Maslow’s pyramid or the “hierarchy of needs” theory It has great popularity in the world of psychology and business management. Created by Abraham Maslow, it is responsible for describing the circumstances that are necessary for the psychological well-being of the individual. No matter what profession you exercise, Maslow’s theory can help you understand your needs at some point in your professional career.
The concept of the hierarchy of needs was first introduced in Maslow’s article entitled “A Theory of Human Motivation“In 1943 and in his book”Motivation and Personality” That this hierarchy was represented graphically with a pyramid, was what caused it to be popularly known as Maslow’s pyramid. This pyramid is very popular, even in the present despite all the decades since its original approach.
Maslow’s pyramid definition
Maslow’s Pyramid or Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs is a psychological theory whose purpose is to explain what drives human behavior. This theory talks about the motivations of the human being in certain states, that is, what leads a person to act in a certain way according to their needs.
And it is that according to Maslow, humanist psychologist, the actions of a person are born from the motivation directed towards the objective of covering certain needs. These needs can be ordered according to the importance they have for the well-being of the person.
Maslow explains in his theory that there is a hierarchy of human needs, said hierarchy being composed from the most basic needs to the highest desires. This is how level by level is composed what Maslow’s Pyramid really is.
The pyramid is divided into five levels. Each of the layers serves as a representation of the type of human need that must be met. Later I will show you graphically how it is formed.
Taking this into account, you start at the most basic level before the superior needs can be met. It is important to know that, at the end of the day, the central idea is that when a person is able to satisfy a need, he will seek to satisfy the next need in the corresponding link, until he tries to satisfy all these needs, whatever they are.
Hierarchy of human needs according to Maslow
The Maslow Pyramid is divided into five levels as previously mentioned. The first four levels correspond to what Maslow believed were deficit needs, while the fifth level, which is located at the top corresponds to the need for self-realization.
The basic idea that Maslow presented is that a person will only meet the superior needs when he has been able to cover the basic ones.
If so What specific needs correspond to each level of the Maslow Pyramid? These are:
- basic or physiological needs
- security need
- social needs
- need for esteem or recognition
- need for self-realization
Next I will explain to you what they consist of or that they imply each of these kinds of needs in the human being in depth:
In the lower level, and the most basic, are the physiological needs that include the most elementary for human survival. When we talk about physiological needs, we do it on the most fundamental motivations that human beings have.
Among these basic needs are hunger, thirst, sex and sensory stimulation. It is essential to keep these basic needs satisfied because the biological motives are connected to the nervous system of the body and are necessary for human survival.
The reason that they are the most important needs of all, is that a human being will not try to meet the other needs if they have not been able to cover those of this level. This is how, for example, a person who is in a war zone and is hungry, his priority will be to feed himself because the concept of danger is neglected when he is in full search of food. Other basic examples of these needs are:
- Sleep and eliminate waste from the body
- Maintain the balance of pH and body temperature
- Avoid pain
Security and protection needs
On the second level are the security and protection needs. These are necessary to live, however, they are on a different level than the physiological needs that will always have priority. That is why it is essential to provide security to people so that they can provide their best.
Either emotional or mental security. Living and developing in a safe, stable and financial savings environment will have an amazing influence on the individual. Examples of security and protection needs are:
- job security, income and resources
- physical and health security
- moral and family security
Social needs (affiliation and effect)
In the third step are the social needs. Social needs are related to social acceptance, relationships with other human beings. The reason is very simple to explain, because the human being will always feel the need to relate to someone similar, to be part of a community.
The human being is a social creature that needs the acceptance of his companions to feel fulfilled. This level includes friendship, affection or sexual intimacy.
However, for Maslow this was considered one of the least basic needs and that they only had space to be satisfied once the previous two steps were satisfied. Clear examples of this category are:
- affiliation or membership of a certain social group
Needs for esteem or recognition
The needs of esteem or recognition are satisfied once the first three steps have been reached. It should be noted that for Maslow this level was divided into two parts that were:
- High: Understand respect for oneself, so it includes trust, achievement, independence, freedom, competition.
- Low: It refers to respect for the rest of the people, including attention, appreciation, recognition, status, reputation, fame, glory, dignity, etc.
When all these needs are met, people feel confident and think they are valuable within the society to which they belong. But without these needs they are not satisfied, people will feel inferior and worthless.
Need for personal self-realization
As described by Maslow himself, self-realization is the “the person’s need to become what he is capable of being ». It is thanks to this intense need that a person is able to strive and push themselves in order to grow and develop their full potential.
Examples of the qualities necessary to reach this point of personal fulfillment are, among others:
- the creativity
- unique character
- appreciation of beauty or ability to be inspired
- lack of prejudice
- sense of humor philosophical
Therefore, it is the high point of the pyramid, in which the human finds a justification or a meaning to life.
Practical examples of Maslow’s pyramid
The hierarchy of human needs according to Maslow can not only be applied on a personal level, but in many aspects of life as in business or marketing. Whatever approach you wish to take, these are some examples of this:
This aspect of the Maslow pyramid is focused on discovering what motivates a person to work in a company and if their expectations fit with reality. If you start with the physiological needs of a candidate for a position, we talk about the salary you will receive, with which you can meet your needs at the material level: food, housing, etc.
