Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” published in the year 1943 had put forth a series of human needs that are positioned in a pyramid hierarchy, and have to be met accordingly. 


The identified needs are – physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation needs. 

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  1. Physiological Needs 

These are the most primitive needs of an individual which have to be met continuously. Examples – air, sleep, water, food, shelter.

  1. Safety Needs 

It ranks above basic physiological needs and ensures the survival of an individual. Examples – physical security, employment security.

  1. Love and Belonging Needs 

It is the starting point of interpersonal relationships and transcends basic material needs. Examples – family relationship, friendship, intimate partner relationship.

  1. Esteem Needs 

Esteem needs indicate individuals require validation for their competence, at some levels. It imparts the sense of being worthy of respect. Examples – attention, status, prestige. 

  1. Self-Actualisation Needs 

Self-actualisation means meeting one’s potential and harnessing the ability to reach such potential. This is the highest need to be met after fulfilling the other needs down the pyramid rung. Example – pursuing goals leading to personal fulfilment. 

These identified needs may be grouped into growth or being needs and deficit needs. The growth needs primarily include self-actualisation, which includes the desire to gain something intangible for self-accomplishment. The rest fall under deficit needs as the deprivation of these has to be met necessarily.


Did You Know?

Maslow’s 7 hierarchy of needs has found much greater application in organisation and business settings. The goods and services which were previously offered by businesses are also undergoing significant changes. 

Moving from physical and tangible goods, these offer intangible things like connectivity and information. Maslow’s hierarchy model is particularly vital in bringing in newer changes in the financial markets. 


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Examples 

Consider these real-life examples

  • Apart from breathing and eating, bathing and dressing also form part of integral activities fulfilling our basic physiological needs.

  • Pension or retirement benefits are a critical part of social needs for senior individuals. It belongs to safety needs. 


Importance of Maslow’s Needs Theory 

The hierarchy of needs was propounded by Maslow in the domain of psychology. However, the theory has found application in various domains, and as such gaining greater importance with every passing day in business settings. 

For a theory which was put forward in 1943, its significance has not diminished in the twenty-first century at all. In both individual and organisational context, the identification and fulfilment of these inherent needs provide the scope for self-improvement, personal development and growth. 


Test Your Knowledge 

i. According to Maslow pyramid of needs, after all the physiological needs are met which of the following aspects do individuals desire for?

(a) Esteem needs

(b) Belonging needs

(c) Self-actualisation needs

(d) Safety needs


ii. Rebecca always feels she is never included in social events or group activities which has given rise to loneliness and depression. According to Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs, which of the following needs has not been fulfilled?

(a) Safety needs  

(b) Physiological needs 

(c) Esteem needs  

(d) Belonging needs 

Solutions: i. (c) Self-actualisation needs, ii. (d) Belonging needs


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory?

Ans. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explained the necessity of fulfilling a five-tier model of human needs which comprise safety needs, physiological needs, belonging needs, self-actualisation needs and esteem needs.

2. What is the Importance of Maslow’s Theory ?

Ans. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is a motivational theory in psychology that identifies specific needs of individuals which have to be met based on the pyramid of hierarchy. Needs at the bottom rung have to be met first.

3. What is the Order of Maslow Theory of Needs, from Bottom to Top?

Ans. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from bottom to top is – physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation.