Maslow’s need hierarchy theory


We all know that the needs of a man are ever growing. When one need is satisfied, another need arises. And also, it is these needs which become the driving force for motivating a person.

Maslow’s need hierarchy theory is a theory proposed by Abraham Maslow. This theory also states that needs of a man are endless. However, they can be classified into 5 categories-

1.Physiological needs – basic needs for food, water and shelter.

2.Security needs – includes personal safety, financial security, old age security etc

3.Social needs – include the need for love, friendship, belongingness etc.

4.Esteem needs – needs related to status, ego, pride, self respect.

5.Self actualization needs – includes need for personal development, growth, leadership, to express oneself freely etc.

The theory suggests that for any normal human being, the needs always arise in such an order. The security needs will arise only when the physiological needs have been fulfilled and the next level needs will arise when security needs have been satisfied. So, in order to find out what will motivate an individual at a given time, these needs in this hierarchy maybe studied to identify and come up with the best motivating technique.


Especially in any organization, where the individuals working vary in their backgrounds, qualifications, aspirations etc, it is very difficult to ascertain what will motivate an employee to perform better. This is where this theory helps HR mangers in bringing positive changes in the performance and behavior of the employees. On the basis of the identified need which can be a potential motivating factor, monetary or non monetary techniques maybe used. This theory has helped HR mangers a lot.

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