Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs


Abraham Maslow was one of the great American Psychologists. In 1943 he stated his views on a human being’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow stated these needs as a hierarchy because of the way they are achieved. Following is a discussion on the different aspects of these needs.

The needs

In order for someone to achieve a certain need, there has to be a certain motivation. This is according to Abraham. In general, each person can have any of five needs: physiological, security, social, esteem, self actualisation. These five needs are then divided into two categories of basic and growth needs. Basic needs come first for most people and they include physiological, security, social and esteem. Then the second category involves growth and this is basically the need for self actualization. Maslow also made an observation that in order for someone to be motivated to meet a basic need he or she has to have an unmet need. Moreover, the need for this fulfilment grows stronger as the need stays longer without being met. Maslow arranged this hierarchy as a pyramid and then stated that for a person to move from one level of needs to another, the lower level need has to first be satisfied. In this statement, Abraham claimed that it is rare to skip any of the needs but it is possible to move from a higher level need to a lower need. Moving from a high level need to a lower level need could happen in the event of an experience such as divorce or job loss.

Criticism for Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This theory according to Maslow has been faulted for the methodology that Maslow used. In his study, Maslow analysed biographies of 18 self-actualized people. In his sample, he had a very small number of women. Therefore, issues of representation and objectivity are questioned due to the composition of the sample. In terms of representation, women and people from low social classes were not adequately represented in Maslow’s study. On the other hand, a writer of a biography is likely to be biased. This biasness could have led to flaws in Maslow’s study. Another faulting of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is the statement that a person has to meet a low level need before moving to a higher one. This faulting happened through an examination of cultures with rampant poverty. In such cultures individuals are able to experience love and belongingness even without sufficiently meeting physiological needs.