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Abraham Maslow

"Maslow and the hierarchy of human needs"

Abraham Maslow was concerned with trying to identify and classify the main needs that humans have. Our needs determine our action - we will always try to satisfy them and we will be motivated to do so. If work can be organized so we can satisfy some or all of our needs at work, we will become more productive and satisfied. He summarized all the human needs in a form of hierarchy:

  • Each person need to start from the bottom
  • Once a level of human need is achieved, he/she will strive to achieve the next level
  • Many people might not recognize their talents, but everyone is capable of reaching their full potential
  • Once a need has been achieved, it will not motivate the person to act again - when material needs has been satisfied, they will not increase productivity, even with a lot of money to offer
  • It is possible for a person to go back one level - losing a job

Limitations of Maslow's approachEdit

  • Not everyone has the same needs as is assumed by the hierarchy.
  • In practice it can be very difficult to identify the degree to which each need has been met and which level a worker is 'on'.
  • Money is necessary to satisfy physical needs, yet it might also play a role in satisfying the other levels of needs, such as status of esteem.
  • Self-actualisation is never permanently achieved, as some observers of the hierarchy have suggested.  Jobs must continually offer challenges and opportunities for fulfilment, otherwise regression will occur.

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