Maslow s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow (1908–1970), one of the founders of humanistic psychology, developed a theory of self-actualization, but is best known in business circles for his hierarchy of human needs, a systems-oriented classification of human factors influencing employee motivation. The best way to recall Maslow's hierarchy is to arrange it within William James' three levels of human needs (material, social, and spiritual). The hierarchy looks like this:

  1. Material Needs

    1. Physical needs: food, clothing, and shelter

    2. Safety needs: freedom from physical danger

  2. Social Needs

    1. The need to belong to a group, to be accepted

    2. The need for esteem, to achieve and be recognized by the group

  3. Spiritual Needs

    1. The need to know, to understand (cognitive exploration)

    2. The need for aesthetic experience (symmetry, order, beauty)

    3. The need for self-actualization (realizing one's potential)

    4. The need for spiritual experience (religious transcendence)

Higher needs, Maslow states, can't be addressed until lower needs are satisfied; and a need, once satisfied, is no longer a motivator. Maslow's 1943 article and his subsequent book (1954) exert a powerful influence on training and development, particularly with respect to motivation studies in the 1950s and the rise of organizational development (and theories of organizational needs) in the 1960s.



"The Theory of Human Motivation," Maslow's first paper on the hierarchy of needs, appears in The Psychological Review.


Self-Actualizing People: A Study of Psychological Health


Motivation and Personality. Landmark book that presents Maslow's developing ideas about motivation and needs.


Toward a Psychology of Being


Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences


Eupsychian Management


The Farther Reaches of Human Nature


Maslow on Management (edited by Deborah Stephens and Gary Heil)

Multiple Intelligences

Such intelligence hath seldom failed.

—Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, 1602

The Seven Intelligences

The Greeks cultivated the seven lively arts, the Middle Ages the seven deadly sins, and the twenty-first century enjoys the seven lively intelligences. In a book that appeared in 1983 called Frames of Mind, Howard Gardner, an ex-Harvard pupil of cognitive psychologist Joseph Bruner, went up against the psychological establishment and proposed that there were more intelligences "on heaven and earth" than the standard verbal-and-math scores were telling us. Gardner's definition of an intelligence is the ability to solve a problem or create a product that is valued by a particular organization. Each of us possesses a unique blend of "intelligences" (a cognitive or mental profile) that we develop and draw upon throughout our lives.

Seven Windows of the Mind

Gardner, going up against cognitive psychologists such as Piaget, is a pluralist. He believes we possess more than one or two intellectual competences (mental abilities) and what's more, he names them. There are seven, and through these seven windows the mind processes its information from the outside world. These seven are:

  • Bodily-Kinesthetic: Physical intelligence as exhibited by athletes and sports leaders.

  • Interpersonal: Social intelligence as exhibited by therapists, politicians, and great leaders.

  • Intrapersonal: Self-awareness as in the ability of a Freud or a Jung to analyze themselves, or of writers to write about their own inner lives. This includes a fuller knowledge and awareness of one's own feelings and emotions.

  • Linguistic: Traditional academic verbal skills.

  • Logical-Mathematical: Traditional academic math skills.

  • Musical: Shared by composers and performers from Mozart to Stravinsky.

  • Spatial: Shared by architects, painters, and similar professions.

Is There an Eighth Intelligence?

In 1990 Peter Salovey and John Mayer, inspired by Gardner, suggested an eighth intelligence, namely "emotional intelligence." Daniel Goleman has since followed this up with several books on the topic. And in 1999 Gardner proposed his own eighth intelligence, namely classificatory intelligence. Such an intelligence is demonstrated by information theorists, database designers, and even botanists and zoologists (Charles Darwin, Audubon, Linnaeus, and Aristotle). At the heart of this intelligence lies the ability to identify and classify vast fields of knowledge, information, and data.

How Do Intelligences Relate to Learning Styles and Competencies?

Because of the newness of the discipline of multiple intelligences (MI), certain overlaps exist between these and more traditional performance descriptors, such as learning styles and competencies. At this time it is probably best to consider multiple intelligences close cousins of learning styles as well as of competencies. Visual and auditory "learning styles," for instance, are obviously the basis, respectively, for spatial and musical intelligences.


The study of multiple intelligences is a new discipline, still in the exploratory phase. It shares with learning styles and competencies the fact that it is still largely descriptive, classificatory, and theoretical rather than applied. One of the great benefits of Gardner's breakthrough, however, is that he has cleansed the doors of perception to what real intelligences are involved in the different types of performance. He has opened our eyes and it is up to the performance improvers to follow through with designing real-world solutions based on the theory.



Francis Galton: Inquiries into Human Faculty. Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, pioneers the study of the varieties of human intelligence.


Alfred Binet and T. Simon: The Development of Intelligence in Children. Two French psychologists set the agenda for the classic view of intelligence that will hold through most of the twentieth century—namely that aptitude can be measured by scores on an IQ test with verbal and math components.


L. Thurstone: The Nature of Intelligence. A mental pluralist, Thurstone posits seven "vectors of the mind."


J. Guilford: The Nature of Human Intelligence. Posits multiple "factors" of the intellect.


J. Fodor: The Modularity of Mind. Investigates different domains or modules of the mind beyond the standard verbal and mathematical domains.


Howard Gardner: Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Sets forth the theory of the seven intelligences. Difficult to read at times, but provides a refreshingly new angle on the world of performance and work.


Howard Gardner: Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. Gardner illustrates several of the seven intelligences through biographies of famous practitioners.


Howard Gardner: Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. Follow-up reader on the multiple intelligences, put together by Gardner and his students at Harvard.


Howard Gardner et al.: Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership. Anthology of views on "leadership" intelligence.


Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Suggests an eighth intelligence. (See Emotional Intelligence.)


Howard Gardner and others: Intelligence: Multiple Perspectives.


Howard Gardner: Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the Twenty-first Century. Gardner adds his own eighth intelligence: "naturalist" or classificatory intelligence.

See also Competencies Emotional Intelligence Learning Style