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Maslow Theory

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Maslow Theory

If the only tool you have is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail."

- Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow was a key theorist behind motivation theory. He developed the hierarchy of needs theory which explains humans' five key needs. This hierarchy of needs can also be applied in the business contex.t

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is a motivation theory. This theory consists of a hierarchy involving five key steps, following the structure from the bottom to the top.

The five key steps are:

  • Psychological needs (bottom)
  • Safety
  • Love and belonging
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualisation (Top)

These steps symbolise employees’ needs. Firstly, the needs at the bottom are the basic and necessary needs that are required to be fulfilled before an individual can aim to achieve needs that are placed at the higher step of the hierarchy.

These five layers of needs are grouped into three categories. The bottom needs fall into the basic needs category which includes needs essential for human survival. Basic needs include Physiological needs, Safety needs. The psychological needs include Love and belonging and Esteem needs, these are the social needs and sense of belonging in the community. Lastly, the Self-fulfilment category covers the final step of needs called self-actualisation. These needs are not as necessary to fulfil as the basic or psychological needs but once they are fulfilled it will make the individual happier.

In business, context managers can use this theory to motivate employees by aiming to achieve their needs in hierarchical order. For example, employers first should make sure basic needs are attained before they can seek to satisfy employees’ needs at a higher level.

Maslow Theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, StudySmarterMaslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, StudySmarter

Maslow’s Theory of Human Needs

Maslow’s theory of human needs is represented by the hierarchy system that displays a person’s needs that are required to be met for a human to live a fulfilling life. Human needs include four steps:

  • physiological needs
  • Safety
  • Love and belonging
  • Esteem

Maslow’s theory of human needs excludes the last step which is self-actualisation. As the final step represents humans reaching their full potential. This step is not achieved by all human beings as achievement of this step is equal to achieving their ideal self. Therefore, it is excluded from the theory of human needs.

Maslow's Theory of Self-Actualization

Self-actualisation is the final and highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. The final stage can only be achieved if all the previous four steps are achieved. As the final stage represents when humans realise their potential and once this step is achieved people can achieve their ‘ideal self’.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Maslow’s Motivation Theory

Maslow’s motivation theory encounters both strengths and weaknesses. The key strengths and weaknesses will be identified in this section.

Strengths

Simple to understand - Theory is simply presented and very easy to understand. The majority of individuals will be able to emphasise Maslow’s theory. For example, the low-skilled labour’s concern will be to achieve basic needs such as food, shelter and being safe. While the company executive will be mostly focused on achieving the self-actualisation ladder to attain their true potential.

Acknowledges human nature - Maslow’s theory represents true human nature. As it is human nature that people are always demanding more in terms of seeking to achieve higher needs once the bottom ones are achieved. For example, once basic needs are satisfied such as food, shelter and job security. Humans demand more such as having social relationships, respect and fulfilment of their potential.

Relevant in all fields - This theory is relevant to the majority of fields. Humans’ priority is to find a way how they can make enough money to buy food. After that comes safety, job security and social needs to meet friends and family.

Weaknesses

Maslow’s theory ignores humans’ different cultural and social backgrounds - Therefore, priorities can differ from person to person. For example, some people may value socialising with friends and family more than safety. As well as people may prioritise being respected by society than safety. For example, the family may buy expensive cars and houses to show off to society and gain respect from others than buying insurance safety plans for the family.

Fails to take into account that individuals may be motivated by intrinsic rewards - Maslow’s theory fails to acknowledge that humans may be motivated by intrinsic rewards such as reaching monetary accomplishments rather than self-actualisation.

Cannot be measured empirically - There is no quantitive measure to calculate to what extent individuals are satisfied with each level before they can aim to attain the next level.

Herzberg's theory of motivation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

Firstly, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory consists of both motivation and hygiene factors. The motivation factors are implemented to employees to engage and motivate them towards work. While hygiene factors are essential and employees expect to receive them in every workplace.

Maslow Theory, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, StudySmarterHerzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, StudySmarter

The key differences between Herzberg’s theory of motivation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory are:

  • Maslow’s theory focuses on human needs and their satisfaction. While Herzberg’s theory focuses on reward, recognition and employment conditions.

  • Maslow’s theory is presented in form of the level of needs from higher to lower. This shows what needs need to be achieved first before humans can aim to attain higher needs. While Herzberg’s theory does not organise motivation and hygiene factors in a specific order.

  • In Maslow’s theory, basic needs such as physiological needs work as motivators for humans. While in Herzberg’s theory basic needs are ignored and only higher needs are considered as motivators.

