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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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by Mamdouh Fahim

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  • 1. Organizational Behavior Module Assignment 1: Explain what "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" is and how it can be applied in relation to employee's motivation. Discuss the theories that support and the theories that criticize Maslow's theory. What is your personal opinion and analysis of this theory?
  • 2. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 2 The basis of Maslow's theory of motivation is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be addressed. Per the teachings of Abraham Maslow, there are general needs (physiological, safety, love, and esteem) which have to be fulfilled before a person is able to act unselfishly. These needs were dubbed "deficiency needs." While a person is motivated to fulfill these basal desires, they continue to move toward growth, and eventually self-actualization. The satisfaction of these needs is quite healthy. While preventing their gratification makes us ill or act evilly. As a result, for adequate workplace motivation, it is important that leadership understands the active needs active for individual employee motivation. In this manner, Maslow's model indicates that fundamental, lower-order needs like safety and physiological requirements have to be satisfied in order to pursue higher- level motivators along the lines of self-fulfillment. As depicted in the following hierarchical diagram, sometimes called 'Maslow's Needs Pyramid' or 'Maslow's Needs Triangle', after a need is satisfied it stops acting as a motivator and the next need one rank higher starts to motivate.
  • 3. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 3 The psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a theory that suggests we, humans, are motivated to satisfy five basic needs. These needs are arranged in a hierarchy. Maslow suggests that we seek first to satisfy the lowest level of needs. Once this is done, we seek to satisfy each higher level of need until we have satisfied all five needs. While modern research shows some shortcomings with this theory, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory remains an important and simple motivation tool for managers to understand and apply. The Hierarchy of Needs is as follows: 1. Physiological Needs (basic issues of survival such as salary and stable employment) 2. Security Needs (stable physical and emotional environment issues such as benefits, pension, safe work environment, and fair work practices) 3. "Belongingness" Needs (social acceptance issues such as friendship or cooperation on the job) 4. Esteem Needs (positive self-image and respect and recognition issues such as job titles, nice work spaces, and prestigious job assignments.) 5. Self-Actualization Needs (achievement issues such as workplace autonomy, challenging work, and subject matter expert status on the job) With Maslow's theory, an employee's beginning emphasis on the lower order needs of physiology and security makes sense. Generally, a person beginning their career will be very concerned with physiological needs such as adequate wages and stable income and security needs such as benefits and a safe work environment. We all want a good salary to meet the needs of our family and we want to work in a stable environment. Employees whose lowest level needs have not been met will make job decisions based on compensation, safety, or stability concerns. Also, employees will revert to satisfying their lowest level needs when these needs are no longer met or are threatened (such as during an economic downturn). This places an extra obligation on managers to act humanely when difficult organizational decisions such as staff reductions have to be implemented. Callous implementation of difficult decisions will cause the remaining employees in the organization to feel threatened about the ability or desire of the organization to continue to meet their physiological and security needs. Once these basic needs are met, the employee will want his "belongingness" (or social) needs met. The level of social interaction an employee desires will vary based on whether the employee is an introvert or extrovert. The key point is that employees desire to work in an environment where they are accepted in the organization and have
  • 4. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 4 some interaction with others. This means effective interpersonal relations are necessary. Managers can create an environment where staff cooperation is rewarded. This will encourage interpersonal effectiveness. Ongoing managerial communication about operational matters is also an important component of meeting employee's social needs. Employees who are "kept in the dark" about operational matters and the future plans of the organization often feel like they are an organizational outsider. (This last point is especially important for virtual employees whose absence from the office puts an extra obligation on managers to keep these employees engaged in organizational communications.) With these needs satisfied, an employee will want his higher level needs of esteem and self-actualization met. Esteem needs are tied to an employee's image of himself and his desire for the respect and recognition of others. Even if an individual does not want to move into management, he probably does not want to do the same exact work for 20 years. He may want to be on a project team, complete a special task, learn other tasks or duties, or expand his duties in some manner. Cross-training, job enrichment, and special assignments are popular methods for making work more rewarding. Further, allowing employees to participate in decision making on operational matters is a powerful method for meeting an employee's esteem needs. Finally, symbols of accomplishment such as a meaningful job title, job perks, awards, a nice office, business cards, work space, etc. are also important to an employee's esteem. The important consideration for managers is that they must provide rewards to their employees that both come from the organization and from doing the work itself. Rewards need to be balanced to have a maximum effect. With self-actualization, the employee will be interested in growth and individual development. He will also need to be skilled at what he does. He may want a challenging job, an opportunity to complete further education, increased freedom from supervision, or autonomy to define his own processes for meeting organizational objectives. At this highest level, managers focus on promoting an environment where an employee can meet his own self-actualization needs. The basic idea of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is that our needs are constantly changing. As one need is met, we desire other needs. This makes sense. Will the raise we received 3 years ago motivate us for the next 10 years? Will the challenging job we began 5 years ago have the same effect on us today? Will the performance award we received last year completely satisfy our need for recognition for the rest of our lives? The answers to all of these questions is clearly, no. This is the beauty of Maslow's theory of motivation. Employee needs change with time. This means that managers
