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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Maslow’s Theory of Needs

Abraham Maslow is a well-known theorist in management theory. He is recognized with popularizing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory during the behavioral era of management history. The theorist offered a theory of motivation based on a human being’s universal wants. Maslow thought that each individual has a hierarchy of requirements that pushes them to work and gain resources to meet these needs (Hopper, 2020). The needs hierarchy includes safety, social, esteem, psychological, and self-actualization requirements. According to the notion, people act in order to satisfy their unsatisfied desires.

In the organizational context, Maslow’s theory of needs considers organizational structures by identifying relevant ones in the work environment. The organizational environment can be demanding, and as such, the most basic needs must be met to allow for proper operations to occur (Hopper, 2020). In the case of the organization, the most basic needs are food offered to the individuals, allowing them to operate comfortably in the organizational context. Allowing employees to feel like a team also ensures that they can meet individual goals and the collective demands of the organization.

Criticism of the Maslow Theory

One of the most significant criticisms leveled towards Maslow’s hypothesis is that it is not founded on genuine empirical study. To reach his conclusion, the theorist allegedly employed an unscientific approach, untrustworthy samples, and specific research procedures. Another key point of contention is the presence of a large number of exceptions in the hierarchy (Noltemeyer et al., 2021). The theorist acknowledged this by detailing the hierarchy’s reversals. A good example of this point of view is that for some people, motivation must be more than just love. Maslow also noticed people whose needs appeared to be lessened in comparison to others due to a lack of exposure.

Pyramid of Needs

There are five layers to the needs pyramid: self-actualization, esteem needs, psychological needs, safety needs, and social requirements. The psychological and safety needs, as well as physical needs, are on the first and second tiers. Individuals tend to focus on requirements that include interactions with other people when these needs are met. The third stage is social needs, commonly referred as the urge to belong, and it concentrates on giving and receiving friendship and affection (Stewart et al., 2018). The fourth level is the esteem needs which influence a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Satisfying these needs reflects on a sense of worth and which can be generated from the people around us in an organization. The final need is self-actualization, which allows individuals to live up to their potential through their abilities.

Needs as Motivations

The motivations in my professional career are mostly driven by three main needs: psychological, safety needs, and esteem needs. The psychological needs are based on the fact that I want to work in an environment where I can grow in my professional career and meet my objectives in a peaceful and accommodating manner. The safety needs are influenced by the company’s ability to meet my professional needs with the right compensation (Stewart et al., 2018). Being able to accomplish a lot in my career is also an influential factor because it affects my ability to operate as an individual. Therefore, these three needs majorly impact my motivations in my profession.


Hopper, E. (2020). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explained. ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo24.

Noltemeyer, A., James, A. G., Bush, K., Bergen, D., Barrios, V., & Patton, J. (2021). The relationship between deficiency needs and growth needs The continuing investigation of Maslow’s theory. Child & Youth Services42(1), 24-42.

Stewart, C., Nodoushani, O., & Stumpf, J. (2018, July). Cultivating employees using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In Competition Forum (Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 67-75). American Society for Competitiveness.


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