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Maslow’s Theory: A Human’s Hierarchy of Needs
Jason T. Heilman
Grantham University

Maslow’s Theory: A Human’s Hierarchy of Needs

Every person is driven by different factors. Some enjoy a challenge; others are motivated by money while others simply want human interaction. Many researchers designed studies to determine what drives an individual to perform and they developed their own theories on how managers can get the highest levels of productivity from their employees while also producing a quality product. One researcher and psychologist, Abraham Maslow, also developed a theory, which impacted the human behavioral approach to management (Schermerhorn, 2013). In this paper, I will discuss the history of Maslow’s theory, identify and explain human needs as described by Maslow, why this theory is important to managers and how they can best implement Maslow’s theory to gain a competitive advantage. Abraham Maslow’s principal subject of study was human motivation. He is most famous for developing his hierarchy of needs theory, which explains what drives people’s motivation and behavior. Although Maslow’s fellow psychologists did not immediately accept his ideas, they were picked up and adopted by a number of prominent organization theorists, most notably Rensis Likert, Frederick Herzberg and Douglas McGregor, who used the hierarchy of needs to explain many aspects of organization behavior (Rose, M., 1978). As a starting point for motivation theory in application, Maslow insisted that all physiological needs must be answered. If a man does not have air to breathe, or bread to eat, it is likely he will only concern himself with fulfilling his current need. Once these needs are satisfied, however, Maslow describes how humans are ready to move to the second and subsequent levels in the hierarchy. Based on Maslow’s theory, behavior is dominated only by unsatisfied needs. For example, if a person’s hunger is satisfied it becomes



References: Boundless (2014). Maslow 's Hierarchy of Needs. Boundless Management. Boundless, Retrieved 05 Jan 2015 from: https://www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/organizational-behavior-5/employee-needs-and-motivation-46/maslow-s-hierarchy-of-needs-171-7621/ Linder, J.R. (1998). Understanding Employee Motivation. Journal of Extension, 36(3). Retrieved on 10 Jan 2015 from: http://www.joe.org/joe/1998june/rb3.php Rose, M. (1978). Industrial Behavior. Theoretical Development since Taylor, London: Penguin. Schermerhorn, J. (2013). Management. (12th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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