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Abraham Maslow


Abraham Maslow
Hierarchy of Needs

Submitted by:

Neha Agrawal (2008091)

Niranajan Khandekar (2008092)
Nishant Kompalli (2008093)
Nishtha Narula (2008094)
Nitiksh Srivastava (2008095)

Abraham Maslow

We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt

gratitude towards our faculty Professor, Ms Nina Jacob for her
invaluable assistance into bringing this project into existence. Her
teachings provided us the required insight into going about with the
project report. Without her guidance and persistent help this report
would not have been possible.

We would also like to thank Goa Institute of Management for

providing a platform to work on this project and enabling us to use
various databases available, thereby giving us an opportunity learn
about the various requirements involved in the successful completion
of the project.

We firmly believe that this learning experience would benefit us now

and in the future.

Abraham Maslow

Table of Contents
Life History and Professional career of Abraham Maslow 3
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs 4-6
Revised Level of needs 6-7
Application of Maslow’s Theory in Management 7-8
Critique 9
Famous Quotes 10

Abraham Maslow

Life history of Abraham Maslow:

Abraham Maslow was the eldest son of uneducated Jewish parents who had migrated from
Russia to the U.S. in order to escape from harsh conditions and socio-political turmoil. It was
in Brooklyn, New York, that young Abe was born, on the first of April, 1908.
Abraham was the eldest sibling in the family, and the family's culture expected him to care
for his six brothers and sisters. Psychology interested him immensely. Although Abe bowed
to his parents' wishes to study law, and enrolled himself in the City College of New York for
this purpose, it soon became clear to him that law was not his vocation in life. Finally, he
sought and obtained transfer to Cornell University, but again had to return to CCNY for
reasons of logistics. Finally, the newly-married couple decided to relocate to Wisconsin. It
was in Wisconsin that Abraham Maslow finally discovered stability and success in his life.
Professional career in Psychology:
In 1930, Maslow completed his B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin. While
in Wisconsin, Dr. Maslow became closely associated with Harlow's experiments on primates.
He had himself pursued an independent line of research on primate dominance behaviour and
published a few papers on the subject. After that Dr. Maslow gravitated to this field of
knowledge; and thus began his next stage of growth and evolution. The papers produced by
him from 1937 onwards manifest Dr. Maslow's shift towards social behaviour, personality
traits, self-esteem, and motivation theory, in relation to human beings.
In 1937, Dr. Maslow moved to Brooklyn, his place of birth, and began teaching psychology
at Brooklyn College. His paper titled "A Theory of Human Motivation" was first published in
the Psychological Review in 1943, and was printed and reprinted in several publications
thereafter. Other papers, such as "'Higher' and ‘lower' needs", "Our maligned animal nature",
"Self-actualizing” people: a study of psychological health", "Resistance to acculturation", and
"The S-I Test (A measure of psychological security-insecurity)" were his other much-
referenced works. While borrowing ideas from other psychologists, the ideas, theories,
postulates and insights that he built upon them were very original – especially the concepts of
a hierarchy of needs, metaneeds, self-actualizing persons and “peak experiences”. He
emerged as the leader of the humanistic school of psychology, which he referred to as the
"third force".
In 1969, at the ripe age of 61, Dr. Maslow accepted the resident fellowship of the Laughlin
Foundation, and moved to Menlo Park, California. Leading a life of semi-retirement, he
upgraded his book – "Motivation and Personality", which he had first written in 1954. He
also penned two more books – "Toward a Psychology of Being" and "The Further Reaches of
Human Nature".
Ill-health had been dogging him for quite some time, and this great researcher of psychology
finally breathed his last on June 8th 1970, due to heart attack.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs:
Abraham Maslow attempted to formulate a needs-based framework of human motivation and
based upon his clinical experiences with humans, rather than prior psychology theories of his
day from authors such as Freud and B.F. Skinner, which were largely theoretical or based
upon animal behaviours.
The basis of Maslow's theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and
that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. These can
be broadly classified into two broad categories:

Abraham Maslow

• Lower needs - There are general needs (physiological, safety, love, and esteem)
which have to be fulfilled before a person is able to act unselfishly.
• Higher needs - While a person is motivated to fulfil these basal desires, they continue
to move toward growth, and eventually self-actualization.
The satisfaction of needs is quite healthy as preventing their gratification makes us ill or act
evilly. As depicted in this hierarchical diagram, called 'Maslow's Needs Pyramid' or
'Maslow's Needs Triangle', when a need is satisfied it no longer motivates and the next higher
need takes its place.

