Saturday, August 25, 2007

Understanding Maslow's Heirarcy Of Needs

Maslow's "Heirarchy of Needs" was essentially developed from a paper written by Abraham Maslow in 1943 entitled: "A Theory of Human Motivation".

It was partly based on concepts and ideas from Kurt Goldstein's organismic theory of personality. Maslow eventually expanded his observations or conceptualizations to include what he learned from studying innate curiosity that is present in the vast majority of human beings.

Even though Maslow's "Heirarchy of Needs" has been largely debunked over the years, it is still being used, because many believe it is true.

In fact, it is the basic underpinning of business developmental philosophy within the highest levels of the world's largest and leading corporations. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you are also at the highest level of management within your enterprise. Therefore, understanding Maslow's "Heirarchy of Needs", should help you develop a more comprehensive and realistic business and self management philosophy.

The reason why we have included Maslow's work in our monthly blog series is because you may have been exposed to Maslow's philosophy without even realizing it. As stated previously, the fundamental principles described in Maslow's "Heirarchy of Needs" is still widely used throughout the Western world and the global business community. You can review Maslow's "Heirarchy of Needs" at Wikipedia.Org .

Since many in the academic, business and government community believe motivation is an internal process through which human wants, needs and desires are satisfied, it is important to know what systemic process is being used to encourage self motivation.

When given a certain job, one is expected to do the best he/she could. Unfortunately, people vary in the way they perform their duties. Some are more willing to do a good job than others. Some are more encouraged to produce a quality work than others.

Understanding how to make people work at their best, how to motivate them, has always been a challenge. In business, motivated employees are key links to improved product quality that results in greater productivity and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

From a business perspective, there are many reasons why people work. They all stem from the fact that people have so many differing needs that need to be satisfied and fulfilled. People work to satisfy those needs, or some of them, through a hierarchical process that determines, according to Maslow, which needs are considered more important than others. Below is an overview of Maslow's "Heirarchy of Needs".

Maslow categorized human needs into five kinds:

Self-esteem (Ego) and...
Self- Actualization.Self Actualization

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

According to this theory, every need becomes active or aroused only when the lower need is reasonably satisfied. Following is a brief description of each level of needs:

Physiological Needs: The lowest level in Maslow's hierarchy. It contains the basic needs for food, drink, shelter and rest. Once these needs are satisfied, they no longer motivate the person's behavior.

Safety Needs: The next higher level needs become the ones that motivate. These are the needs for protection against danger or deprivation and the need for security.

Social Needs: These needs will become motivators once the physiological and safety needs are reasonably satisfied. These are the needs for affiliation, friendship, belonging and giving and receiving affection.

Self-Esteem Needs (Ego): These are the needs that people have for self-confidence, independence, achievement, recognition, and appreciation.

Finally, Self-Actualization Needs: These needs are the highest level of needs in Maslow's hierarchy. They begin to motivate the person's behavior only after all the previous levels have been reasonably satisfied. This level is about the need to become someone you know you are capable of becoming. And the need that motivates you to do special things. The needs at this level are rarely satisfied as you always aspire for new things.

The Significance of Maslow's Hierarchy

People's needs are important to know because it is an unsatisfied need that creates motivation. People's needs are so different and it is vital to identify those ones that are not satisfied, if motivation is sought.

As businesses become more aware of the importance of motivation, new methods are introduced by these businesses to take into account the needs of employees to enjoy work, display their creativity and feel a sense of achievement and responsibility.

Many theorists argue that designing jobs with workers' needs in mind will increase quality, productivity and will reduce absenteeism, turnover, and production cost. Job enlargement, job rotation, job enrichment and team working are examples of such job design methods that incorporate employees' needs.

What is currently motivating you to build and develop your business? What motivated you to become an IMG.Ws Associate? It may be some of these needs as expressed by Maslow, or you may have entirely different reasons for doing what you are doing to increase your income or improve your lifestyle.

Answers to these questions are important for two reasons:

1. Right reasons or good reasons almost always lead to success and personal growth, even if you fail initially.
2. Wrong reasons or bad reasons almost always lead to failure and personal depravity.

That old adage "Know Thyself" is still true..