Basic approaches that have evolved over time to improve productivity

Human Relations Contributors

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


Abraham Maslow carried out his investigations into human behavior between 1939 and 1943. Maslow suggested that there are five sets of goals which may be called basic needs.

These are:

  • physiological,
  • safety,
  • love,
  • esteem, and
  • self-actualization or self-fulfillment.

He arranged these into a series of different levels or the order of importance of these basic needs.

Man's basic needs are physiological, for example, hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. When these are satisfied they are replaced by safety needs reflecting his desire for protection against danger or deprivation.

These in turn, when satisfied, are replaced by the need for love or belonging to, which are functions of man's gregariousness and his desire to belong to a group, to give and receive friendship and to associate happily with people.

When these needs have been satisfied, there is the esteem needs, i.e. the desire for self-esteem and self-respect, which are affected by a person's standing reputation, and his need for recognition and appreciation.

Finally, individuals have a need for self actualization or a desire for self-fulfillment, which is an urge by individuals for self-development, creativity and job satisfaction.

The human hierarchy of needs proposed by Maslow are illustrated on the following pages.

In the past, management reward systems have attempted to satisfy an individual's lower level needs for safety and physiological security, for protection against deprivation and the threat to a worker or his family.

However, management reward systems are now, or should be, endeavoring to satisfy the individual's higher level needs for esteem and self-fulfillment. as outlined in the following pages 1 and 2 .

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