Maslow’s pyramid is atheory that explains motivation, productivity and the desireto grow in every human being. Coined during the first half of the twentieth century, Maslow revolutionized the area of psychology with a concept that, today, is still being discussed.

If you want to learn about it, its importance, how important it is in your day to day and how it can be of your help, the following article explains the key points.

What is Maslow’s pyramid?

Maslow’s pyramidis apsychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslowin his publication entitled “Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943(1). He subsequently expanded his theory in 1954 with the publication of a book calledMotivation and Personality. (2)

Note: The theory states thatthere are differenttypes of needsthat every human must or seeks to meet. Maslow proposes that, during the psychological development of the person, the human being goes through different phases. These are: basic needs, security, social, esteem and recognition and self-realization.

Generally, this series of physiological, social, economic and emotional conditions that an individual must meet, are graphically represented as a pyramid. In order for an individual to advance to the next phase, he must have reached a certain degree of personal satisfaction in the previous phase, otherwise he will not be able to advance.

Despite a lack of scientific evidence to support the claims, the theory gained traction throughout the 20th centurytag. It has been used in the field of psychology to explain motivation, effort and its correlation with human personality.

What is the scale of needs in Maslow’s pyramid?

Maslow believed in the hierarchy of these Human Needs , that is, one takes precedence over the other and must be fulfilled (3)Otherwise, the psychological and personal growth of the person would be cut short. Next, we explain each of these stages:

1. Basic needs

, present in every human being

You should know:When basic needs are not met, individual discontent increases. In turn, thisincreases the desire to satisfy these physiological demands .

The physiological needs are: health, sustenance, drinking water, rest, clothing and a homeor place to live. In order to pursue any other ambitions, they must first be completed.

2. Security needs

They are above the previous ones and are considered as secondary needstag. At this level, the individual seeks to acquire a sense of security. According to Maslow, these needsare more prevalent in children who seek the security and comfort of parental figures, but they are important for each individual.

To highlight: These needs are personal, emotional, financial security, and the physical and mental well-being of people.

It should be noted that the loss of a job or an illness that requires copious amounts of money to treat puts the stability of this link at risk. at risk.

3. Social needs

Once the person ensures a state of optimal health and economic and emotional well-being, the third level of human needs becomes interpersonal. In this link,the person seeks the acceptance, comfort and company of others .

This can be reflected in large communities, clubs, religious groups, professional organizations, sports, gangs and others. They can also occur on a smaller scale in family relationships, romantic relationships, mentors, co-workers, colleagues, and confidants.

Note: According to Maslow, humans, once the basal needs are fulfilled, seek with extreme intensity the gratification obtained by relatingpositively with others. He also argued that the lack or inability to meet these needs leads to theappearance of psychological pathologies suchacechronic depression .

4. Esteem and recognition needs

Maslow states that, in this link, all people in society (with the exception of a few cases) seek to have a firm and confident image of themselves in order to achieve self-respect and self-worth.

You should know: An adequate Self -esteem gives the individual the ability to face the world with full confidence, achieving the independence and freedom of his being. You also seek reputation, prestige, recognition and attention from others.

The satisfaction of both needs fills the person with self- Confidence, courage, strength, and the ability to make themselves useful and necessary in the world. When this level is not met,inferiority complexes, weakness and poor self-esteem of the individual occur .

5. Self-actualization needs

Self-actualization is what Maslow defines, succinctly, as man’s ability to achieve and perfecteverything he can and wants to achieve. In the pyramid hierarchy, self-actualization is theexplicit goal of every human beingtag. The other stages were just the steps necessary to reach it.

For Maslow, self-actualization requires that the individual have completed and even perfected the previous stagestag. In other words, this stage corresponds to theachievement of a goaland therefore varies from person to person. The ultimate goal of an athlete differs from that of a painter, musician or health professional.

To highlight: Maslow cites, as examples of self-actualizing people, Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt,and other historical figures. By studying and analyzing each other’s lives, Maslow observed similarities in terms ofanalytical ability, self-judgment, self-acceptance , autonomy, and the desire to create and achieve something that went beyond themselves.

What are the advantages of Maslow’s pyramid?

Maslow’s pyramid was eventually adopted by areas such as sociology and motivational psychology,to explain the effort and motivation that lead a human being to achieve any goal. Next, we will show you some of the advantages that the popular Maslow pyramid brought with it:

1. Easy to understand

Maslow’s pyramid quickly became one of themost famous psychological theoriesoutside the area of psychology, unlike others.

It is attributed, partially, to howeasily it can be explained. Every individual has a series of needs or deficiencies (the first four links) that must be completed if he wants to achieve some kind of personal growth (the last link).

Note: Some authors, such as sociologist and researcher Uriel Abulof, attempt to explain its popularity by arguing that human society is reflected, in one way or another, in Maslow’s work.

2. It is explanatory

Maslow’s pyramid describes clearly and succinctly the different levels that human psychology goes throughduring its growth and development. He also explainshow the human being’s motivation to complete a task works, why he does it and what he gets by completing the task.

Finally, it tries to explain why certain humans reach the ultimate level and transcendence , while most do not.

3. It is innovative

Maslow’s proposal does not focus on psychopathologyand all possible psychological conditions that a person may suffer. Rather, Maslowdirected his attention to what can go right , not what can go wrong.

You should know:For Maslow, the human is a being in constant change, it never remains static or the same over time. Therefore, the pyramidemphasizes the importance of completing each level and reaching the peak of human potential through growth, physical and mental, of the person.

4. It applies to reality

Although the pyramid lacks scientific support(something that Maslow himself admitted), it can be applied to many areas of society. In order for an individual to seek self-renewal, to improve each day and reach its potential, hemust first meet basic needs such as food, health and financial stability.

