The classic theory, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is supposed to help us to understand human motivation. Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50s USA, and the Hierarchy of Needs theory remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development. Indeed, Maslow’s ideas surrounding the Hierarchy of Needs concerning the responsibility of employers to provide a workplace environment that encourages and enables employees to fulfil their own unique potential (self-actualization) are today more relevant than ever. Abraham Maslow’s book Motivation and Personality, published in 1954 (second edition 1970) introduced the Hierarchy of Needs, and Maslow extended his ideas in other work, notably his later book Toward A Psychology Of Being, a significant and relevant commentary, which has been revised in recent times by Richard Lowry, who is in his Own right a leading academic in the field of motivational psychology.
Each of us is motivated by needs. Our most basic needs are inborn, having evolved over tens of thousands of years. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps to explain how these needs motivate us all.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn, starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself.
Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher order needs of influence and personal development.
Conversely, if the things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, we are no longer concerned about the maintenance of our higher order needs.
Maslow’s original Hierarchy of Needs model was developed between 1943-1954, and first widely published in Motivation and Personality in 1954. At this time the Hierarchy of Needs model comprised five needs. This original version remains for most people the definitive Hierarchy of Needs.
(a) Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
(b) Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
(c) Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
(d) Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
(e) Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.