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)

The 30-Second Encyclopedia of Learning and Performance. A Trainer's Guide to Theory, Terminology, and Practice
The 30-Second Encyclopedia of Learning and Performance: A Trainers Guide to Theory, Terminology, and Practice
ISBN: 0814471781
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 110
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