Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory

There are two types of needs – Primary / Basic needs and Secondary / Acquired needs. Basic needs are important for survival whereas acquired needs are not so important for human survival. We know various needs are felt by humans but do not know about their preferential order. Abraham Harold Maslow solved this problem by presenting a theory on the priority order of needs. 

To understand what motivates an individual, Maslow proposed that human needs can be organized into a form of hierarchy. This hierarchy ranges from concrete needs such as food, water and shelter to abstract concepts such as self-fulfilment. According to Maslow, when lower needs are met, the next need on the hierarchy becomes our focus of attention.

Some important prepositions of Maslow’s need hierarchy model are as under: 

1) Man is a wanting animal,

2) A need that has been satisfied is no longer a motivator, and

3) Needs have a hierarchy of importance.


Maslow introduced the hierarchy of needs in the following order:

  • Self-Actualisation Needs (Self-fulfilment)
  • Esteem Needs or Ego Needs (Prestige,  self-respect, status)
  • Social Needs (Affection, friendship, belonging)
  • Safety and Security Needs (Protection, order, stability)
  • Basic Physiological Needs (Food, water, air,  shelter, sex)

Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory

Figure: Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory



1) Basic Physiological Needs: These needs are survival needs, If these needs are not fulfilled, the human body cannot continue to function. These needs are biological necessities for human survival. The needs that are taken as the starting point for motivational theory are physiological. These needs relate to the maintenance and survival of human life. These needs include such things as food, clothing, shelter, water, air, and other necessities of life.

Related Article: Theories of Motivation

2) Safety and Security Needs: Once people have achieved their physiological needs, they are motivated to achieve their safety needs. Safety needs are about removing risk from life and helping someone to maintain their physiological needs into the future. After satisfying their physiological needs, people want the assurance of maintaining a given economic level. They want physical and emotional security, job security, security of source of income, insurance against risks, provision for old age, etc.

Related Article: MOTIVATION

3) Social Needs: Man is a social being. He is, therefore, interested in sociability, conversation,  exchange of feelings and grievances, recognition, companionship, belongingness, etc. Non-satisfaction with this level of needs may affect the mental health of a person.


4) Esteem Needs or Ego Needs: Egoistic needs can take outward and inward orientations. Inward-directed ego needs to embrace such things as independence, self-confidence, competence, achievement, knowledge and success. They have to be earned by the individual himself through his intelligence and hard work.

They lead to ‘earned recognition by society. Outwardly directed ego needs are concerned with status, prestige, and other marks of respect because of some position in the organisation or control over social, economic, and political power.

Related Article: LEADERSHIP

5) Self-Actualisation Needs: The final step under the need priority mode is the need for self-fulfilment or the need to fulfil what a person considers to be his mission in life. It concerns realising one’s potential for continued self-development and for being creative in the widest sense of the work.

After his other needs are fulfilled, a person has the desire for personal achievement. He wants to do something which is challenging and since this challenge gives him enough initiative and dash to work, it is beneficial to him in particular and to society in general. The sense of achievement gives an individual psychological satisfaction.

Maslow suggested the following points: 

1) There are five levels of needs.

2) All these needs are organised in a hierarchy.

3) A need that has been satisfied is no longer a need. Once a certain order of need or a need is satisfied it ceases to be a motivating factor.

4) Once one level of need is fulfilled, the next level of need will emerge as the depressed needs seek to be

5) The security and physiological needs are limited but the needs of the higher order are endless and are likely to be dominant in individuals at higher levels in the organisation.

6) Maslow suggests that different levels are interdependent and overlapping. Each higher-level need emerges before the lower-level need has been fully satisfied.

Even though a need is satisfied it will influence behaviour because of the interdependent and overlapping characteristics of needs.

Maslow has further categorised the needs as lower-order needs and higher-order needs. The first two needs in the hierarchical order are lower needs and the rest three are higher-order needs.



MAX Weber Management Theory  

Max Weber Management Theory: MAX WEBER’s bureaucratic theory of management is fundamental to management in many government and military organizations in the world. Bureaucracy theory is based on strict rules, regulations and expert authority guidance which he believed would improve the efficiency of the organizational performance. This type of management avoids biases and made the job description very clear to everyone in the organization hierarchy.

Under a skilful leader, an organization can be more structured. Therefore bureaucracy focuses on the skills and technical ability of the management. Bureaucratic management is an excellent method of organizing government agencies.

The bureaucracy theory of Max Weber is based on the fact that leadership proficiency and experience are very useful in a large organization. There is no biasness in the organization and therefore strict rules and regulations are followed as per the organizational hierarchy.

Max Weber initiated three types of authority:-

1. Regional-legal authority: – Obedience is retained to a legally established rank or authority within the hierarchy of a business organization, military unit, government, and so on.

2. Traditional Authority:- People obey a person because he belongs to a certain class or occupies a position traditionally recognized as possessing authority, such as the royal family.

3. Charismatic authority:- Obedience is based on the followers’ belief that a person has some special power of attraction within himself.

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