Maslow"s Hierarchy of Needs


The purpose of the hierarchy of needs is to increase motivation among people by modifying managerial practices in organisations. Also, the theory helps the managers by satisfying the desires and needs of their employees. These needs are often portrayed in the form of a pyramid where self-actualisation needs are at the top of the pyramid and physiological needs are at the bottom of the pyramid. People must satisfy their basic needs before addressing the higher needs. These needs are explained below in detail:

  1. Physiological needs – The basic needs of an individual are called physiological needs in Maslow’s theory. These needs are the biological requirements for survival of individuals such as food, air, water, clothing, shelter, sleep etcetera. According to Maslow, human beings cannot live or survive without these needs. Thus, physiological needs are most significant for human beings as compared to other needs.
  2. Safety needs – Safety or security needs involve protection, security, stability and freedom from fear. Safety needs are also important for the survival of an individual. In addition, the personal needs of an individual are termed as safety needs where an individual feels free from physical hazards such as domestic violence and wars.      
  3. Social needs (love and belongingness) – After satisfying the physiological and safety needs, individuals want to fulfill their social needs. This type of need involves feelings of love and belongingness such as trust, friendship, acceptance, affection, family and friends. These needs are fulfilled by building a strong relationship with others.  
  4. Esteem needs – Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories: a) esteem from oneself such as dignity, achievement and independence b) desire for reputation including status and prestige. Currently, the need for reputation or respect is most important for adolescents and children.
  5. Self -actualisation needs – It is the highest level of need among the hierarchy of needs. The self-actualisation need is relatively rare and might involve a feeling of achievement in the creative field. People are more conscious about their personal growth in this need. Further, they are more concerned about the welfare of the community and be able to solve problems.

It has been learned from Maslow’s Theory that most human beings are motivated by the need’s hierarchy. Maslow’s needs are organised in a hierarchy where basic needs are satisfied initially by human beings as compared to other higher needs. The above five needs are flexible that is often based on an individual’s characteristics. In these five needs, behaviour of people is multi–motivated that helps in determining more than one basic as well as higher needs.