Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Given that their role is to ‘get things done through people’, the managers have to concern themselves with motivation, as there are heterogeneous workforce in the organization (Robbins, et al., 2003). A good manager looks into the individuals and motivates them during the work. An ability to motivate others can leave a manager effective and virtually powerful. Abraham Maslow developed one of the most popular motivation theories.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Known as the hierarchy of needs, it is generally depicted as a pyramid. Maslow proposed that basic needs drive the behaviour of people. (Buhler, 2003). There are five levels of needs arranged in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. They are physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation needs (Refer to Appendix 2). Managers have to assess in which level their employees are and therefore motivate them in different ways (Robbins, et al., 2003).

The five needs are in ascending order from the lowest to the highest. Once lower-level needs are satisfied, the next higher-level needs would replace it and become the influence the individual behaviour (Austin, 2002). The needs at the bottom are the physiological needs, which are the requirements for the basic things that allow us to live. For example, the food, water, shelter and other requirements for sustain the life itself (Stum, 2001).

If the physiological needs are relatively satisfied, Maslow claimed that safety or security needs would emerge, these needs refer to the safe working condition, company benefits and job security. In other words, this is a concern for self-preservation (Hersey ; Blanchard, 1999). In order to maintain and motivate the workers in the grocery store, Suzie noticed that the way that the supervisor treated the cashier couldn’t give her the sense of security. Additionally, for the future of the employees, she has to collect the Certificate of Food Safety Approval. This is important for the employees to be able to maintain their jobs so that they can provide food and shelter tomorrow and the next day. Suzie knows that only to create a stable and safe environment in the grocery store can those employees put more effort into their work without any anxiety.

According to Maslow the physiological and safety needs were classified as lower-order needs; social, esteem and self-actualisation needs were described as higher-order needs. The difference between these two categories is that the lower-order needs are satisfied externally, while the higher-order needs are satisfied internally (Robbins, et al., 2003). Maslow referred to the safety needs as the needs for belongingness and love.

Since people are social beings, they have a need to belong to and be accepted by various groups. These are applied into the organisational factors are cohesive work group, friendly supervision and professional associations (Steers ; Porter, 1999). Suzie noticed that there are some communication problems within the store and people were even not allowed to talk with each other. Therefore, some actions are taken to boost the morale and to build up an effective team. For example, holding a meeting for all workers to offer a chance to communicate with each other and as a team they discuss the better way to manage the store and finally to the maximum extent to satisfied the employees’ social needs during the work.

After individuals begin to satisfy their need to belong, they generally want to be more than just a member of their group. This is the esteem motivation level. At this level, colleagues need to respect and be respected with each other, your customers appreciate you and boss recognise you. That means employees need to know clearly what the standard for each job is and when he or she has completed it well, the boss must show respect to the workers and asking an employee’s opinion (Denning, 2001). In order to fulfil the esteem needs of the employees, Suzie went to talk to the cashier about the missing money and the young men about the fireworks rather than being impatient and unfriendly, and asking the opinions of the staff about the smarter way to manage the store. Meanwhile, Suzie also needs to develop the feedback skills to deal with the negative and positive feedback from and to the employees and this allows them feeling importance in the team.

The highest level in the hierarchy is self-actualisation, which relates to the growth, advancement and creativity in the organisation. According to Maslow, few people ever fully realize their potential and exercise their true capacity for creativity and intellectual curiosity (Austin, 2002). Suzie, in this case, knows that it is her responsibility to find which level of needs each individual in the grocery store operates in, therefore, the first thing in the meeting would be to ask each staff member to introduce themselves and tell her what they like doing at the shop. By this way, Suzie gets better idea of each individual and through the communication knows what the individual need is.


The ideas of Fayol and Maslow have large contributories to the management theories and these theories are still widely used around the world (Carroll and Gillen, 1987). Their principles and philosophies are the guidelines to the manager’s job. In Suzie’s case, the way she thinking and doing things are according to these writers’ ideas. These ideas help Suzie at the first day as a manager get things done in a particular situation through the other people.