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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Model Essay (Critical Writing)


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model is a specific model of motivation based on the specific needs of human beings. Maslow is sure that all people behave on the basis of their needs and desires. The things people want are the main motivators of human behavior, therefore, the more people get the more they want to have.

Maslow has created the hierarchy of human needs depending on the importance of the issues. Human needs are arranged in a form of the levels from the most important to the less important ones. To go to the next level one needs to satisfy the needs of the present level (Mullins 2007). Maslow identifies five human needs which should be satisfied, physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

The meeting of the lowest, most primitive needs, helps the employers motivate their employees for greater actions by means moving from the lower level to the highest one (Sadri & Bowen 2011). To understand more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, the literature review is created with the purpose to consider the implementation and the theoretical value of the model under discussion.

Harell and Daim (2010) done a great working having conducted a researched based on the historical development of the motivation theories. The research presents the way how the theories developed, pointing at their significance and the reasons which supported their emerge.

Maslow’s motivation theory based on the hierarchy of needs is considered as one of the most important theories in the business world. Each of the models, including Maslow’s one is considered as a part of the need to motivate employers and how employers came to this decisions. Kinder (2009) helps understand the Maslow’s hierarchy theory considering the basic rule of the model.

Once a person has met one of the levels of the pyramid, the priorities of that level are not considered as motivational for them and people turn attention to the higher layer of needs. However, in case the needs of the lower level are not met, a person changes the stress on priorities having another motivation, but he/she does not depredate to the previous level. Such theory is really helpful in business and Kinder (2009) perfectly discusses the issue.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is based on the extrinsic motivation, when the main aspects of motivation lay inside an individual. Cheng & Yeh (2009) in their research state that the theory is helpful in education as well, as to give students the understanding that they are to study good, their primary needs should be met, the need in cloths, food, etc.

In other words, to give students the task for self-realization, students should come through the first four stages, physical needs, safety needs, love and belongingness needs, and esteem needs. Pulasinghage (2010) conducted in the sphere of motivation for work in government and nongovernment companies to understand where the motivation is stronger.

The research has shown that those organizations which met human needs according to Maslow’s theory unintentionally were more successful as the employees wanted to achieve more.

Therefore, the organizations with managed to satisfy the employees’ needs in “foods, team work, shelter, employee relations, cloths, status, personnel safety, responsibility, field security, reputation, job security, achievements, salary, empowerment, law and order, appreciation, limits, experience, affection, problem centering work, realization of potentials” (Pulasinghage 2010, p. 202) were more successful in employment. A close look at those needs helped Pulasinghage (2010) relate them to different levels of Maslow’s theory.

Cangemi (2009) has presented the problems in the international corporation in Latin America supported with four strikes a year over a five-year period. The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model is presented as one of the main models which helped understand the reasons for the strikes. The inability to meet the basic needs of the employees (physical and safety ones) and the demand for the highest performance (self-actualization), the organization was on the skids.

A good decision to the similar problem was offered by Rocha and Miles (2009) who also used the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model. Human motives are taken as the basis for problem solving. Communicating the employees’ needs the employers should not bother about the desires of the workers to complete their tasks. Employers should create a correct hierarchy of needs. Rocha and Miles (2009) refer to Maslow’s theory as a good example of the theory.

Trying to help understand the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, Greene and Burke (2007) referred to explaining the final need which is to be satisfied. Manson first discussed “self-actualization” as the final need which is to be satisfied being assured when all the levels are passes, the needs are satisfied, they are not motivations any more.

Therefore, the final level was the highest motivation. A closer consideration made Manson change this point of view and state that when a “self-actualization” need is satisfied, a person should shift to other self. Therefore it turns out that here is no the highest motivation which may be achieved. Cornutt & Anderson (2007) dwell upon the cases when the lowest, physical, need is difficult to be achieved for people and may be considered as the motivation. The dialysis patients consider physical needs as the best motivation for them.

The implementation of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model in the modern life has been researched by several scholars who perfectly used the model under consideration as the basis. Schölzel-Dorenbos, Meeuwsen, and Olde Rikkert (2010) applied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model to dementia patients with the purpose to consider the interconnection between unmet needs and health-related quality of life.

The research results allowed to draw the conclusion that caregivers offer more services for patients than they needed, at the same time the caregivers were identified to have more needs. Therefore, the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model helped the researchers define the priority of the needs of patients with dementia and develop the Hierarchy Model of Needs in Dementia which characterizes Maslow’s theory as useful in different spheres of modern life.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model was also applied in the healthcare sphere by Benson and Dundis (2003). They conducted a research with the purpose to implement a new perspective of the Maslow’s theory through the concerns of the healthcare employees related to “the need for security and freedom from stress”, “social belongingness”, “self-esteem”, “self-actualization”, “altered work/social environments”, and “new opportunities for learning and self-definition” (Benson and Dundis 2003, p. 315).

