Maslow's Theory of Motivation - Hierarchy of Needs
In 1943, Dr. Abraham Maslow 's article "A Theory of Human Motivation" appeared in Psychological Review, which were further expanded upon in his book: Toward a Psychology of Being In this article, Abraham H. Maslow attempted to formulate a needs-based framework of human motivation and based upon his clinical experiences with people, rather than as did the prior psychology theories of his day from authors such as Freud and B.F. Skinner, which were largely theoretical or based upon animal behavior. From this theory of motivation, modern leaders and executive managers find means of motivation for the purposes of employee and workforce management. Abraham Maslow's book Motivation and Personality (1954), formally introduced the Hierarchy of Needs.
The basis of Maslow's motivation theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower factors need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, survival, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs "deficiency needs." As long as we are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy, while preventing gratification makes us sick or act evilly.
As a result, for adequate workplace motivation, it is important that leadership understands the needs active for individual employee motivation. In this manner, Maslow's model indicates that fundamental, lower-order needs like safety and physiological requirements have to be satisfied in order to pursue higher-level motivators along the lines of self-fulfillment. As depicted in the following hierarchical diagram, sometimes called 'Maslow's Needs Pyramid' or 'Maslow's Needs Triangle', after a need is satisfied, it stops acting as a motivator and the next need one rank higher starts to motivate as it attain psychological precedence.
Self-actualization is the summit of Maslow's motivation theory. It is about 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 motivators such as:
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.
After a person feels that they "belong", the urge to attain a degree of importance emerges. Esteem needs can be categorized as external motivators and internal motivators.
Internally motivating esteem needs are those such as self-esteem, accomplishment, and self respect. External esteem needs are those such as reputation and recognition.
Some examples of esteem needs are:
- Recognition (external motivator)
- Attention (external motivator)
- Social Status (external motivator)
- Accomplishment (internal motivator)
- Self-respect (internal motivator)
Maslow later improved his model to add a layer in between self-actualization and esteem needs: the need for aesthetics and knowledge.
Once a person has met the lower level physiological and safety needs, higher level motivators awaken. The first level of higher level needs are social needs. Social needs are those related to interaction with others and may include:
- Belonging to a group
- Giving and receiving love
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, needs further up the pyramid will not receive attention until that need has been resolved.
Physiological needs are those required to sustain life, such as:
According to this 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.
Applying Maslow's Needs Hierarchy - Business Management Implications
If Maslow's theory is true, there are some very important leadership implications to enhance workplace motivation, and you don't need a masters in applied psychology, for it to be evident. There are employee motivation opportunities by motivating each employee through their style of management, compensation plans, role definition, and company activities.
- Physiological Motivation: Provide ample breaks for lunch and recuperation and pay salaries that allow workers to buy life's essentials.
- Safety Needs: Provide a working environment which is safe, relative job security, and freedom from threats.
- Social Needs: Generate a feeling of acceptance, belonging, and community by reinforcing team dynamics.
- Esteem Motivators: Recognize achievements, assign important projects, and provide status to make employees feel valued and appreciated.
- Self-Actualization: Offer challenging and meaningful work assignments which enable innovation, creativity, and progress according to long-term goals.
Remember, everyone is not motivated by same needs. At various points in their lives and careers, various employees will be motivated by completely different needs. It is imperative that you recognize each employee's needs currently being pursued. In order to motivate their employees, leadership must be understand the current level of needs at which the employee finds themselves, and leverage needs for workplace motivation.
Maslow's Theory - Limitations and Criticism
Though Maslow's hierarchy makes sense intuitively, little evidence supports its strict hierarchy. Actually, recent research challenges the order that the needs are imposed by Maslow's pyramid. As an example, in some cultures, social needs are placed more fundamentally than any others. Further, Maslow's hierarchy fails to explain the "starving artist" scenario, in which the aesthetic neglects their physical needs to pursuit of aesthetic or spiritual goals. Additionally, little evidence suggests that people satisfy exclusively one motivating need at a time, other than situations where needs conflict.
