What is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

What is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

1) What is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

2) what are the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy?



Maslow’s Hierarchy

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Maslow’s Hierarchy

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who developed the hierarchy of needs. This hierarch explains the human motivation and why people will act in a certain manner while in a certain bracket of wealth. According to him, human has some needs that have to be meet before they can move up the hierarch (Hopper, 2020). Basic needs have to be meet fast before people can move up and desire to achieve better things as they climb up the needs pyramid. He divided human needs from basic needs to upper needs that are luxurious. All people desire to climb up the pyramid and peruse more and more needs in their lives. All this is also described in his theory of self-actualization. He played an important role in the development of the self-actualization theory (Hopper, 2020). According to this theory, people are in constant desire to achieve more and stretch as they seek to exploit their full potential.

The theory is a positive motivation theory that explains how humans behave and what motivates them as they desire to grow to greater heights. The theory is made up of five-tire models that depicted human needs. From the pyramid, human needs are (from the bottom-up): physiological (food and clothing), safety (job security), love and belonging (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization. Needs at the lower level of the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals move up and attend to needs higher in the pyramid.

Besides being grouped into five, the first four levels are known as deficiency needs. According to this theory, the more they remain unmet, the more they bring in the desire to fulfill them and meet them. An example is a hungry person; the more they remain hungry, the more they desire food. The top-level is known as a growth need. Once a person reaches the growth need, this comes in for the desire to keep growing and not due to failure to fulfill some requirements. According to Maslow, when the lower level is fulfilled, humans will desire to meet the next set of needs yet to be satisfied. All humans can move these heights and grow to the top of the pyramid, and reach the self-actualization levels in their lives.

Although the hierarch shows the needs people have and their desire to grow, some people might move back and forth between different levels of needs. It doesn’t in any way suggest how people must grow or follow a certain pattern as they grow.

The needs of the hierarch are physiological needs; these are the requirements for a human to survive (Hopper, 2020). Without these needs, the human body cannot function optimally. Unless these needs are met, humans cannot move to the next level of their needs making them the basic needs that humans must meet. They include; air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, and sleep. The next needs are; safety needs; once the physiological needs are met, humans desire security and safety (Hopper, 2020). This need comes with the desire to control and have order and predictability in their lives. Emotional security, financial security, freedom from fear, social stability, health, and wellbeing, among others. Once the needs are met, humans will move to the next level of their needs.

Love and belonging; all humans desire to have a sense of belonging and associate with others easily (Hopper, 2020). This need arises when the first two are met. Emotional needs arise, and need to have an interpersonal relationship, affiliation and connectedness become part of the group. Examples of these needs include; friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance. Once this need is met, people move to the next level, which is; esteem needs. This need comes with the desire to have accomplishments and receive respect (Hopper, 2020). This need is categorized into two; esteem for oneself and the desire for reputation and respect from others.

Self-actualization needs are the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy needs. They refer to the realization of a person’s potential, self-fulfillment, seeking human growth, and peak experiences. At this level, people do what they can and enjoy living their lives at the peak of their potential and everything they desire. Although a small number of people will reach this level, Maslow gave some characteristics of self-actualized people. Some of them include; they perceive reality differently and can tolerate some level of uncertainty, they accept themselves and others for who they are, they are problem-centered, and they have an unusual sense of humor. Although some changes were done to this theory, it remains strong and describes how and what motivates people to do things in a certain way with a desire to grow and achieve.

At the topmost level, people do things differently and have a different way of doing things. At this stage, people will do things differently instead of sticking to safe paths, not listen to society and traditions, avoid pretense and be honest. They also take responsibility and work hard to meet their needs and goals. In our lives, we come across people with these desires and plans to grow and achieve more. We are motivated differently depending on our level, and the category will fall in from the hierarchy.


Hale, A. J., Ricotta, D. N., Freed, J., Smith, C. C., & Huang, G. C. (2019). Adapting Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a framework for resident wellness. Teaching and learning in medicine, 31(1), 109-118.

Hopper, E. (2020). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Explained. ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 24.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation . Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. (2020, Jul 15). Daily Times Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/newspapers/maslows-hierarchy-needs/docview/2423637342/se-2?accountid=193930

Should we update Maslow’s needs hierarchy? (2021, Feb 03). Daily Monitor Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/newspapers/should-we-update-maslow-s-needs-hierarchy/docview/2485464420/se-2?accountid=193930

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