Hierarchy of Needs (Emer O’Donovan)
Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970) was a member of the Chicago dynasty of psychologistsand sociologists. He published his paper: 'A theory of human motivation' in 1943. Maslow based his theory on the assumption that every human has needs and his paper attempts toidentify the factors that motivate people. The theory is human-centered rather than animal-centered. Animals, such as rats have few motivations other than physiological ones. Thetheory is based on a study of healthy humans, excluding the sick or frustrated. In his paper,he presents a hierarchy of needs, that act as motivators. A need is no longer ‘a need’ onceit has been satisfied and no longer acts as a motivating factor. Human needs arrangethemselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the emergence of one need usuallyrests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need. It is these new, unsatisfiedneeds that motivate people. A need does not have to be 100 per cent satisfied beforeanother emerges. Maslow states that “
most members of our society who are normal, are partially satisfied in all their basic needs and partially unsatisfied in all their basic needsat the same time
Humans have a natural desire to move up the hierarchy of needs.However, it is possible for an individual who is in the higher level of the hierarchy toexperience a desire for the basic needs. Maslow states that “
no need or drive can betreated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives”
. Maslow observed that those individuals in whom a certainneed has always been satisfied were best equipped to tolerate deprivation of that need in thefuture. Furthermore,
“those who have been deprived in the past will react differently tocurrent satisfactions than the one who has never been deprived
”. Maslow’s hierarchymodel has five levels, starting from the personal needs at the bottom and progressing to theintellectual ones at the top as shown in Figure 1. The levels are categorised under thefollowing headings: Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem and Self-Actualisation.
Level 5 (self-fulfilment)
(competence,Level 4 self-respect, approval)Level 3
(belonging, acceptance by others)Level 2
(security, safe, orderly, predictable world)Level 1
(hunger, thirst, breathing)
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Model.