Maslow's Theory of Needs

Needs Theory is a psychological framework that examines the ways and levels of human motivation and what the key drivers of human behavior. It has been remembered as a groundbreaking theory since the day it was introduced. This theory argues that human needs are hierarchical in nature and each level is built on the next. By understanding this basic theory it is possible to gain important insights about the factors that shape human behavior and lead individuals to personal development and satisfaction. I personally like following this theory in my business life. 

Maslow's Hierarchy is one of the motivational models in the project management models which is a part of models, methods and artifacts. It is useful to be cared about while planning resource management, developing team and managing team.

You can imagine the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs like a pyramid shape. It is not developed as a pyramid by Maslow at first place. Maslow only presented the hierarchy. But today it is shown as a pyramide.  There are five levels with each level representing a different category of needs. These needs are arranged in ascending order from the most basic to the highest levels of personal growth.

Physiological Needs: Consider the essentials for humanity. At the basic level of the pyramid are the physiological needs necessary -at a minimum- to be able to live. These are basic needs such as air, water, food, shelter, sleep and other bodily needs. Meeting these needs is also important in the business environment as it is crucial to sustaining life. It takes priority over meeting all other needs. We cannot even take the word motivation into our language until these needs are met.

Safety Needs: Once physiological needs are met, individuals seek safety and security. This situation has been the same since the stone age. This pursuit includes protection from harm, employment stability, financial security, a safe living environment and access to resources for health and well being. Meeting security needs instills a sense of stability and security, allowing individuals to better focus on higher order needs.

Love and Belonging Needs: Individuals who moved up the hierarchy start to seek something different. These are abstract things like social connections, love and a sense of belonging and other similar things. These needs are manifested in interpersonal relationships, friendships and a desire for acceptance in family, friends, and society. Meeting these needs develops a sense of friendship and emotional support that contributes to overall well being.

Esteem Needs: Esteem needs refer to the desire for showing respect to your own self and recognition by others. These needs fall into two categories: the need for self esteem, which includes a sense of self confidence and achievement and the need for respect from others, which includes recognition, respect and admiration from peers. Meeting these needs strengthens self worth and confidence and encourages self-actualization.

Self Realization: At the top of the pyramid is self actualization, which represents the upper border of human potential. Self actualization is the pursuit of personal development, the realization of one's abilities and the realization of one's unique potential. It includes a deep sense of purpose, creativity, and a desire to contribute to society in a meaningful way. Self actualization is a journey of continuous growth and self discovery.

Interaction Between Needs

According to Maslow's theory, needs are met in a hierarchical manner. Individuals must meet lower-level requirements before moving on to higher-level requirements. For example a person will not worry about their self esteem if their physiological and safety needs are not met. Conversely once lower level needs are satisfied, individuals are motivated to seek higher-order needs and eventually strive for self actualization.

It is important to note that individuals can move back and forth between levels depending on living conditions and status changes. A setback or life event may temporarily shift the focus to lower level needs until stability is restored.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has far reaching applications in a variety of fields, including psychology, education, marketing, management and, of course, project management.

See also:

Herzberg's Two Factors Theory

Theory x, Theory Y and Theory Z