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Maslows Hierarchy Theory Assignment help

Developed by well-known psychologist, A.H. Maslow, Maslow Theory or Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides a framework to understand human needs and correspondingly, how an individual can satisfy a need in a higher level only once his needs in lower levels are satisfied. 

This theory also helps to understand various levels in economy and how they are placed in sequential order. It also helps to analyse economic development which can be attained as economy reaches higher levels of the pyramid structure.

Categories of Maslow’s Hierarchy

The Maslow’s theory states that all human needs can be divided into five categories and that human beings are motivated to satisfy these needs in sequential order as stated below in the pyramid structure (beginning with the lowest level of needs – physiological needs):

Categories of Maslow’s Hierarchy

  1. Physiological Needs: Also known as basic needs, these refer to the needs of the human beings that are required to sustain life. These are known as basic needs as they are basic requirements to keep human body functioning well. Some examples of basic needs include air, water, sleep, nourishment etc. According to Maslow, if these basic needs are not satisfied, then the individual will be motivated to strive towards fulfilling these needs. Till these needs are satisfied, an individual will not be motivated to fulfil any needs in higher tiers of the pyramid.
  2. Safety and Security Needs: According to Maslow, once an individual satisfies his or her basic physiological needs, the individual will be automatically motivated to cater to his or her safety needs. It refers to ensuring that an individual is safe and secure from any kind of harm, be it physical or emotional. Some of the examples of safety and security needs include safe accommodation, job security, financial savings for bad times, insurance against unexpected happenings such as accident, health issues or mortality etc. According to Maslow, till an individual ensures that he or she is safe and secure from any kind of harm, the individual will be unable to give attention to fulfilment of any needs in the higher tiers of the pyramid.
  3. Belonging Needs: According to Maslow, once an individual satisfies his or her physiological needs and safety and security needs, he or she will be motivated to satisfy his or her belonging needs. These are also known as social needs. Social needs are those that include interaction with other individuals in society and building relationships. Some of the examples of belonging needs include need for belonging, need for having friends; need to have loved ones etc. According to Maslow, till a person satisfies his or her physiological needs, security needs and belonging needs, in that order, he or she will be unable to focus on needs mentioned in higher tiers of the pyramid.
  4. Esteem Needs: According to Maslow, once an individual feels that he or she has fulfilled his or her physiological needs, security needs and belonging needs, the individual starts focusing on fulfilling his or her esteem needs. Esteem need refers to the need to feel important. This particular need can be categorized as internal and external. Internal esteem needs refer to self-esteem needs. Some examples are self-respect and sense of achievement of an individual. It is related to individual’s perspective about his or her own image. External esteem needs refer to need of an individual to be recognised, appreciated or respected by others. Some examples are reputation, recognition and attention by others. It is related to individual’s image in eyes of the others in society.
  5. Self-Actualization Needs: According to Maslow, this need depicts the peak of the pyramid. Once an individual has fulfilled physiological needs, security needs, belonging needs and esteem needs, the individual will be motivated to attain his or her self-actualization needs. Self-actualization needs refer to a person’s desire to realize his or her full potential. A unique aspect of this need is that unlike other four remaining needs, this need can never be fully satisfied. This is because as soon as a person attains a set objective, there will be new opportunities or avenues to explore so as to realize more potential. This is because this level leads to change in psychology of a person. According to Maslow, very few people are able to reach this level of needs in the hierarchy and those who do experience immense happiness and peace with themselves. Some typical characteristics of people who reach this level are that they seek justice, truth, wisdom and actual meaning of life. 

Maslow’s theory can be applied not only to an individual’s personal life but also in other settings such as workplace. For example, a person who has just begun his or her career will obviously be inclined to earn enough to ensure his or her basic needs are satisfied. The next step will be to get a decent place to live where he or she feels secure. After that a person will aim to invest so as to save for bad times and similarly will invest to insure himself or herself against mishaps such as accident, death, medical issues etc. Then the person will try and ensure job security so that the basic needs remain satisfied. Once these needs are satisfied, the person will look at his relationships in life – with colleagues, friends, family, etc. Till a person is satisfied that he or she is earning enough to meet his or her psychological and security needs, the person cannot be motivated to attain other needs such as creating relationships or attaining esteem needs. Additionally, if a person has reached higher levels of the pyramid, and his or her lower level needs become unsatisfied (say, due to economic downturn), the person will move down to lower levels of the pyramid to ensure satisfaction of physiological and security needs. Hence, it becomes imperative that in hard times such as bad economic environment or staff reduction, the managers should handle the situation sensitively so that the remaining employees do not start feeling insecure regarding their job security etc. 

Similarly, the theory can be applied to any economic situation for analysis purposes.

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