The research helps to understand that the theory ideally works in the conditions of the increased demands to the employees and supports in motivation for better performance in the workplace. Yee (2007) used Manson’s hierarchy of need theory to motivate junior employees for reporting medical errors and to make those change the format of the reports, to make those useful for making the health care safer.

The author states that the change of the medical error reporting system should be based on the human needs which are to be the basis for doctors’ motivation. This new modified system adds socio-cultural aspect to the new reporting system which encourages employees.

Healthcare is the very popular among the representatives of the Maslow’s hierarchy of need model. Burtson and Stichler (2010) also referred their research to this theory studying “the relations of compassion satisfaction, nurse job satisfaction, stress, burnout and compassion fatigue to nurse caring” (p. 1821). Their results supported the hypothesis that belonging need is a strong motivation in nursing practice.

Continuing the application of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory in healthcare, Carroll, Arkin, Seidel and Morris (2009) dwelt upon the importance of needs among traumatized and non-traumatized. The attention is paid to the safety need in Maslow’s theory as one of the basic needs of people.

However, and the researches stress on this aspect, many people do not consider this need as a priority until they understand how the absence of the appropriate safety may ruin their plans. The results of the research also state that the level of the trauma complication influences the human understanding and strength in meeting the need.

Yap and Davis (2007) are sure the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model is one the best models in implementing behavioral change. They offer the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the Transtheoretical Model Stages of Change as the most appropriate models which are to be implemented while behavioral change in the organization.

Relying on the individual needs, the scheme is rather successful if collaborated with five stages of Transtheoretical Model (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance) and the needs are met between the stages.

Distance learning is an important aspect of education in the modern life, however, the problem of motivation is more urgent here due to the distance from students and teachers.

Beise and Wynekoop (2001) applied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs motivation theory to the needs of the online learning and the following learning needs have appeared, psychological needs (system and Internet access), safety needs (use of login and password for protection from unauthorized access), belonging needs (belonging to class and team), esteem (the need to contribute to the community and get its respect), and self-actualization (the possibility to take a role in the community).

Online learning and its relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also considered in Sinclaire’s (2011) research. The focus of the discussion is the students satisfaction with the learning, the aspects which impact it and the reasons for students’ personal motivation. Sinclaire (2011) applied to Maslow’s hierarchy of need theory as the most developed and structured one.

This theory involves several aspects (levels) for consideration which are believed to be very important for online learning as at worm people may be motivated by one aspect. Online education is more complicated in this aspect as students are not motivated by the teachers, but should implement self-motivations. The researchers used the comparative analysis of the employees’ satisfaction and students’ satisfaction who study online.

These two processes have much in common, however, students satisfaction involves other aspects to be influenced. Thus, “interaction a communication, course design, the learning environment, and individual student factors of computer self-efficacy and the ability to control an individual learning pace” (Sinclaire 2011, p. 8) are the main aspects which encourage students for further studying.

The main purpose for discussion in Strickland & Vaughan’s article (2008) is the principle for building hierarchy of ethical values in nonprofit organizations. The achievement of the integrity as the highest level of need in the organization is the main aspect of consideration.

Referring the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Strickland & Vaughan (2008) managed to prove that financial competence, accountability, reciprocity, respect, and integrity are the five levels of the ethical behavior in organizations. The problem of enjoyment as the main motivation building on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is presented in the article by Tamborini, Bowman, Eden, Grizzard, and Organ (2010).

These authors conducted a thorough research having presented the enjoyment of work as the ability to satisfy one of the levels of human needs which are graded by Maslow in his hierarchy of need theory. The theory explains 51% of the variance in enjoyment as the means for seeking this enjoyment.

Woodruffe (2009) devoted his article to generation Y and dared to ask a question whether Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of need may be applied to this modern generation. The problem Woodruffe (2009)considers is the values the modern generation has and their possible failure to meet five levels of Maslow’s theory.

Close consideration of the problem and thorough research helps the author of the article to draw a conclusion that, like employees in 1950s, generation Y requires meeting five levels of hierarchy needs developed by Maslow. The ignoring of at least one level may ruin the motivational structure as the failure to meet the lower levels require from people to return to them having changed the priorities for some time.

Naturopathic Assessment Model discussed in Leach (2008) article is aimed at making sure that “the majority of issues and problems affecting the client are adequately identified” (p. 8).

The authors have developed a particular model which helps to assess the clients conditions, consider his/her level of meeting the needs and add some specific wants clients express. This research helps understand that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory may be applied to different spheres of social life that makes it more valuable for all layers of population and various spheres of social life.

