Needs Hierarchy Theory of Motivation Essay

a. One of the most widely mentioned theories of motivation is the hierarchy of needs theory put forth by psychologist Abraham Maslow. He was known for establishing the theory of a hierarchy, writing that the needs of human beings can act as motivators when those very needs remain unsatisfied. In order to address a need of a higher level, the immediate lower level of need must be satisfied initially. Maslow’s studied extensively exemplary people like Einstein, Roosevelt rather than mentally ill or neurotic people.

This was in itself a radical deviation from the popular schools of psychology of his day, Freud and Skinner who saw little difference between animalistic and humane motivations. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was an alternative to the depressing determinism of Freud and Skinner. He felt that people are basically trustworthy, self-protecting, and self-governing. Humans tend toward growth and love. Although there is a continuous cycle of human wars, murder, deceit, etc. , he believed that violence is not what human nature is meant to be like. Violence and other evils occur when human needs are thwarted.

In other words, people who are deprived of lower needs such as safety may defend themselves by violent means. The basic human needs placed by Maslow in an ascending order of importance are shown below 1. Physiological Needs – Physiological needs are the very basic needs such as air, water, food, sleep, sex etc for sustaining life. When these are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation, pain discomfort. These feelings motivate us to alleviate them as soon as possible to establish homeostasis, once they are alleviated however we proceed to think of other thing.

Maslow therefore took the position that until these needs are satisfied to the degree necessary to maintain life, other needs will not motivate people. 2. Security/Safety Needs – These are the needs to be free of physical danger and the fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter. They have to do with establishing stability and consistency in a chaotic world, these needs are mostly therefore psychological in nature. We need the security of a home and family, however if a family is dysfunctional then the members cannot proceed to the next level as she is constantly concerned of her safety.

Love and belongingness have to wait until she is no longer cringing in fear. Religion at times allows us the comfort of a secure, safe place after we die and escape the insecurities of this world, unfortunately however a great number of people are abundantly stuck at this level. 3. Affiliation/Acceptance/Love Needs – Love and belongingness are next on the ladder. Humans have a innate desire to belong to groups, clubs, religious clubs, family, gangs, communities and a greater association of individuals due to their social nature. We need to feel adored, loved and accepted by others. Performers appreciate applause, tributes and graciousness.

We need to be needed and appreciate various items, tools, products and lifestyles that encourage greater camaraderie and gathering. The necessity therefore of communal meetings, weekend parties or even a cafeteria lunch table inclusion therefore lies strongly at this level. Looked at negatively, you become increasing susceptible to loneliness and social anxieties. 4. Esteem Needs – Once people begin to satisfy their need to belong, they tend to want to be held in esteem both by themselves and by others. This kind of need produces such satisfactions such as power, prestige, status and self-confidence. There are two types of esteem needs.

First is self-esteem which results from competence or mastery of a task. Second, there’s the attention and recognition that comes from others. This is on par with the belongingness level; however, wanting admiration has to do with the need for power. People who have all of their lower needs satisfied, often drive very expensive cars because doing so raises their level of esteem. The higher and secondary form involves the need for self-respect, including such feelings as confidence, competence, achievement, mastery, independence, and freedom. The negative version of these needs is low self-esteem and inferiority complexes.

Maslow felt that Adler was really onto something when he proposed that these were at the roots of many, if not most, of our psychological problems. All of the preceding four levels he calls deficit needs, or D-needs. If you don’t have enough of something — i. e. you have a deficit — you feel the need. But if you get all you need, you feel nothing at all! In other words, they cease to be motivating. 5. Self-Actualisation – The highest need in Maslow’s hierarchy is the need to truly become what one is capable of becoming, to maximize one’s potential and to accomplish material manifestations of the promise of an individual.

People who have everything can maximize their potential. They can seek knowledge, peace, esthetic experiences, self-fulfillment, one-ness with God, etc. In evaluating this need the individuals were characteristic of a certain criterion. A few were that These people were reality-centered, which means they could differentiate what is fake and dishonest from what is real and genuine. They were problem-centered, meaning they treated life’s difficulties as problems demanding solutions, not as personal troubles to be railed at or surrendered to. And they had a different perception of means and ends.

