Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known theories for motivation. In 1943, the American Psychologist proposed this theory of human motivation. Human beings have a certain number of needs, and these needs arranged in a hierarchy. Yet, some requirements are more primitive than others, such as social and ego needs.
A hierarchical pyramid with five levels explains Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, yet recent depictions of the hierarchical pyramid contain seven or eight levels. The lowest levels of the pyramid have the most basic needs, while the top-level contains more complex needs.
Maslow used terms like “psychological,” “safety,” “belonging,” “love,” “social needs” or “esteems” and “self-actualization,” to describe the patterns through which human motivation moves. It means that for a human motivation to move from one stage to another, the first should be satisfied.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid
The four lower levels of the pyramid are known as a deficiency or psychological needs. Since a person does not feel anything if they are met but feels anxious if they are not. The needs at the bottom level are basic physical requirements. For example, drinking, eating, and sleeping, etc. Once these lower needs met, people can move to the next level of needs.
As people progress up to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, the requirements become psychological and social. Examples of social obligations are self-esteem, ego, and friendship, and so on. The top-level enables a person to reach his highest potential as a human being or to ‘self-actualize.’
Deficiency Needs Vs. Growth Needs
Maslow believed that human needs are like instincts, and they play a vital role in motivating human behavior. Deficiency needs are psychological, esteem, security, and social needs. They arise due to deprivation. Moreover, the satisfaction of these lower needs is essential to avoid unpleasant feelings.
According to Maslow, the highest level is known as growth needs because these do not cause from lack of something. But instead from the desire to grow as a person. But, Maslow noted that the order of these needs does not always follow the standard progression. For example, he discovered that for some people, the need for self- esteem is more important than the need for love.
Since the human brain is a complex system and has a parallel process running at the same time, thus many different motivations from various levels of pyramid can occur at the same time. Thus Maslow acknowledged that the different levels of motivation could happen at any time in the human mind.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Level
The following are five categories of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
1. Psychological or Physical Needs
The concept of psychological need cultivates the foundation for motivation. This need includes things that are vital for human survival. So they are universal human needs. For example
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, psychological needs are part of internal motivation. And if a person does not meet these needs, he is unlikely to pursue other needs.
2. Safety and Security Needs
As we move up to the second level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need becomes more complicated. At this level, the primary requirements are safety and security. Safety and security needs are about protecting us from harm. This need predominates in children as they generally have a greater need to feel safe. If a person does not feel safe in an environment, he will seek to find safety before he attempts any higher-level needs. Examples are
- Personal security
- Emotional security
- Health and well being
- Financial security
Together, psychological and safety needs make up basic needs.
3. Social Needs
According to Maslow, the next level in the hierarchy is Social needs. Social needs involve feelings of love and acceptance. These are needs for romantic relationships as well as ties, friends, and family members. They are interpersonal and raise the sense of belongingness. Social needs include-
According to Maslow, humans need these social involvements in their professional and personal life. Humans need to love and to be loved by others.
After the satisfaction of more basic needs, self-esteem becomes essential to an individual. Self-esteem needs are ego needs or status needs. These needs are common in adults. Since they often develop a concern with getting recognition status, importance, and respect from others. This need presents the typical desire of an individual to be accepted and valued by others. People engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. People with low self-esteem or inferiority complex develop psychological imbalances such as depression and anxiety. Examples of this need are-
Self-actualizing is the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The basis of this need could be “What a man can be, he must be.” It means the desire to do everything that one can, to become the most one can be. This level refers to the realization of one’s full potential. Self-actualizing people are self-aware and concerned with personal growth. It includes-
- Realizing personal potential
- Pursuing talent
- Personal growth
- Peak experiences
Thus, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has further elaborated by many researchers. It has five stages that we have discussed. Although this theory faced criticism for being schematic. Still, it is the intuitive and useful theory of human motivation.