What is the Hierarchy of Needs

Hierarchy of Needs motivation theory was developed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. It tells us about the five fundamental needs of human and their hierarchical nature. This theory is a five staged theory. It is often displayed in the form of a pyramid. The bottom of the pyramid contains the most basic needs and the complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. This theory was introduced for the employees to provide an environment which is encouraging and motivating. It explains that certain basic needs are to be satisfied prior to the satisfaction of certain higher needs like if you feel that you are hungry and you need something to eat and all of sudden your throat choked because of some reason then what would be your priority? Of course it would be the need to breath and then food. Maslow has explained 5 needs in this theory which are: physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self actualization needs.

Physiological needs: the first and foremost needs which are placed at the bottom of the pyramid are physiological needs. These needs include water, air, food, shelter, sleep etc which are vital to survival. All other needs are secondary until these needs are met. Safety needs: this includes safety and security from any kind of harm. For example job security, physical safety etc. Social needs: these include the needs for belongings like the need to belong with a group. It also includes the needs of love, affection, friendship etc. these needs are less important than physiological and safety needs. Esteem needs: these include the needs to be recognized for a well done job like self respect, status, personal worth etc. Self actualization needs: when all other needs of a person met, these needs become increasingly important. It means personal growth. These involve the desire to fulfill potentials. It aims at becoming the most complete which we are capable of becoming and greatest achievement. But to fulfill these needs, you need to meet all the other 4 needs. Without them, these needs are secondary and cannot be fulfilled.

This theory is usually used by the management people to keep the employees highly motivated and encouraged. This model has some problems too when it comes to implement it on real life. What is true for one person cannot be true for another. But in spite of its criticism, this theory is quite popular.

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