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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a five-tier model of human needs is a motivational theory in psychology depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. This theory was introduced by Abraham Maslow, and states that people are motivated by needs categorized under 5 levels: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. The higher levels in the hierarchy emerge when people feel they have sufficiently satisfied the previous need and are now motivated to obtain the next level in the pyramid. Now lets get some knowledge about maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory of motivation.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory of motivation.
Motivation is the main factor on which Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is based. It guides, initiates and helps to maintain goal-oriented behaviors. In everyday language, “motivation” describes why a person does something. It is like a driving force that defines human actions. It is very crucial to find ways to motivate yourself. In fact, it is seen that it’s easy to get motivated but it is difficult to stay motivated for a long time.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who lost his father at the age of five. What happened to this little boy after his father’s death? He started cooking at the tender age of seven. He had to leave home because his step father tortured him. He had to start working. Number of times he was fired. On several occasions he failed in his endeavor to start business despite trying really hard. After a while he was deserted by his family. Did his life continue this way? Until one day he opened a restaurant which became famous for his special chicken recipe. His recipe was named after the place and the man was titled Colonel. Did his restaurant run successfully? His restaurant got closed because a highway was built there. But he did not give up…. At the age of 62, he decided to pursue his dreams once again. He approached several restaurants with his unique recipe but was rejected a thousand times. Finally, one day he met a businessman who took interest in his unique recipe and then there was no turning back. He started his company which has more than 18,875 outlets all across the world today. This company is none other than KFC and this man’s name was Colonel Harland Sanders. This is a classic example of how motivation has helped people become some of the most successful business people.
The Three R’s of Habit Formation
The three R’s that help an individual to get motivated and ultimately develop it as a habit are discussed in this section. The very first step is Reminder which is a cue or trigger that starts a habit. The next step is making it a Routine that involves the action taken or the habit inculcated. The third and last step is to Reward where one finally receives the outcome of inculcating that habit. If the reward is positive, then one has the desire to repeat the same action when a reminder pops up. This cycle when repeated, finally helps to inculcate that action as a habit.
Now that we have understood the basis of motivation and the three R’s of habit formation, let’s now move on to our main topic of discussion.
Contribution of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs
Abraham Maslow by chiefly drawing from clinical experience and humanistic psychology outlined the elements of an overall motivation theory. According to him a person’s motivational need can be
arranged in a hierarchical pyramid structure. In essence, once a given level of need is satisfied, it stops to serve the purpose of motivating and the next higher level of need in the pyramid has to be activated to further motivate the individual. The five different levels of this hierarchy will be discussed further.
His Main Assertions
To understand Maslow’s thinking it’s important to consider some of his main assertions:
- When one set of needs is satisfied, the next level acts as a motivator.
- A need that is satisfied, no longer plays the role of a motivator.
- An individual is motivated only by an unsatisfied need. We tend to pursue satisfaction in a higher order of need with an innate desire to work the way up the hierarchy.
- Lastly, due to what Maslow explained as “peak experiences”, stimulates the desire of more by self-actualization.
The Five Levels Of Needs In The Hierarchy
This is the most basic level in the hierarchy, generally corresponding to biological requirements for human survival that include the needs of hunger, sleep, and thirst. The theory states that once these physiological basic needs are satisfied, they no longer motivate an individual. For example, a thirsty person will strive to obtain a bottle filled with water that is within reach. However, after drinking his or her fill of water, the person will not strive to obtain another bottle and will be motivated only by
the next higher level of needs.
This is the next level of needs when going from bottom to the top that is roughly equivalent to the security and safety need. Maslow stressed not only on emotional but also on physical safety making the whole organism a safety-seeking mechanism. People want to experience predictability, control and
order in their lives that can be fulfilled by society and family. Seniority plans, health insurance, employee assistance plans, union, pension fall under this level. Just like physiological needs, once these safety needs are satisfied, they no longer motivate an individual.
This is the intermediate level of needs corresponding to affiliation and affection needs. It focuses on the needs of interpersonal relationships. This includes trust, friendship, acceptance, and affection.
This esteem level represents a human’s higher needs and involves needs for achievement, power, and status. Maslow carefully pointed out that this level of esteem contains both esteem from others as well as self-esteem. Examples include titles, status symbols, promotions, banquets.
Maslow’s major contribution, he portrays this highest level in the pyramid as the culmination of the lower, intermediate, and higher human needs. Self-actualized are self-fulfilled people have realized their complete potential. Examples here include personal growth, realization of potential.
Limitations Of This Hierarchy
Maslow formulated the characteristics of self-actualized individuals by biographical analysis, a qualitative method. He touched upon the writings and biographies of a small group of people who he identified self-actualized. Such an analysis is extremely subjective as it is based on the researcher’s opinion and on a biased sample limited to highly educated white males. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to empirically test this self-actualization concept. Lastly, his assumption that a lower need must be satisfied before a person can achieve their potential is only a concept. Practically, this does not always hold true and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs have falsified.
In conclusion, although Maslow’s study is a popular theory it should be used with caution. Each individual requires different things to satisfy his or her need and hence differs from another individual’s perspective. Regardless of these criticisms, this represents a crucial part of an important shift in psychology. Maslow has focused on the development of healthy individuals rather than focusing on the abnormal behavior.