Therefore, it should be concluded that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is a popular model which is discussed by many scholars and applied to different spheres. Distance learning and healthcare are most spread spheres of the implementation of the theory after business world.

The models and their interpretations discussed in this literature review. Much work was done and great research was conducted with the purpose to create a piece of writing which illustrates the scope of knowledge which exists in the sphere of consideration.

Additionally, the research has.shown that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is very spread and flexible that makes it reliable and applicable to various spheres of human life. The literature review with the focus on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory may be used for considering the aspects which have not been discussed yet and creating the theme for research with new idea and original writing.

Reference List

Beise, C & Wynekoop, J 2001, ‘A hierarchy of needs for virtual class’, 16th Annual Conference of the International Academy for Information Management, pp. 79-84.

Benson, SG & Dundis, SP 2003, ‘Understanding and motivating health care employees: integrating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, training and technology’, Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 315-320.

Burtson, PL & Stichler, JF 2010, ‘Nursing work environment and nurse caring: relationship among motivational factors’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 66, no. 8, pp. 1819-1831.

Cangemi, J 2009, ‘Analysis of an Adversarial Labor/Management Situation in a Latin American Industrial Setting: A Case Study using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’, Organization Development Journal, vol. 27, iss. 1, p. 37-47.

Carroll, PJ, Arkin, RM, Seidel, SD & Morris, J 2009, ‘The relative importance of needs among traumatized and non-traumatized samples’, Motivation & Emotion, vol. 33, iss. 4, pp. 373-386.

Cheng, Y & Yeh, H 2009, ‘From concepts of motivation to its application in instructional design: Reconsidering motivation from an instructional design perspective’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 40, iss. 4, pp. 597-605.

Cornutt, L & Anderson, C 2007, ‘Coupling Maslow to dialysis: It’s about Time’, Nephrology Nursing Journal, vol. 34, no.2, p. 139.

Greene, L & Burke, G 2007, ‘Beyond self-actualization’, Journal of Health & Human Services Administration, vol. 30, iss. 2, pp. 116-128.

Harell, G & Daim, TU 2010, ‘HDM Modeling as a Tool to Assist Management with Employee Motivation: The Case of Silicon Forest’, Engineering Management Journal, vol. 22, iss. 1, pp. 23-33.

Kinder, GD 2009, ‘Can Life Planners Save the World?’, Investment Advisor; vol. 29, iss. 9, pp. 18-21.

Leach, MJ 2008 ‘The naturopathic process: a framework for naturopathic practice’, Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 7-10.

Mullins, LJ 2007, Management and Organisational Behaviour, Pearson Education, London.

Pulasinghage, C 2010, ‘Employee Motivation: What Factors Motivate Employees to Work in Nongovernmental Organizations (NGO) in Sri Lanka: A Study According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, vol. 5, iss. 4, pp. 197-211.

Rocha, H & Miles, R 2009, ‘A Model of Collaborative Entrepreneurship for a More Humanistic Management’, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 88, iss. 3, pp. 445-462,

Sadri, G & Bowen, C 2011, ‘Meeting employee requirements’, Industrial Engineer, October, pp. 44-48.

Schölzel-Dorenbos, CJM, Meeuwsen, EJ & Olde Rikkert, MG 2010, ‘Integrating unmet needs into dementia health-related quality of life research and care: introduction of the Hierarchy Model of Needs in Dementia’, Aging & Mental Health, vol.14, no. 1, pp. 113-119.

Sinclaire, JK 2011, ‘Student satisfaction with online learning: Lessons from organizational behavior’, Research in Higher Education Journal, vol. 11, pp. 1-20.

Strickland, RA & Vaughan, SK 2008, ‘The Hierarchy of Ethical Values in Nonprofit Organizations’, Public Integrity, vol. 10, iss. 3, pp. 233-251.

Tamborini, R, Bowman, ND, Eden, A, Grizzard, M, & Organ, A 2010, ‘Defining Media Enjoyment as the Satisfaction of Intrinsic Needs’, Journal of Communication, vol. 60, iss. 4, pp. 758-777.

Woodruffe, C 2009, ‘Generation Y’, Training Journal, pp. 31-35.

Yap, TL & Davis, LS 2007, ‘Process of behavioral change as it relates to intentional physical activity’, AAOHN Journal, vol. 55, no. 9, pp. 372-380.

Yee, KC 2007, ‘Conceptualisation of socio-technical integrated information technology solutions to improve incident reporting through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: a qualitative study of junior doctors’, Studies In Health Technology And Informatics, vol. 130, pp. 269-78.

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