They felt that the ends don’t necessarily justify the means, that the means could be ends themselves, and that the means — the journey — was often more important than the ends. And these people had a certain freshness of appreciation, an ability to see things, even ordinary things, with wonder. Along with this comes their ability to be creative, inventive, and original. And, finally, these people tended to have more peak experiences than the average person. A peak experience is one that takes you out of yourself, that makes you feel very tiny, or very large, to some extent one with life or nature or God.

It gives you a feeling of being a part of the infinite and the eternal. b. The acceptability of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to me is subject to considerable concerns about the adaptability of these factors in today’s world. In research conducted by Edward Lawler and J. Llyod Suttle data was collected on 187 managers across different organizations over a period of 6 to 12 months They found however little evidence to withstand Maslow’s theory that human needs are formed in a hierarchy. They found that at higher levels, the strength of needs vary with the individuals, in some individuals social needs predominate.

While in others self-actualisation reigned supreme. Therein lays my first reservation about the theory. That no one universal theory can encompass the range of perceptions and possibilities of motivators and satisfiers of people who are innately individualistic and have wide variations of subjective values and norms. While in managers, as they advance in an organization their physiological and safety needs tend to decrease in importance and needs for esteem tend to increase. However the upward movement of need prominence resulted from upward career changes and not from the satisfaction of lower-order needs.

It was not a simplistic matter of a lower need being satisfied and no longer influential therefore. On a secondary level, it has been argued that in extremities certain values may be waved aside as insignificant and only the abundance of the extreme need is all that can suffice. However it fails to appreciate the variety of interactive factors that shape chronically itemized situations at different levels of the society that impact the motivation and behavior of people under extreme physiological stress.

Therefore Maslow’s assumption based on only a primary illustration of extreme situation of human’s and how they abandon certain needs when a physiological one becomes extreme is wrong on the simple premise that it is an emergency situation and not a relativistic one. To me, It is important to observe human behavior under more normal circumstances in order to develop a generally applicable theory that is not distorted by extreme environments.

Thirdly, According to Maslow’s model, once a particular need is satisfied, other needs emerge: while food-seeking primarily motivated the chronically hungry man, the chronically gratified man is not motivated by basic needs. However, to me certain contradictions still prevail about this analogy. The gratification mechanism for the emergence of higher-level needs need to be in the systematic and stringent hierarchical method proposed by Maslow. However under various everyday circumstances this is violated.

Similarly, physiological needs may be ignored or relegated in favor of higher needs, such as social acceptance: when teenager is hungry but her friends are not, so she may delay eating. A hungry factory worker may wait for the proper lunch break rather than risk the financial or social consequences of ceasing work to eat based solely on her physiological urges. A satiated person purchases groceries, showing that the sated hunger drive is still an active determinant of behavior even while the need is supposedly not dominating the organism’s behavior.

This logic may be applied to other needs beyond physical hunger: for example people who make new friends even though they already have a strong social network that satisfies social needs. The abundance of certain privileges according to Maslow can also negate the importance of these factors as needs however, this can be paradoxical: people whose needs have been consistently satisfied can be extremely shocked in an emergency situation in which basic needs are suddenly deprived and may display more distress than their more “hardy” counterparts who have more experience coping with adversity.

Fourthly and finally, my final reservation about the model proposed by Maslow lies in his faulty assumption that the philosophies and needs hierarchy of the model is an one-size-fits-all model crucially in this case across various cultures, sects and groups. Maslow proclaimed that proclaimed that anthropological evidence indicates the fundamental desires of all human beings do not differ as much as their everyday conscious desires, which are more overtly shaped by culture and circumstances.

However consciously speaking the theory was not completely generalizable to every culture, person etc. The variety of various cultural framing and influences towards the shaping and transformation processes of various needs of societies offer a more comprehensive viewpoint of this theories. Because of the paradoxes inherent in human nature, a directional model based on a predetermined hierarchy is not adequate as a theory for motivation.

The complex interrelationships between psychological development, personal and situational factors, social networks, the historical context, and the ecological environment must be integrated to create a broad and flexible model of human needs that is responsive to all of the factors that impact motivation of human behavior. c. Various questions can be modeled on the reservations and critique I offered earlier. To list them down – 1. Can an already satisfied motivator still resurface as a motivator in later parts of transformation ?

