Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Posted on June 8, 2009 by

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Psychological and sociological theories explaining how individuals and groups behave, such as this theory, is listed as the tool of Organizational Theories in the fourth edition PMBOK®’s Develop Human Resource Plan process. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivation theory that explains how people are differentially motivated depending on their state of needs. The most basic needs are physiological—such as eating, sleeping and breathing. Only after these needs are met, are people able to concentrate on meeting the next level of needs. The next level consists of safety needs, following by belongingness needs, and esteem needs. Only after all these have been satisfied can an individual be at the highest level called self-actualization, which is fully meeting one’s potential. Later, Maslow suggested additional levels to his hierarchy. Note that it is possible to take steps backward on the hierarchy. For example, one may be focused on gaining respect at work and forget to take lunch. Eventually the physiological need to eat will become more urgent to meet than the esteem needs. Also see the earlier posting of Develop Human Resource Plan Process (posted March 24, 2009).