  • 5. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 5 must continually adapt to employees' changing needs if they want to keep their workforce motivated. Maslow understood these truths! Maslow's theory has often been criticized because we can find exceptions to it, such as the military, police, firefighters, etc. who will risk their safety for the well-being of others or parents who will sacrifice their basic needs for their children. However, there are very few theories that are not flawed in that once we start drilling down to individualistic levels, then the theory or generalization often starts to fall apart. For example, even Newton's theory of physics, which later became laws, fell apart once we were able to drill down to the atomic level. Maslow's theory remains a classic because rather than looking at psychology as strictly the study of the mentally ill, his theory was based upon healthy persons. And being one of the first humanistic ones, it has its share of flaws. In Maslow's (1971) later years, he become more interested in the higher order or met needs and tried to further distinguish them. Maslow theorized that the ultimate goal of life is self-actualization, which is almost never fully attained but rather is something we try to always strive for. He later theorized that this level does not stop; it goes on to self-transcendence, which carries us to the spiritual level, e.g. Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Dalai Lama, or even poets, such as Robert Frost. Maslow's self-transcendence level recognizes the human need for ethics, creativity, compassion and spirituality. Without this spiritual or transgenic sense, we are simply animals or machines.
  • 6. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 6 This expansion of the higher order needs is shown here: Note that the four meta needs (above the inner pyramid) can be pursued in any order, depending upon a person's wants or circumstances, as long as the basic needs have all been met: 8. Self-transcendence — a transgenic level that emphasizes visionary intuition, altruism, and unity consciousness. 7. Self-actualization — knows exactly who you are, where you are going, and what you want to accomplish. A state of well-being 6. Aesthetic — to do things not simply for the outcome but because it's the reason you are here on earth — at peace, more curious about the inner workings of all things. 5. Cognitive — to be free of the good opinion of others — learning for learning alone, contribute knowledge. 4. Esteem — feeling of moving up in world, recognition, few doubts about self. 3. Belongingness and love — belong to a group, close friends to confide with. 2. Safety — feels free from immediate danger. 1. Physiological — food, water, shelter, sex.
  • 7. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 7 In addition, just as in his earlier model, we may be in a state of flux — we shift between levels (Maslow, 1968). For example there may be peak experiences for temporary self- actualizations and self-transcendence. These are our spiritual or creative moments. Going Beyond Maslow While the research of Maslow's theory has undergone limited empirical scrutiny, it still remains quite popular due to its simplicity and being the start of the movement away from a totally behaviorist/reductionist/mechanistic approach to a more humanistic one. In addition, a lot of concerns are directed at his methodology in that he picked a small number of people that he declared self-actualizing and came to the conclusion about self-actualization. However, he understood this and thought of his work as simply a method of pointing the way, rather than being the final say. In addition, he hoped that others would take up the cause and complete what he had begun. This brings us to the next models. Other researchers have taken up his cause and furthered refined them, mostly in the area of organizations and work. Herzberg, Alderfer, and McGregor's research are all closely tied to Maslow's theory. H e r z b e r g ' s H y g i e n e a n d M o t i v a t i o n a l F a c t o r s Frederick Herzberg was considered one of the most influential management consultants and professors of the modern postwar era. Herzberg was probably best known for his challenging thinking on work and motivation. He was considered both an icon and legend among visionaries such as Abraham Maslow, Peter Drucker, and Douglas MacGregor. Herzberg (1966) is best known for his list of factors that are based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, except his version is more closely related to the working environment: HERZBERG'S HYGIENE & MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS Hygiene or Dissatisfies:  Working conditions  Policies and administrative practices  Salary and Benefits  Supervision  Status  Job security
  • 8. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 8  Co-workers  Personal life Motivators or Satisfiers:  Recognition  Achievement  Advancement  Growth  Responsibility  Job challenge Hygiene or dissatisfies factors must be present in the job before motivators can be used to stimulate a person. That is, you cannot use motivators until all the hygiene factors are met. Herzberg's needs are specifically job related and reflect some of the distinct things that people want from their work as opposed to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs which reflect all the needs in a person's life. Building on this model, Herzberg coined the term job enrichment — the process of redesigning work in order to build in motivators by increasing both the number of tasks
  • 9. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 9 that an employee performs and the control over those tasks. It is associated with the design of jobs and is an extension of job enlargement (an increase in the number of tasks that an employee performs). M c G r e g o r ' s T h e o r y X a n d T h e o r y Y Douglas McGregor (1957) developed a philosophical view of humankind with his Theory X and Theory Y — two opposing perceptions about how people view human behavior at work and organizational life. McGregor felt that organizations and the managers within them followed either one or the other approach: Theory X People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives. People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition. People seek security above all else. In an organization with Theory X assumptions, management's role is to coerce and control employees. Theory Y Work is as natural as play and rest. People will exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives (they are NOT lazy). Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement. People learn to accept and seek responsibility. Creativity, ingenuity, and imagination are widely distributed among the population. People are capable of using these abilities to solve an organizational problem. People have potential.
