Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy is one of the most well-known and influential perceptions on human behavior.

His theory describes how a person learning skills, growth, and behavior can be affected by whether or not certain needs are being met in that person’s life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was introduced in 1943 by Abraham Maslow in his book, A Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow’s Hierarchy explains that there are five basic needs for humans. The hierarchy is often presented as a pyramid in order to visualize the various levels of importance. The essentials at the base of the hierarchy are the most primitive and basic of human needs, and must be attended to before moving up the pyramid. The very first basic need which Abraham Maslow specifies is physiological needs.

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These fundamentals describe the items that are vital to survival. This includes food, water, air, shelter, clothing and other necessities which humans could not live without. Physiological needs also pertain to basic nutrition, environmental regulation, the stability of internal bodily conditions (also called homeostasis), and sexual reproduction. Physiological needs are all relevant to the progression and evolution of humankind. Next in Maslow’s hierarchy is the requirement for safety and security.

This exemplifies the need for order and structure in living conditions, as well as firm control over injustices and infractions in society. Safety and security also applies to financial, personal, and job security, as well as safety from illness and/or injury. After physiological and safety prerequisites – the two most basic human necessities – comes social needs. Social needs refer to a person’s emotional fundamentals for relationships and a sense of love and belonging in the community. Relationships within family, friendships, romances, religious organizations, and social or community groups may all satisfy human longings for acceptance.

This is often the reason people’s instinct to love and be loved. A lack of these social involvements could result in feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression. However, one’s longing for social acceptance may sometimes stand in the way of fulfilling the basic requirements for physiological needs and safety needs. Furthermore, the fourth stage of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs describes esteem needs. Esteem, or belongingness, needs describes human beings’ desire for respect, confidence, and achievement.

Esteem, along with social requirements, fall into the category of psychological needs for people. People yearn to feel respected and accepted by others. There are two levels of esteem needs – a lower level and higher level. The lower level includes external sources of attention, fame and glory. Abraham Maslow explained, however, that artificial status and prestige is not enough to improve low self-esteem, but rather self-esteem comes from what a person feels about themself. According to Maslow, a healthy self-respect comes from earned respect.

This is what the higher level of esteem requirements refer to internal needs such as self-esteem, strength, and independence. Higher level esteem needs are earned through one’s own experiences. A lack of meeting any esteem needs can result in feelings of inferiority, weakness, and helplessness. The fifth and final level of Maslow’s Hierarchy represents self-actualization needs. The stages of the pyramid before self-actualization – physiological, safety, social, and esteem – are referred to as “deficiency needs”.

This means that a person would not feel anything if those four needs are met. But if they are not met, anxiety will result. Deficiency needs must be satisfied before moving up to higher levels on the hierarchy. The need for self-actualization, however, forms after the deficiency needs are met. The requirement for self-actualization is actually perceived as a belongings or growth need, and involves a person’s motivation to reach his or hers full potential.

It also includes a person’s originality, creativity, and problem-solving tactics. Self-actualization is achieved when a person’s capabilities are utilized to the best of their ability. As Abraham Maslow himself stated, “What a man can be, he must be.” All in all, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is one of the more highly perceptive and explanatory theories of motivation ever to be developed. The hierarchy begins with the most basic of needs – physiological needs. Physiological needs must be fulfilled to ensure the advancement of humans.

Furthermore, safety essentials must be attended to in order to preserve humankind and what it has built, and create a sense of security among people. Social prerequisites then become a fundamental so as to fill people’s desires for acceptance and belonging, and confirm a place in society for all people. Esteem needs will then arise as a priority so as to assure that every individual is comfortable in their position, and develop a sense of accomplishment and worth for their experiences. And, last but not least, is the final stage of Maslow’s hierarchy, which becomes every persons goal once all the basic necessities are finally met. Self-actualization satisfies a person’s drive towork to their full potential, and use one’s talents to their full extents. On the whole, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs portrays the certain steps to take in order to progress in life and become the best that one can be.

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