Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: What it is, Description of Needs, Importance and MORE

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The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, or also known as Maslow’s Pyramid, it was developed by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) to separate (in a hierarchical way), the different needs that human beings have.

For this reason, in this article we dedicate ourselves to explaining in depth: what is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the description of them, their importance, we will name some criticisms, and we culminate with the motivation of the employees and the hierarchy.

What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Now, as we mentioned at the beginning of this report, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is basically a psychological theory that investigates certain fundamental aspects of the human being, such as: their motivation and needs.

According to Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), humanistic psychologist, our actions are born from motivation oriented towards the goal of meeting various needs, which can be ordered based on importance or relevance they have for human well-being.

Maslow’s Pyramid: Abraham Maslow, proposed a theory in which there is a hierarchy of human needs. And, in turn, he defended that according to the satisfaction of the most basic needs, the human develops higher desires and needs.

Maslow was commissioned to introduce this concept for the first time in his article “A Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943 and, in his book “Motivation and Personality”. Furthermore, this theory represented graphically as a pyramid has been popular and remarkable even today.

On the other hand, Abraham Maslow had the idea that humans have an innate desire to fulfill themselves and be whatever they want to be. In addition to this, he thought that they had the ability to independently pursue their dreams and goals in a suitable environment.

However, and according to the pyramid of needs, the objectives pursued at all times will depend on what goal has been achieved and what goals remain to be met. Therefore, to aspire to goals of self-realization, first needs such as: food, security, among others.


Maslow’s Pyramid, It is composed of 5 (five) levels. They include from the most basic needs that human beings have, to the most complex needs of the same. Pay attention to the following texts.

Well, we must clarify that, the most basic needs They are located at the base of the pyramid. While, at the top or highest of it, they can be found the most complex needs of the human being.

Thus, the 5 (five) categories of human needs that make up the Maslow’s Pyramid or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, They are classified into: physiological needs, security, affiliation, recognition and finally self-realization.

Remember that physiological needs are located at the base of the pyramid, that is, the lowest level. And, in the upper levels the needs are located in the order indicated.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Types

In this pyramid, Abraham Maslow talks about instinctual needs. And, at the same time, it refers to a distinction between: deficit needs, that is, recognition, and development needs of being, self realisation.

The difference between the two needs is that deficit needs refer to a lack. On the other hand, those of the development of being, refer to the work of an individual.

IMPORTANT: to avoid unpleasant consequences or unpleasant feelings, it is essential that the human being manages to satisfy the deficit needs.

Physiological needs

  • These types of needs include those vital for survival, and they are also of biological origin.
  • Within this group, we can find needs such as: breathing, drinking water, eating, shelter, sleeping, among others.

It is important to mention that, Abraham Maslow thinks that this type of needs in particular are the most basic in the hierarchy. Therefore, the other needs are considered secondary until those of this level have been covered.

Security Needs

  • In this type of need, the need for security necessary to live is included.
  • However, they are on a different level than physiological needs.
  • In short, if the first are not satisfied, a second link of needs does not arise.
  • These needs include: physical security, income and resources, family, employment, health, among others.

Membership Needs

  • These needs have been described by Maslow as the least basic.
  • Furthermore, they make sense once the above have been satisfied.
  • An example of this type of need can be: reciprocated love, belonging, affection, among others.

Recognition Needs

  • This level is also known as esteem needs.
  • It also has to do with the way in which the human being is valued and is valued by others, that is, the rest of society.
  • These favor the strengthening of self-esteem.
  • Now, when these types of needs have not been satisfied, the human being can feel inferior and worthless.

Self-actualization needs

  • This is the highest level, and in it we can find needs for self-realization and development of internal needs, moral and spiritual development, among others.
  • Furthermore, this level is one of the most difficult hierarchy ranges to define.

Importance of the Hierarchy of Needs

It should be noted that the Hierarchy of Needs, understands certain practical applications in companies or businesses. Especially when it refers to the motivation of the workers who are part of it.

Some organizations, such as Zappos or Google, ensure that each and every one of their employees has everything through motivation. For this reason, they are famous. Furthermore, its main objective is offer the best working conditions for your employees.

IMPORTANT: this pyramid also applies to the world of marketing and advertising in order to understand the needs of consumers, and to know which products are going to succeed in the market.

Some Criticisms

We continue with this article developing some criticisms made of Maslow’s Pyramid. It should be noted that, although certain investigations support this theory, much of the data collected they don’t seem to be in tune with the same.

Wahba and Bridwell (1986), conclude that there is not enough evidence to demonstrate the hierarchy postulated by Abraham Maslow, even though it is still very popular today.

Added to this, Maslow’s Pyramid has received criticism for the difficulty of proving its concept of self-realization, given how abstract it is. After all, in science must be clearly specified The meaning of the words.

But why? Well, simple, because if a concept leaves a lot of room for interpretation, it will not be possible to carry out research aimed at studying the same, and it will not be possible to draw clear conclusions.

Now, it is important to mention a certain aspect. And, it is also considered that a large number of the categories and concepts described in Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, are too ambiguous to be able to study them scientifically.


  • In 2011, a study published by researchers from the University of Illinois was conducted where they put this pyramid to the test.
  • Then they found that the satisfaction of needs was correlated with the happiness of the individual.

However, this research, contrary to Maslow’s theory, concluded that recognition and self-actualization needs were also important, even if the most basic needs were not covered.

Due to the above, the sequentiality that Maslow proposed in his theory was questioned: “it was not necessary to have fulfilled basic needs to aspire to achieve the objectives related to the most refined needs ”.

  • Maslow’s research was based on a very small sample of people.
  • The criticism made of his methodology refers to the fact that he himself chose the people he considered self-actualized.
  • In fact, those people Maslow interviewed when conducting his pyramid of need may not represent the majority of the human population.
  • This is because they belonged to Western culture, very influential or rich.

Employee Motivation and the Hierarchy of Needs

To end this report, it is up to us to develop employee motivation and hierarchy of needs. Also, it is important to note that Maslow identified various needs after creating the pyramid. These are:

  • Need to learn: here, the person feels the impulse to learn, understand and know the world around him.
  • Need for aesthetic satisfaction: In this type of need, the search for symmetry, perfection, beauty and art begins.
  • Finally, need for transcendence: This is based on faith, spirituality, acceptance of mortality and connection with nature.

Now, keeping employees engaged is as difficult as understanding consumer behavior. And the Maslow’s pyramid can help you do that too. So you must find ways that meet the needs based on the hierarchy.

To end our writing, we invite you to help us share the information.

See you soon!

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