(2) Consideration of how the classes are related to each
The classes of needs were summarised by Maslow as follows:
How does the Hierarchy Work?
- A person starts at the bottom of the hierarchy (pyramid)
and will initially seek to satisfy basic needs (e.g. food, shelter)
- Once these physiological needs have been satisfied, they
are no longer a motivator. the individual moves up to the next level
- Safety needs at work could include physical safety (e.g.
protective clothing) as well as protection against unemployment, loss of
income through sickness etc)
- Social needs recognise that most people want to belong
to a group. These would include the need for love and belonging (e.g. working
with colleague who support you at work, teamwork, communication)
- Esteem needs are about being given recognition for a
job well done. They reflect the fact that many people seek the esteem and
respect of others. A promotion at work might achieve this
- Self-actualisation is about how people think about themselves
- this is often measured by the extent of success and/or challenge at work
Maslow's model has great potential appeal in the business
world. The message is clear - if management can find out which level each
employee has reached, then they can decide on suitable rewards.
Problems with the Maslow Model
There are several problems with the Maslow model when real-life
working practice is considered:
- Individual behaviour seems to respond to several needs
- not just one
- The same need (e.g. the need to interact socially at
work) may cause quite different behaviour in different individuals
- There is a problem in deciding when a level has actually
- The model ignores the often-observed behaviour of individuals
who tolerate low-pay for the promise of future benefits
- There is little empirical evidence to support the model.
Some critics suggest that Maslow's model is only really relevant to understanding
the behaviour of middle-class workers in the UK and the USA (where Maslow
undertook his research).