While scientific support fails to reinforce Maslow's hierarchy, his theory is very popular, being the introductory motivation theory for many students and managers, worldwide. To handle a number of the issues of present in the Needs Hierarchy, Clayton Alderfer devised the ERG theory, a consistent needs-based model that aligns more accurately with scientific research.
Frederick Herzberg - Motivational Theory
Frederick Herzberg's motivation theory is one of the content theories of motivation. This attempt to explain the factors that motivate individuals through identifying and satisfying their individual needs, desires and the aims pursued to satisfy these desires. (cf: Maslow's Needs Hierarchy ) Frederick Herzberg studied clinical psychology in Pittsburgh, researching work-related motivation of thousands of employees. He published his findings in "The Motivation to Work" (1959).
This theory of motivation is known as a two factor theory. It is based upon the notion that motivation can be split into hygiene factors and motivation factors. He concluded that there were two types of motivation:
Hygiene Factors which can demotivate when not present. Hygiene Factors affect the level of dissatisfaction, but are rarely quoted as creators of job satisfaction.
- interpersonal relations
- physical working conditions
Motivation Factors which will motivate when present. Job dissatisfaction isn't usually blamed on Motivation Factors, but they are cited as the cause of job satisfaction.
These two separate 'needs' are the need to avoid unpleasantness and discomfort and, at the other end of the motivational scale, the need for personal development. A shortage of the factors that positively encourage employees (the motivating factors) will cause employees to focus on other, non-job related 'hygiene' factors.
Differences Between Maslow’s and Herzberg’s Theories
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
It emphasizes that any unsatisfied need whether of lower-order of higher-order is motivating to the individual.
It emphasizes that only higher order needs are motivating to the individual. The Lower-order needs (hygiene factors) neutralize dissatisfaction.
It has universal applicability. It can be applied to all kinds of employees.
It has limited applicability. It is applicable mostly to white-collar and professional employees.
It is a descriptive theory. It did not make any suggestion to deal with the motivational problems.
It is a prescriptive theory. It suggested job enrichment to deal with the motivational problem.
It deals with general motivation and applies to all people in the society.
It deals with work-related motivation and applies only to people in the organisations.
It states that financial reward can motivate behaviour.
It states that financial reward cannot motivate behaviour.
1. Meaning ↓
Maslow's theory is based on the concept of human needs and their satisfaction.
Hertzberg's theory is based on the use of motivators which include achievement, recognition and opportunity for growth.
2. Basis of Theory ↓
Maslow's theory is based on the hierarchy of human needs. He identified five sets of human needs (on priority basis) and their satisfaction in motivating employees.
Hertzberg refers to hygiene factors and motivating factors in his theory. Hygiene factors are dissatisfies while motivating factors motivate subordinates. Hierarchical arrangement of needs is not given.
3. Nature of Theory ↓
Maslow's theory is rather simple and descriptive. The theory is based long experience about human needs.
Hertzberg's theory is more prescriptive. It suggests the motivating factors which can be used effectively. This theory is based on actual information collected by Hertzberg by interviewing 200 engineers and accountants.
4. Applicability of Theory ↓
Maslow's theory is most popular and widely cited theory of motivation and has wide applicability. It is mostly applicable to poor and developing countries where money is still a big motivating factor.
Herzberg's theory is an extension of Maslow's theory of motivation. Its applicability is narrow. It is applicable to rich and developed countries where money is less important motivating factor.
5. Descriptive or Prescriptive ↓
Maslow's theory or model is descriptive in nature.
Herzberg's theory or model is prescriptive in nature.
6. Motivators ↓
According to Maslow's model, any need can act as motivator provided it is not satisfied or relatively less satisfied.
In the dual factor model of Hertzberg, hygiene factors (lower level needs) do not act as motivators. Only the higher order needs (achievement, recognition, challenging work) act as motivators.