  • 10. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 10 In an organization with Theory Y assumptions, management's role is to develop the potential in employees and help them to release that potential towards common goals. Theory X is the view that traditional management has taken towards the workforce. Most organizations are now taking the enlightened view of theory Y (even though they might not be very good at it). A boss can be viewed as taking the theory X approach, while a leader takes the theory Y approach. Notice that Maslow, Herzberg, and McGregor's theories all tie together: Herzberg's theory is a micro version of Maslow's theory that is focused in the work environment. McGregor's Theory X is based on workers caught in the lower levels (1 to 3) of Maslow's theory due to bad management practices, while his Theory Y is for workers who have gone above level 3 with the help of management. McGregor's Theory X is also based on workers caught in Herzberg's Hygiene Dissatisfies, while Theory Y is based on workers who are in the Motivators or Satisfiers section. A l d e r f e r ' s E x i s t e n c e / R e l a t e d n e s s / G r o w t h ( E R G ) Clayton Alderfer's (1969) Existence/Relatedness/Growth (ERG) Theory of Needs postulates that there are three groups of needs:
  • 11. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 11 Existence - This group of needs is concerned with providing the basic requirements for material existence, such as physiological and safety needs. This need is satisfied by money earned in a job so that one may buy food, shelter, clothing, etc. Relationships - This group of needs centers upon the desire to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships. Since people normally spend approximately half of their waking hours on the job, this need is normally satisfied to some degree by their coworkers. Growth - These needs are met by personal development. A person's job, career, or profession provides significant satisfaction of growth needs. Alderfer's ERG theory states that more than one need may be influential at the same time. If the gratification of a higher-level need is frustrated, the desire to satisfy a lower- level need will increase. He identifies this phenomenon as the "frustration & shy aggression dimension." Its relevance on the job is that even when the upper-level needs are frustrated, the job still provides for the basic physiological needs upon which one would then be focused. If, at that point, something happens to threaten the job, the person's basic needs are significantly threatened. If there are no factors present to relieve the pressure, the person may become desperate and panicky. Notice that Alderfer's ERG theory is built upon Maslow's, however it does differ. First he collapses it from five needs to three. And unlike Maslow, he did not see these needs as being a hierarchy in which one climbs up, but rather being more of a continuum: While there has not been a lot of research on Alderfer's theory, most contemporary theories and related studies tend to give it stronger support than Maslow's theory. V r o o m ' s E x p e c t a n c y T h e o r y Vroom's Expectancy Theory (1964)states that an individual will act in a certain way based on the expectation (belief) that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. This motivational model has been modified by several people, to include Porter and Lawler (1968). Vroom's Expectancy Theory is written as a formula:
  • 12. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 12 Valence x Expectancy x Instrumentality = Motivation Valence (Reward) = the amount of desire for a goal (What is the reward?) Expectancy (Performance) = the strength of belief that work related effort will result in the completion of the task (How hard will I have to work to reach the goal?) Instrumentality (Belief) = the belief that the reward will be received once the task is completed (Will they notice the effort I put forth?) The product of valence, expectancy, and instrumentality is motivation. It can be thought of as the strength of the drive towards a goal. For example, if an employee wants to move up through the ranks, then promotion has a high valence for that employee. If the employee believes that high performance will result in good reviews, then the employee has a high expectancy. However, if the employee believes the company will not promote from within, then the employee has low instrumentality, and the employee will not be motivated to perform better. And my personal opinion regarding Maslow theory that it support and change the management style in many fields but the main criticize was the needs limitation which solved in the updated theory dated 1971. R e f e r e n c e s - http://ezinearticles.com/?Motivation---Applying-Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs- Theory&id=4139037 - http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadhb.html