Maslow Was Wrong

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Motivation, Abraham Maslow Pages: 9 (2990 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Nain’sPorous Hierarchy of Needs: An Alternative to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs1.

“Maslow’s model treats all men as pre-programmed robots, all of whom have the same pre-programmed pattern of needs.” Maslow Hierarchy of Needs2:


Maslow‟s Need Theory supposedly forms as one of the bedrock principles of psychology3, and it has been applied to diverse fields like organizational behaviour4, organizational/&behavioural economics5, and management studies6 and beyond7. In the fields of organizational behaviour, organizational economics, and management studies it has been applied by using the said theory as a basis to serveas a theory of motivation for the employees by understanding the employees‟ needs.


By Bhavya Nain, an independent legal professional. Author can be contacted at:; 2

(A six need revised model based on Maslow‟s later writings in 1970s),See Amit Abraham, General Psychology, Tata McGraw Hill(2011),p.366; However, there are also other so called Maslow‟s need modelsas given in Ward, David and Lasen, Marta (2009): An Overview of Needs Theories behind Consumerism, MPRA.[the most famous Maslow Model being the five need model based on his writings in 1940s-50s]. 3

Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, “Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow‟s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification”, Review of General Psychology, 2006, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 302–317; Although Maslow referred to additional aspects of motivation (in 1970s) , 'Cognitive' and 'Aesthetic', he did not include them as formal levels or stages within his own expression of the Hierarchy of Needs. 4

Mustafa, H. (1992). The contributions of psychology to the study of administrative behaviour, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 5(4), 15; Andrew Neher, Maslow's Theory of Motivation: A Critique, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1991; Vol. 31; p. 89. 5

W. Fred van Raaijand KassayeWandwossen (1978) , Motivation-Need Theories and Consumer Behaviour, Advances in Consumer Research, Volume 05,pp. 590-595;James R. Lindner, Understanding Employee Motivation, Journal of Extension, Vol. 36, No.3 (Jun, 98). 6

Maslow‟s Self-Transcendence: How It Can Enrich Organization Culture and Leadership, International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology,Vol. 2 No. 7; December 2012,pp. 64-71; Dr.Nyameh Jerome, Application of the Maslow‟s hierarchy of need theory; impacts and implications on organizational culture, human resource and employee‟s performance, International Journal of Business and Management Invention, Volume 2, Issue 3 (March. 2013), pp.39-45. 7

Andrew Neher, Maslow's Theory of Motivation: A Critique, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1991; Vol. 31; p. 89 (even in fields of religion, science).

However, the said theory is not without demerits. Maslowhas wrongly given an iron cast hierarchy of needs:Firstly, and most basic, are physiological needs. Then, secondly, safety needs. Then, thirdly, belonging needs. Fourthly, then, self-esteem needs. Fifthly, then, self-actualization needs. Sixthly, then self-transcendence needs8. As per his theory,all themen first aim to satisfy lower (&/ more basic) need (as given lower in their hierarchy model) and then only they aim to satisfy a higher needie.a need shown higher his hierarchy model9. This generalization and his said theory is wrong due to many reasons, which are enunciated herein-under:-

Flaws in Maslow model(s):

Firstly, there can be no iron cast common hierarchy of needs for all. If it were so, all people of world might have been behaviourally similar. It is a known fact that all people are not behaviourally similar. Thus, hierarchy of needs is to be different from person to person. Secondly, the said models assume that certain needs are most basic and, thus, all aim to fulfil them first. It is true that some needs may be basic. But, what is basic for one, may be not...
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