiency. The first four levels are: 1) Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, etc.;
2) Safety/security: out of danger;
3) Belongingness and Love: affiliate with others, be accepted; and 4) Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.
According to Maslow, an individual is ready to act upon the growth needs if and only if the deficiency needs are met. Maslow's initial conceptualization included only one growth need--self-actualization. Self-actualized people are characterized by: 1) being problem-focused; 2) incorporating an ongoing freshness of appreciation of life; 3) a concern about personal growth; and 4) the ability to have peak experiences. Maslow laterdifferentiated the growth need of self-actualization, specifically identifying two of the first growth needs as part of the more general level of self-actualization (Maslow & Lowery, 1998) and one beyond the general level that focused on growth beyond that oriented towards self (Maslow, 1971). They are: 5) Cognitive: to know, to understand, and explore;
6) Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty;
7) Self-actualization: to find self-fulfillment and realize one's potential; and 8) Self-transcendence: to connect to something beyond the ego or to help others find self-fulfillment and realize their potential. Maslow's basic position is that as one becomes more self-actualized and...
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