Physiological Needs:
Physiological needs are those required to sustain life, such as air, water, food, sleep
According to Maslow's theory, if these fundamental needs are not satisfied then one will
surely be motivated to satisfy them. Higher needs such as social needs and esteem are not
recognized until one satisfies the needs basic to existence.

Safety Needs:
Once physiological needs are met, one's attention turns to safety and security in order to be
free from the threat of physical and emotional harm. Such needs might be fulfilled by living
in a safe area, medical insurance, job security, financial reserves.According to the Maslow
hierarchy, if a person feels threatened, the needs further up the pyramid will not receive
attention until that need has been resolved.

Social Needs:
Once a person has met the lower level physiological and safety needs, higher level needs
awaken. The first level of higher level needs is social needs. Social needs are those related to
interaction with others and may include friendship, belonging to a group, giving and
receiving love

Esteem Needs:
Once a person feels a sense of "belonging", the need to feel important arises. Esteem needs
may be classified as internal or external. Internal esteem needs are those related to self-
esteem such as self respect and achievement. External esteem needs are those such as social
status and recognition. Some esteem needs are self-respect, achievement, attention,
recognition, reputation

Self-actualization is the summit of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is the quest of reaching
one's full potential as a person. Unlike lower level needs, this need is never fully satisfied; as
one grows psychologically there are always new opportunities to continue to grow. Self-
actualized people tend to have needs such as truth, justice ,wisdom ,meaning
Self-actualized persons have frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which are energized
moments of profound happiness and harmony. According to Maslow, only a small percentage
of the population reaches the level of self-actualization.

Maslow’s revised levels of needs

Abraham Maslow

Maslow's original levels of need Maslow's revised levels of need

1. Physiological 1. Physiological

2. Safety 2. Safety

3. Belonging 3. Belonging

4. Esteem 4. Esteem

5. Self-actualization 5. Cognitive

6. Aesthetic

Abraham Maslow

7. Self-actualization

8. Transcendence

In his book named ‘Toward a Psychology of Being’ Abraham Maslow published a revision to
his original pyramid, adding the cognitive needs (first the need to acquire knowledge, then the
need to understand that knowledge and aesthetic needs (the needs to create and/or experience
beauty, balance, structure, etc.).
Later in his life, Maslow came to decide self-actualization was not the highest level of
development, and proposed that people who have reached self-actualization will sometimes
experience a state he referred to as "transcendence," in which they become aware of not only
their own fullest potential, but the fullest potential of human beings at large. He described
this transcendence and its characteristics in an essay in the posthumously published The
Farther Reaches of Human Nature. This highest spiritual need developed into the field
known as transpersonal psychology.

Application of Maslow’s Theory in Management

Maslow's theory of motivation can have some important leadership implications to enhance
workplace motivation. From this theory of motivation, modern leaders and executive
managers find means of motivation for the purposes of employee and workforce
They have staff motivation opportunities by motivating each employee through management
style, job design, company events, and compensation packages.
• Physiological Needs: Organizations provide their employees lunch breaks, rest
breaks, and wages that are sufficient to purchase the essentials of life. Until these
basic needs are satisfied to the degree needed for sufficient operation, employees
can’t be motivated to be productive and efficient

Abraham Maslow

• Safety Needs: Companies provide a safe working environment, freedom from threats,
and relative job security. A person must be granted a freedom from fear; only then can
they continue to excel. If an employee is working under the constant watch of a
critical boss who threatens termination for inadequate performance, the employee will
be unable to focus on the task at hand. The intangible pressures will affect the quality
of the employee's work, leaving both the employee and the employer unhappy.

• Social Needs: Oragnizations should create a feeling of acceptance, belonging, and

community by reinforcing team dynamics. Examples of these needs are work groups,
teamwork, and company softball outings. Friendships are beneficial to humans at
home and in the workplace, but some employers do not realize the importance of this
association. We are all aware that humans form meaningful relationships outside of
the workplace, but the value of establishing enjoyable relations within the workplace
is often underestimated. Research has shown that promoting social interaction among
employees will increase morale and productivity.