2. Can the model critically address the subjectivity and interpretation of individual needs ? 3. Does Maslow’ comprehensive ascertain the variety in the pursuit of each need ? 4. Does the model address the relativity and empirical influences of societal values, norms and upbringing in the shaping of needs of individuals ? 5. What significance does the assessment of each theory’s experimentation lay in the fact that they were done under extreme considerations and cases ? 6. To what amount are scientific evidences available to suffice his assumptions ? . To what extent do discreet needs overlap ? 8. Can a greater group of individuals collectively approach with a collective need ? 9. Can there be conflicts in need arousal within communities that negotiate as a single unit for a single dominating need ?

10. What and who prevails when contrasting ideologies of needs contest and confront each other ? 11. What morals tend to take a higher ground when dealing with majority and minority groups ? 12. Where does the moral high ground lay when contesting needs of governance as opposed to protestors ? 3. Does the applicability of Maslow’s hierarchy withstand today’s generation of globalized, connected and complex world ? 14. To what extent is it a comprehensive analysis of all of a person’s needs ? 15. Does it consider external influences and factors in dealing with the segregation of needs ? 16. How distinct are the five individual categories ? 17. How mutually exclusive and inclusive are each of the layers of this theory ? 18. What are the some of the more emerging schools of human needs ?

d. Maslow’s theory is widely accepted but there is little empirical evidence to support it. It is largely tentative and untested. Maslow’s writings are more philosophical than scientific. As a description of ‘needs’ it would be very hard to ethically test the idea. The ‘higher’ needs like self actualization also suffer from a difficulty in defining and operationalize them. But many of the principles we believe that guide our political, ethical, and social conduct are equally un-validated by hard science.

However what is striking about Maslow’s framework is you rarely hear anything say that it is not true, they more often say it is not useful or too vague. Very recent research by noted “positive psychology” scholar Ed Diener and his colleagues—conducted around the world in a variety of cultures—confirms the needs Abraham Maslow hypothesized but not the hierarchy. Maslow contended human needs were “prepotent”—meaning one had to be satisfied before another could be fulfilled. Diener, et al. , found that was not the case. Our needs coexist and do not progress in a linear order.

You can, for example, lack safety or adequate food, and still be at work on your self-actualization—as Viktor Frankl noted during his Nazi concentration camp experiences. Ed Diener and his researchers at the University of Illinois put Maslow’s ideas to the test with data from 123 countries representing every major region of the world. “Anyone who has ever completed a psychology class has heard of Abraham Maslow and his theory of needs,” said University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology Ed Diener, who led the study. But the nagging question has always been: Where is the proof? Students learn the theory, but scientific research backing this theory is rarely mentioned. ” The researchers turned to the Gallup World Poll, which conducted surveys in 155 countries from 2005 to 2010, and included questions about money, food, shelter, safety, social support, feeling respected, being self-directed, having a sense of mastery, and the experience of positive or negative emotions. Diener, a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization, helped design the survey.

The researchers found that fulfillment of a diversity of needs, as defined by Maslow, do appear to be universal and important to individual happiness. But the order in which “higher” and “lower” needs are met has little bearing on how much they contribute to life satisfaction and enjoyment, Diener said. They also found that the fulfillment of more basic needs – for money, food or shelter, for example – was more closely linked to a positive life evaluation, the way an individual ranked his or her life on a scale from orst to best. The satisfaction of higher needs – for social support, respect, autonomy or mastery – was “more strongly related to enjoying life – having more positive feelings and less negative feelings,” Diener said. An important finding, Diener said, is that the research indicated that people have higher life evaluations when others in society also have their needs fulfilled. “Thus life satisfaction is not just an individual affair, but depends substantially also on the quality of life of one’s fellow citizens,” he said. Our findings suggest that Maslow’s theory is largely correct. In cultures all over the world the fulfillment of his proposed needs correlates with happiness,” Diener said. “However, an important departure from Maslow’s theory is that we found that a person can report having good social relationships and self-actualization even if their basic needs and safety needs are not completely fulfilled. ” “Another revision of his theory is that we found that different needs produce different types of well-being,” Diener said.