Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation". Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, and Self-Actualization needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.
“Needs are not hierarchical. Life is messier than that. Needs are, like most other things in nature, an interactive, dynamic system, but they are anchored in our ability to make social connections. Maslow’s model needs rewiring so it matches our brains. Belongingness is the driving force of human behavior, not a third tier activity. The system of human needs from bottom to top, shelter, safety, sex, leadership, community, competence and trust, are dependent on our ability to connect with others. Belonging to a community provides the sense of security and agency that makes our brains happy and helps keep us safe.”
As with all psychological models, the Maslow Hierarchy is criticized here in Forbes Magazine. The author claims that none of the levels can be met without human interaction, and that throws the entire model off. Another criticism is its ethnocentricity, and how it might not fit in with a culture or ethnic group that Maslow had not been familiar with. There is always a generous supply of varied criticisms.
Data from the first five years of the careers of a group of managers were employed to test Maslow's hierarchy of human needs in three ways. No strong evidence for either Maslow's hierarchy or a revised two-level hierarchy was observed. However, as other studies have found, as the managers advance, their need for safety decreases, and the needs for affiliation, achievement and esteem, and self-actualization increase. It was argued that these changes could be explained by a model of sequential career stages, which may be more the result of regularized status passages than of lower-order need gratification.
Maslow’s ideas are often applied to marketing. Whatever you are selling, the product is intended to fulfill a need somewhere in the hierarchy. To best market your product or service, identify where in the hierarchy it sits, and understand your target user’s motivation to meet those needs. A classic example is Michelin Tires. Rather than simply list the specs of its tires and boast how well they grip the road, Michelin commercials show tires that are protecting babies, with the tagline, “Because so much is riding on your tires.”
Maslow did not offer an age-stage approach to development. Striving for self-actualization is seen as universal process that can be observed at nearly all ages. However, it is likely that there is some progression among age groups. Infants probably have a strong emphasis on physiological needs. As a person gradually grows older, safety needs are emphasized, and then belongingness and love needs, and so on. Because middle-aged adults have had a variety of learning experiences and tend to be at the peak of their earning potential, they tend to have a greater opportunity to focus on meeting self-actualization needs.
Maslow recognized that not all personalities followed his proposed hierarchy. While a variety of personality dimensions might be considered as related to motivational needs, one of the most often cited is that of introversion and extroversion. Reorganizing Maslow's hierarchy based on the work of Alderfer and considering the introversion/extraversion dimension of personality results in three levels, each with an introverted and extroverted component. This organization suggests there may be two aspects of each level that differentiate how people relate to each set of needs with different personalities relating more to one dimension than the other.
Self-actualizing people are not "superpersons" but rather individuals capable of responsibly expressing their individuality as fully as possible. Self-actualizing individuals are more able to accept not only who they are being but when they are living; that is, they are not likely to attempt to be someone they are not nor to live in the past or too far in the future.
If the first four needs are being met, a new one will probably develop: the need for self-fulfilment. This is to become more what a person can be: to develop all aspects – physical, social, emotional and spiritual. Among the characteristics of self-fulfilled people is awareness of living, completeness, joyfulness, unforgettable moments or periods of joy, unity and understanding.
Norwood (1999) proposed that Maslow's hierarchy can be used to describe the kinds of information individual's seek at different levels of development. For example, individuals at the lowest level seek coping information in order to meet their basic needs. Information that is not directly connected to helping a person meet his or her needs in a very short time span is simply left unattended. Individuals at the safety level need helping information. They seek to be assisted in seeing how they can be safe and secure. Enlightening information is sought by individuals seeking to meet their belongingness needs. Quite often this can be found in books or other materials on relationship development. Empowering information is sought by people at the esteem level. They are looking for information on how their egos can be developed. Finally, people in the growth levels of cognitive, aesthetic, and self-actualization seek edifying information.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid, with the largest and most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top. Maslow himself never used a pyramid to describe these levels in any of his writings on the subject.
Maslow’s model is hierarchical. The human brain at the base is driven by a basic instinct to survive with food drink and shelter. The second level is made up of the safety needs. The third level in Maslow’s model comprises the social needs like family, affection, relationships, work groups, and community. The fourth level comprises the ego-centric needs of achievement, responsibility, and reputation. And finally, at the top is self-actualization, personal growth and fulfillment.
Abraham Maslow’s (1) theories on personality and motivation were originally developed beginning in 1935 and were revised throughout his career. His ―theory on human motivation‖ is a holistic theory of human development based on the belief that behavior is motivated by the desire to satisfy needs. Need satisfaction progresses in a hierarchical manner, beginning with physiological needs such as hunger and thirst and culminating in self-actualization.