Important: A physically and mentally healthy individual, self-confident, is more likely to invest their time and energy in tasks that foster creativity, spontaneity and personal growth.

What are the disadvantages of Maslow’s pyramid?

Maslow’s theory has also received criticism since its inceptiontag. While some agree with Maslow’s explanation, others vehemently reject it. Here are some of the more well-known criticisms:

1. It is somewhat ambiguous

As convenient as the pyramid may be in explaining many aspects of human sociology, it still has numerous limitations and ambiguitiestag. For example, at what point is an individual considered satisfied at one level to advance to another? Under what circumstances can an individual return from one level to another?

Another ambiguity corresponds to self-realization. Maslow describes it as the materialization of all that we can become . However, there is no objective way to quantify a person’s personal progress.

To highlight: There is no certain point, in a series of linear events, that indicates to the consciousness of the person that they have reached everything they can become.

2. The sequences are questionable

Each individual is quite different from the other and, therefore, so are their goals and aspirations. The pyramid assumes thateach individual prioritizes needs uniformlytag. A person with low self-esteem will prioritize the acceptance of others over any other need.

Other people, on the other hand, prefer solitude. Therefore, it would downplaySocial needstag. While others would seek to keep social interactions above any other.

3. Optimism is greatly exaggerated

The sequence of each step is generally not so simple and uninterrupted in most cases. Life is full ofunexpected circumstances and setbacks that can disturb the individual and even truncate his personal growth.

In this sense, Maslow admitted that his research only covered 1% of the population, selecting the healthiest people, physically and mentally. Therefore,there are limitations in applying this hierarchy uniformlyto human society. Everyone’s body and mind is different, and so are their pre-existing conditions and experiences.

Note: For some, this process of self- Realization is easier than others, where it becomes a tortuous and uncertain process.

4. It is obsolete compared to other theories

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, theories have been published that, although they do not push Maslow’s theory aside, represent an alternative interpretation of how individuals are motivated .

An example is Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory. The psychologist theorizes that there are two sets of factors, those of motivation and those of hygiene, which act independently of each other (4)tag. The first, those of motivation, areachievement, recognition, personal growth, promotions and intrinsic interest in work. The presence of these generates satisfaction.

On the other hand, hygienicfactors are factors beyond the reach of the individual. Salary, physical environment, company policies, co-workers, and job security. The presence of the latterdoes not necessarily generate satisfaction,  but their absence generates dissatisfaction.

You should know: Unlike the pyramidal theory that ranks each need, Herzberg’s factors act independently of each other and without any ordertag. If a manager seeks to increase work productivity, he must work on both increasing satisfaction and reducing what prevents a worker from experiencing it.

What are the fields of application of the Maslow pyramid?

As we have already mentioned, Maslow had a profound effect beyond psychologytag. He changed the wayBusiness leaders and administratorslook at worker productivity and why it can decrease or increase. Next, we mention some of the applications that Maslow’s pyramid is given today(5) :

1. In personal life

From the beginning, Maslow wrote his theory as an explanation of why certain individuals went through long journeys to achieve their goal: Self-Actualizationtag. In essence, Maslow proposed the pyramid as a hierarchy of steps that each person must follow if they want toachieve fulfillment, both with themselves and with the environment that surrounds them .

2. In education

Maslow cites Albert Einstein, one of the most prominent academics in the field of science, as an example of a self-actualizing person. Therefore, the theoryCan be applied in the educational field . Reaching proposed goals or growing as a professional, regardless of the area, requires first completing certain other needs.

Important: The absence of basic and security needs Lead to negative situations such as illness, job or financial insecurity that has an effect on the individual.

This, in turn, Truncates the ability to grow and learn on a daily basistag. To prevent this, first the basic needs must be satisfied.

3. At work

Maslow’s pyramid and the subsequent theories that would come as a result, Restructured employment contractstag. The companies went from atraditional model, where the worker simply fulfills a function and is paid for it.

To highlight: Today, contracts offer opportunities and incentives that seek to satisfy the first three needs in the pyramid.

4. In marketing and economics

Similar to the previous point, Maslow’s pyramid partially explains human motivation and productivitytag. Human beings whose basic needs are met are people who are more likely toseek to improve their capabilities , optimize their strategies and be more productive in general.

Note: This increase in productivity provides an increase in profits that a company, and even a country, can receive.

In the same way, marketing that appeals to the basic and innate needs of certain individuals creates a greater impacton them, influencing their decisions. Therefore, ifhuman psychology and its functioning are understood , the message transmitted by a company or group will reach more easily.

5. In social needs

From another point of view, this hierarchy reaffirms the paramount importance of interpersonal connectionstag. Beyond basic needs, such as sustenance and water, people are social beings.

We seek to exchange and debate ideas, to be accepted and recognized by others . An individual who does not feel marginalized is a person who will seek to continue to grow and be even more accepted by others.

What is the importance of Maslow’s pyramid?

Maslow’s theory of motivation Profoundly Impacted Psychology, Marketing, Business, and Even Interpersonaltag. He brought with him innovative concepts and conceptualized what the human being feels inside himself, but cannot articulate it in words.

You should know: The longevity of the pyramid may be due to the fact that it represents each one of the phases of the development of the person and their desire to complete each one of them.

Key Findings

  • Maslow’s pyramid is a psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow, which states that there are a series of needs that each human must or seeks to fulfill.
  • In the scale of needs are basic, security, social, esteem and self-actualization .
  • Maslow’s pyramid was eventually adopted by areas such as sociology and motivational psychology.
  • While some agree with Maslow’s explanation, others vehemently reject it .
  • Maslow’s motivation theory had a profound impact on psychology, marketing, business, and even interpersonal.

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