  • Maslow’s theory acknowledges that human satisfaction comes from the fulfilment of needs. On the other hand, Herzberg’s theory presents factors that lead employees to satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Maslow's Theory - Key Takeaways

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivation theory that includes five key steps of needs. This theory follows the structure of basic needs being placed at the bottom and higher needs at the top: 1) Psychological needs 2) Safety 3) Love and belonging 4) Esteem 5) Self-actualisation.
  • These needs fall into three categories that are: Basic needs - Physiological and safety needs. Psychological needs - Love and belonging and esteem needs. Self-fulfilment - Self-actualisation.
  • The main principle of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is that the bottom needs should be fulfilled first before a human can seek to attain needs at the higher level.
  • The key strengths of Maslow’s theory are that theory is simple to understand, acknowledges human nature and is relevant in all fields.
  • The main weaknesses of Maslow’s theory are that it fails to acknowledge that humans come from different cultural and social backgrounds and that people can be motivated by intrinsic rewards. Additionally, achievement of needs can not be measured empirically.
  • The key differences between Herzberg’s and Maslow’s motivation theories are: That Maslow’s theory focuses on achieving human needs while Herzberg’s focuses on reward, recognition and employment conditions. Moreover, Maslow’s theory is organised from basic to higher needs. While Herzberg’s theory does not have a specific structure and only focuses on the higher needs. Maslow’s theory believes that satisfaction comes from the fulfilment of needs while Herzberg’s theory acknowledges factors that cause satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions about Maslow Theory

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that human behaviour is dictated by 5 categories of needs: 1) Psychological needs 2) Safety 3) Love and belonging 4) Esteem 5) Self-actualisation. 

The basic principle of Maslow's theory is that the need at the bottom needs should be fulfilled first before humans can aim for needs at the higher level. 

Maslow's theory is important as it acknowledges human nature in an easy way to understand and is thus relevant to all fields. 

Master's need hierarchy theory of motivation stated that human motivation is derived from need fulfilment. There are five layers of needs within Maslow's pyramid, grouped into three categories: Basic needs (Physiological and safety needs), Psychological needs (Love & Belonging, Self-esteem), and Self-fulfillment (Self-actualisation).

Final Maslow Theory Quiz

Question

 What is Maslow's theory?

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Answer

Maslow's theory is a motivation theory. This theory is called the hierarchy of needs theory.

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Question

What are the levels of needs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory?

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Answer

Maslow's theory includes five levels which are:

  • Psychological needs (bottom)
  • Safety
  • Love and belonging 
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualization (top)

Show question

Question

What categories does each level of needs fall into?

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Answer

Each level of needs falls into one of three different categories. Which are Basic needs - Physiological and safety needs. Psychological needs - Love and belonging and esteem needs. Self-fulfilment - self-actualization.

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Question

 What level may not be achieved by all human beings?

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Answer

The level of self-actualization may not be achieved by everyone as it is not an essential need as not everyone will be able to be aware of their true potential and ability to achieve their ideal self.

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Question

In a business context, how does Maslow's theory want to motivate employees?

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Answer

Maslow's theory will motivate employees as employees will be motivated to work and earn money to achieve basic needs. Later employees will be motivated to make social connections at work and gain respect from co-workers as they get promoted in their job, etc. Later, some employees can realize their true potential of achieving senior roles. These factors will motivate employees towards working hard. 

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Question

What are the key strengths of Maslow's theory?

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Answer

The key strengths of Maslow's theory are that theory is simple to understand, acknowledges human nature and is relevant in all fields.

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Question

What are the key weaknesses of Maslow's theory?

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Answer

The weaknesses of Maslow's theory are that theory fails to acknowledge that humans come from different cultural and social backgrounds and that people can be motivated by intrinsic rewards. Additionally, that the achievement of needs cannot be measured empirically.

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Question

Why is Maslow's theory simple to understand for the majority?

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Answer

 Maslow's theory is easy to understand as the majority of individuals can emphasize with this theory. For example, low-skilled workers may be concerned about earning a salary to satisfy basic needs such as food and shelter. While senior executives will be aiming to achieve their ideal self by attaining self-actualization needs.

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Question

What are the key differences between Maslow's and Herzberg's theories?

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Answer

The key differences between Herzberg's and Maslow's motivation theories are: That Maslow's theory focuses on achieving human needs while Herzberg's focuses on reward, recognition and employment conditions. Moreover, Maslow's theory is organized from basic to higher needs. While Herzberg's theory does not have a specific structure and only focuses on the higher needs. Maslow's theory believes that satisfaction comes from the fulfilment of needs while Herzberg's theory acknowledges factors that cause satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

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Question

 What is the difference of how Maslow's and Herzberg's theory is presented?

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Answer

The difference in how theories are presented is that Maslow's theory is presented in the hierarchical order. Basic needs are at the bottom and higher-level needs are at the top of the hierarchy. Herzberg's motivation theory has two categories of motivation and hygiene factors, which are not presented in any specific order.

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Question

How many steps are there in Maslow's theory? 

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Answer

5

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Question

What is the first employee need according to Maslow's theory? 

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Answer

Psychological

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Question

What is the second employee need according to Maslow's theory? 


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Answer

Safety

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What is the top employee need according to Maslow's theory? 

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Answer

Self-actualization 

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Question

What are the basic human needs according to Maslow's theory? 

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Answer

Physiological and safety needs. 

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Question

What are the psychological human needs according to Maslow's theory 

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Answer

Love/belonging and esteem needs. 

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Question

What is the self-fulfillment human needs according to Maslow's theory 


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Answer

Self-actualization 

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Question

Can Maslow's theory be used in a business context? 

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Answer

True

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Question

Is it simple to understand Maslow's theory?

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Answer

True

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Question

It is possible to measure needs empirically.

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Answer

False

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