Maslow’s theory of needs is a motivational psychology theory which is depicted as a pyramid and which shows a model of five layers of human needs. This theory was given by Abraham Maslow in the year 1943. This theory or rather this hierarchy shows that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs first and then move on to satisfy other higher level needs.
This theory of needs is based on certain assumptions:
People’s behaviour is based on their needs- Maslow believed that people’s behaviour is based on the needs they want to satisfy. Man’s wants are always growing and when one level of need is satisfied, another level of need arises.
Any satisfied need has no motivation- A need once satisified in the hierarchy will no longer motivate a person. It is only the higher level needs which will motivate a person. Bread is an essential need for anyone, but nobody can live by bread alone.
As one need is satisfied, another arises- There is a continuous cycle of need. People are always striving to fulfill any level of need as and when it arises. In general, lower level needs are satisfied before higher level needs.
There are certain limitations too with respect to Maslow’ theory of Needs. Though these needs level hierarchy had become popular, there were limitation such as, the fact that this hierarchy of needs is not always permanent. There are people who would want to satisfy higher levels of needs first before satisifying lower levels of needs. For example, a person who is an artist will want their self-actualization needs to be satisfied first than any other needs. It becomes their dominant force before satisfying any other level of needs.
The different level of needs are as follows:
1)Physiological needs- These type of needs refer to the most basic level of need like food, water, shelter, etc. Some of these needs are to be satisified to maintain proper body temperature levels. This level of need is such that we will not be able to satisfy any other level of need if we do not satify this need. Example, when we are hungry, we will not able to focus on any of our work, at that time, food is the most essential need we have to satisfy in order to work. The same applies with the need for sleep.
2)Safety needs- Once people’s physiological needs are satisfied, there arises the need for safety. Safety needs refer to the need for security and safety. This is in the form of having a safe environment which one needs as soon as they are born. Some of the basic security and safety needs are financial security, health and wellness of the individual and safety against any accidents and injuries. Finding a job, obtaining health insurance are examples of contribution towards safety needs.
3) Social needs- Once people’s safety needs are satisified, there arises the need for social networking. Here, social needs refer to the need for love and affection from family and friends. It’s found out that having social connections directly affect our well-being than staying isolated which deteriments our health as well as our social life.
4) Esteem needs- Esteem needs refer to the need to feel good among ourselves. It involves two things, one, is to have confidence in ourselves, and the second, the value of our achievements and contributions made recognized by others. These can be met by participation in any professional or team work activities and even personal hobbies can play a major role in it. If these needs are not met, one gets the feeling of inferiority.
5) Self-actualization needs- These refer to the need for a person to achieve anything as human to the full potential. It refers to the full use of talent, resources and skills to achieve a particular plan or target. These achievements can be different for different people, for some, it can be to help different people and for some it might be an achievement in any of the fields such as artists, musicians, etc.
This theory was mainly focussed on creating different shifts in psychologies. It led to the focus on healthy individuals. There were many researchers who wanted to prove this theory incorrect, but what they proved was that some people tend to fulfill their social wants and self actualization wants and prioritized it before fulfilling their lower level needs. This suggested that the theory need not take the hierarchical form to be fulfilled.