Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory is regarded as one of the most popular theories on motivation. It is a theory of psychology that explains that humans are highly motivated in order to fulfill their needs, which is based on hierarchical order.

It was first introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943 for his paper titled Theory of Motivation and is based on a hierarchy of needs, which starts with the most basic needs and subsequently moves on to higher levels.

The main goal of this need hierarchy theory is to attain the highest position or the last of the needs, i.e need for self actualization.

In business studies, it is used as a part of organisational behaviour and also regularly used in psychology lectures.

Levels of Hierarchy

The levels of hierarchy in Maslow’s need hierarchy theory appear in the shape of a pyramid, where the most basic need is placed at the bottom while the most advanced level of hierarchy is at the top of the pyramid.

Maslow was of the view that a person can only move to the subsequent level only after fulfilling the needs of the current level. The needs at the bottom of the pyramid are those which are very basic and the most complex needs are placed on the top of the pyramid.

Let us read in detail about the various steps in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

1. Physiological needs: The physiological needs are regarded as the most basic of the needs that humans have. These are needs that are very crucial for our survival. The examples of physiological needs are food, shelter, warmth, health, homeostasis and water, etc.

In addition to all the above needs, Abraham Maslow also included sexual reproduction as one of the most common needs as it is essential for the survival of the species.

2. Safety Needs: Once the basic needs of food, shelter, water, etc are fulfilled, there is an innate desire to move to the next level. The next level is known as the safety needs. Here the primary concern of the individual is related to safety and security.

Safety and security can be regarding many things like a stable source of income that provides financial security, personal security from any kind of unnatural events, attacks by animals and emotional security and physical safety which is safety to health.

The various actions taken by an individual in ensuring safety and security are finding a job, getting an insurance policy, choosing a secure neighborhood for staying with family, etc.

3. Social Needs (Also known as Love and Belonging Needs): This is the third level in the need hierarchy theory. It is that stage where an individual having fulfilled his physiological needs as well as safety needs seeks acceptance from others in the form of love, belongingness.

In this stage, human behaviour is driven by emotions and the need for making emotional relationships is dominant here.

The following examples can satisfy this need:

1. Friendship

2. Family

3. Intimacy

4. Social Groups

When an individual is deprived of the above needs, he/she feels lonely and depressed.

4. Esteem needs: This is considered as the fourth level of the hierarchy of needs theory. It is related to the need of a person being recognised in the society. It deals with getting recognition, self respect in the society.

The need for recognition and acceptance arises when a person has fulfilled their need for love and belongingness.

In addition to recognition from others, there is a need for the person to develop self esteem and personal worth.

5. Self-actualization needs: This is the final level of the theory of hierarchy of needs as proposed by Maslow. It is the highest level of needs and is known as the self-actualization needs. It relates to the need of an individual to attain or realise the full potential of their ability or potential.

At this stage, all individuals try to become the best version of themselves. In other words, self actualisation is the journey of personal growth and development.

This concludes our article on the topic of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, which is an important topic in Business Studies for Commerce students. For more such interesting articles, stay tuned to BYJU’S.

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