Maslow’s Theory: A Human’s Hierarchy of Needs
Jason T. Heilman
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 unimportant to the individual and that person will move to the next higher level of need, this concept is referred to as the progression principle (Schermerhorn, 2013). As mentioned above, Maslow’s theory is based on five levels with the bottom level being made up of the most important needs of a person. The first level, Physiological needs includes basic human needs such as food, water and air. The next level, Safety needs is a person’s need for protection and stability from day-to-day. The third level, Social needs is the need for love, affection, and a sense of belonging. Higher on the hierarchy scale is Esteem needs, which includes respect, prestige, recognition, self-esteem and a need for competence. The final level, Self-actualization, includes the need for self-fulfillment (Schermerhorn, 2013).
To obtain the highest level of performance from employees, managers must understand what makes a person operate. When taking into account Maslow’s theory, a manager must understand what needs are the most important for each employee (Boundless, 2014). Under the physiological needs level, employers must take into account the environment in which the employee works. If the air quality is bad in the area an employee works or availability to food is non-existent, an employee’s basic need is not being met and they may be more focused on meeting the need that actually being productive. Other factors that could also affect an employee’s performance include poor duty schedule or long hours. Additionally, a person beginning their career will be very concerned with physiological needs such as adequate wages and stable income and security needs such as benefits and a safe work environment. We all want a good salary to meet the needs of our family and we want to work in a stable environment. The need for safety is also a concern that may affect a person on a day-to-day basis. Managers can ease an employee’s concerns by ensuring...
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/
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