Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs motivational model

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Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs motivational model

Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50's USA, and the Hierarchy of Needs theory remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development. Indeed, Maslow's ideas surrounding the Hierarchy of Needs concerning the responsibility of employers to provide a workplace environment that encourages and enables employees to fulfil their own unique potential (self-actualization) are today more relevant than ever. Abraham Maslow's book Motivation and Personality, published in 1954 (second edition 1970) introduced the Hierarchy of Needs, and Maslow extended his ideas in other work, notably his later book Toward A Psychology Of Being, a significant and relevant commentary, which has been revised in recent times by Richard Lowry, who is in his own right a leading academic in the field of motivational psychology.

Abraham Maslow was born in New York in 1908 and died in 1970, although various publications appear in Maslow's name in later years. Maslow's PhD in psychology in 1934 at the University of Wisconsin formed the basis of his motivational research, initially studying rhesus monkeys. Maslow later moved to New York's Brooklyn College. Maslow's original five-stage Hierarchy of Needs model is clearly and directly attributable to Maslow; later versions with added motivational stages are not so clearly attributable, although in his work Maslow refers to these additional aspects of motivation, but not specifically as levels in the Hierarchy. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has been extended through interpretation of Maslow's work by other people, and these augmented models and diagrams are shown as the adapted seven and eight-stage Hierarchy of Needs models below.

maslow\'s hierarchy of needs diagram

(N.B. The word Actualization/Actualisation can be spelt either way. Z is preferred in American English. S is preferred in UK English. Both forms are used in this page to enable keyword searching for either spelling via search engines.)


maslow's hierarchy of needs

Each of us is motivated by needs. Our most basic needs are inborn, having evolved over tens of thousands of years. Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs helps to explain how these needs motivate us all.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn, starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself.

Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher order needs of influence and personal development.

Conversely, if the things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, we are no longer concerned about the maintenance of our higher order needs.

Maslow's original Hierarchy of Needs model was developed between 1943-1954, and first widely published in Motivation and Personality in 1954. At this time the Hierarchy of Needs model comprised five needs. This original version remains for most people the definitive Hierarchy of Needs.


maslow's hierarchy of needs -

. Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs - work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs - self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Self-Actualization needs - realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

This is the definitive and original Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

While Maslow referred to various additional aspects of motivation, he expressed the Hierarchy of Needs in these five clear stages.

Here is a quick simple self-test based on the original Maslow's 5-level Hierarchy of Needs. It's not a scientific or validated instrument - merely a quick indicator, which can be used for self-awareness, discussion, etc.


Maslow's Self-Actualizing characteristics

  • keen sense of reality - aware of real situations - objective judgement, rather than subjective

  • see problems in terms of challenges and situations requiring solutions, rather than see problems as personal complaints or excuses

  • need for privacy and comfortable being alone

  • reliant on own experiences and judgement - independent - not reliant on culture and environment to form opinions and views

  • not susceptible to social pressures - non-conformist

  • democratic, fair and non-discriminating - embracing and enjoying all cultures, races and individual styles

  • socially compassionate - possessing humanity

  • accepting others as they are and not trying to change people

  • comfortable with oneself - despite any unconventional tendencies

  • a few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships

  • sense of humour directed at oneself or the human condition, rather than at the expense of others

  • spontaneous and natural - true to oneself, rather than being how others want

  • excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things

  • creative, inventive and original

  • seek peak experiences that leave a lasting impression (see the Hellespont Swim case study)

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