Maslow (1954) argues that the individual has five fundamental classes of needs that are related to each other, constituting a hierarchy so that the motivation to meet a higher need can be activated only if the needs of lower rank have been met.
Maslow’s hierarchy is used worldwide by the managers to identify the needs of their employees and help them feel fulfilled, whether it’s by giving them a pet project, a fancy job title or flexible working arrangements, so they can pursue their interests outside the workplace.
The five categories of needs
At the base of the pyramid we have the basic needs for bodily functioning – fulfilled by eating, drinking and going to the toilet. Maslow also included sexual needs in this group.
Then there is the desire to be safe, and secure in the knowledge that those basic needs will be fulfilled in the future too.
3. Love and Belonging
After that comes our need for love, friendship and company. At this stage, Maslow writes, the individual “may even forget that once, when he was hungry, he sneered at love”.
The next stage is all about social recognition, status and respect.
And the final stage, represented in the graphic as the topmost tip of the triangle, Maslow labelled with the psychologists’ term “self-actualisation”.
It’s about fulfilment – doing the thing that you were put on the planet to do. “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy,” wrote Maslow. “What a man can be, he must be.”