Psychologist Abraham Maslow first introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” and his subsequent book Motivation and Personality. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.
This hierarcy is most often displayed as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.
Maslow’s theory states that:
- Each individuals needs must be satisfied at the lower levels before they progress to the higher, more complex levels.
- When low-level needs are satisfied, individuals are no longer motivated by them.
- As each level of needs is met, individual’s progress to higher level motivators.
- All the needs are always present.
Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization. Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by failure to meet lower level needs. Life experiences including divorce and loss of job may cause an individual to fluctuate between levels of he hierarchy. Maslow noted only one in a hundred people become fully self-actualized because our society rewards motivation primarily based on esteem, love and other social needs.
John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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