• Esteem Needs: Management should recognize achievements, assign important

projects, and provide status to make employees feel appreciated and valued. A worker
appreciates recognition for a job well done. This recognition will motivate them to
continue working hard for the company. If the praise is lacking, the worker will begin
to understand that doing quality work in unnecessary, asking "What does it matter?
No one will notice anyway." The praise does not have to be a stop-the-presses party
for the worker, but merely a few words of gratitude in the presence of their peers.

• Self-Actualization: Organizations need to provide challenging and meaningful work

which enables innovation, creativity, and progress according to long-term goals. The
concept of self-actualization offers a variety of interpretations, because it differs based
on each person. One individual may feel that their maximum potential is to be the
manager of a local clothing store, after steadily climbing the ladder after high school
graduation. For this person, this achievement will supply all the happiness he or she
needs, and the person will be fulfilled. Another person may feel that a position of
local manager is below their potential, so getting the title would not be adequate for
happiness. In general, self actualization can be defined as such potential, when
achieved by all employees, allows the organization to achieve heights beyond
However, not all people are driven by the same needs - at any time different employees may
be motivated by entirely different factors. It is important to understand the needs being
pursued by each employee. To motivate an employee, leadership must be able to recognize
the needs level at which the employee is operating, and use those needs as levers of
workplace motivation.

Maslow’s theory was a complete theory to classify human needs and the hierarchy in which
they are satisfied. This theory is very much based on the human behaviour to a very large
extent. However, there are some shortcomings of Abraham Maslow’s motivational theory.
Now, Maslow’s theory says that a lower need must be substantially gratified before one can
move on. But there are many real life situations where this does not hold true, as sometimes

Abraham Maslow

human beings seek to satisfy their higher needs before their lower needs are satisfied. We can
see many examples where this does not hold true.

♦ For example, Mahatma Gandhi, frequently sacrificed his physiological and safety
needs for the satisfaction of other needs when India was striving for independence
from Great Britain. In his historic fasts, Gandhi went weeks without nourishment to
protest governmental injustices. He was operating at the self-actualization level while
some of his other needs were unsatisfied. This example can be further extended to
other great freedom fighters of the country that went to jail several times and there
they were put under extreme conditions of mental and physical atrocities. But, they
did not acquiesce to the demands of the Britishers as they were seeking their higher
needs of attaining freedom for the country, which can be aligned with their self
actualization needs.
♦ Also, another example can be of a soldier. In a combat, a soldier puts his life at stake
knowing full well that his chances for survival are low. He is not bothered about his
physiological needs and safety needs. He is not doing it for affiliation or recognition,
but rather for what he thinks is important. In this case, you may consider the soldier
to have self-actualized; to be maximizing the potential of what is important to him at
that time. Hence, Maslow’s theory which says that until one need is satisfied one
cannot achieve the higher needs does not hold true in this case.

♦ Maslow's hierarchy also has difficulty explaining cases such as the "starving artist" in
which a person neglects physical needs in pursuit of aesthetic needs or spiritual needs.
They are many such talented people who do not bother about

Another criticism of this theory is that, there is little evidence to suggest that people are
motivated to satisfy exclusively one need at a time, that is it is not necessary that human
beings are tied within the strict boundaries of one need and that only one need is satisfied
at one time. Eating dinner with family or friends can be an example of satisfying both
physiological and social need. However, there are exceptions to situations where needs

Famous Quotes by Maslow:

 One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be
chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.

 Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be
ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They
must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization.

 If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be
unhappy all the days of your life.
 It is possible in the aesthetic experience or the love experience to become so absorbed
and 'poured into' the object that the self, in a very real sense, disappears.

 Almost all needs, capacities, and talents can be satisfied in a variety of ways.

Abraham Maslow

 Man is a perpetually wanting animal.

 Who is to say that a lack of love is less important than a lack of vitamins?

References :
1) Organizational Behavior, 12th Edition by Stephen P.Robbins & Timothy Judge
2) Organization Behavior & Management, & 7th Edition by