Safety is interpreted as protection against damage. Therefore, the employee must be assured that he will not run any problem on a physical level within his workplace. But I also refer to the security offered by a company that has a solid business model. In other words, a company that is not at risk of bankruptcy, for example.
Affiliation in this context refers to the links that link the person with the company. If the environment of the company represents to some extent the values of the worker and he feels identified.
As for recognition, it refers to whether the person obtains enough valued by their peers and / or bosses. The esteem on the part of the coworkers is a very powerful component when it comes to feeling comfortable and valued in a company / community.
As for self-realization, in this state the employee focuses on growing as a person and professional and seeks to develop his creativity, talent and other facets that allow him to unleash his full potential.
Economy: The hierarchy as a marketing instrument for companies
With respect to application in companies and the economy, each of these levels is used to design marketing strategies that effectively impact consumer purchasing decisions.
In other words, we try to categorize the service or product that we want to offer within one of the needs. As an example, we can put how startups They try to cover the needs of the population at different levels:
- Level 1 needs (basic / physiological): The technology it has facilitated more than ever access to food and housing. This layer has all startups in food and housing technology (temporary or long term). As an example companies such as housy, which facilitate the search for housing through its platform, or others such as delivery hero who are responsible for bringing food to the door of your home or work.
- Level 2 Needs (Security): In the current digital era, one of the biggest threats is identity and data theft. Protecting your confidential information is as important as protecting yourself. In this case, we would be talking about startup companies related to home security, cyber security, blockchain.
- Level 3 Needs (Love / Belonging): Meeting people and finding love has never been so easy (theoretically), thanks to all numerous companies such as Tinder, e-Darling or Meetup
- Level 4 Needs (Estimate / Reputation): How will others know what you have achieved if they are not transmitted to you? Who does not take a look at how many followers have accumulated on social networks? These are some of the startups involved with your person, social life and online reputation: Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Level 5 Needs (Self-Realization): These companies are trying to help you reach your full potential through life-coaching, productivity hacks and brain training. An example that comes from the United States is Mind Valley.
This is how marketing is responsible for converting consumer wishes into a necessity. Is about foster the desire for need, since needs cannot be created because they are already there. The role of marketing is to detect needs and convert them is business opportunities to produce satisfactory in this way, be they products or services, with the ability to foster desire for them.
How to make a personal Maslow pyramid
While a personal Maslow pyramid is defined by the already established needs of this theory, you should also keep in mind that each person is different and therefore as the levels progress, the degree of personalization will increase.
Therefore, to have a personal Maslow pyramid you can be guided by the following. Always remembering that the first levels correspond to the most basic and those that follow are more personal. Thus:
- Physiological needs: Your physiological needs cannot differ from those of other people, which is why they will always be the same in your pyramid. In it there are actions such as breathing, drinking water, going to the bathroom, avoiding pain, feeding or maintaining your body temperature by wearing appropriate clothing for the climate in which you are. This is why if your work does not allow them to rest or feed well, performance will be poor in a justified way.
- Security and protection needs: What does security mean to you? Although this may vary depending on the person, we must consider that the notions of security, remain the same to a greater or lesser extent. There is physical security, avoid being harmed and have health, avoid putting this at risk. This is how at work you must have artifacts or materials suitable for working and living in optimal conditions.
- Need for affiliation: Subjectivity begins here at a certain point, since questions such as Which of your relationships are most important to you? Couple, family, friends? This is why good work environments are so necessary, in the work and personal aspect.
- Need for recognition: What is your level of self-esteem? Depending on this answer, you will be able to determine what your inclination is within the scope of personal benefit. Because feeling high self-esteem is the key to a successful personal life, or it is also the key to a good reputation in a company. There is a lot of competitiveness in the market, so insecure or unhappy people are not synonymous with success.
- Need for self-realization: Do you feel happy and in harmony? On this level there is meaning to life, seeing and living in a different way from others. This depends on our interior and our exterior, and that is why even these traits are necessary to achieve the status of a brand.
Who was Abraham Maslow?
Abraham Maslow was an American psychiatrist and psychologist, promoter of humanistic psychology. He also worked based on the concepts of self-realization, higher levels of consciousness and transcendence. Creating in this way the theory of self-realization that bears his name and that we have talked about in this article.
Through various of his works, Maslow was able to convey that each individual has hierarchical needs that must be met. The goal of psychotherapy to be understood is that they are fully satisfied. This idea was reflected in works such as Motivation and personality (1954), Psychology of Being (1962) Y The Psychology of Science (1966).
His theory represented a breakthrough since in some schools in the mid-twentieth century, they were focused on problem behaviors and learning from a passive being. In addition to the fact that learning does not have many options to influence the environment more than it influences it. So Maslow was more focused on learning how to make people happier and what could be done to improve personal development and self-realization.
It is noteworthy that Maslow’s position is usually classified in psychology as a “third force.” So it is technically and theoretically located between the paradigms of behaviorism and psychoanalysis. So that their work and idea left them in history as a pioneer of humanist psychology.