Explore BrainMass

Explore BrainMass

    Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs into the Workplace

    This content was COPIED from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

    1. In 1800 words explain how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs applies to professional work dynamics.
    2. Describe how the theory designates the team member roles and responsibilities.
    3. Explain how participation, leadership, and motivational skills would be demonstrated according to this theory.
    4. Also describe how the theory affects perspectives on group interaction in the workplace.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com April 3, 2020, 3:26 pm ad1c9bdddf

    Solution Preview

    1. Explain how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs applies to professional work dynamics?

    Maslow’s theory is considered a theory of motivation, which is highly application to professional work dynamics. Tapping employee motivation has been shown to increase work productivity. In other words, the more we learn about ways to motivate employees, the more productive the employees will be in the workplace.

    Let’s look at the following example, which an excellent resource to draw for applying Maslow’s theory to the workplace motivation through paying attention to meeting their needs (e.g., physiological, etc.). In other words, the notion behind the application of Maslow’s theory of motivation 9other theories of motivation, as well) is that by meeting the needs of the employees  higher the motivation - increased job satisfaction  the more production the employees will be.

    A, Example 1: Employee Human Needs: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs at Work

    As a manager of people you should pay attention to how you and the company are taking care of people from the perspective of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Almost all resistance and motivation issues can be traced to your employees not getting their needs met.

    Pay attention to these five driving factors and you will retain employees that are satisfied and fulfilled. If you can consistently meet all five needs of your employees, you will have an organization that is capable of accomplishing anything.

    These needs are the essentials of life. Surprisingly enough, as an employer, you have a great deal to do with an employee’s basic human needs:
    • Food - You need to provide them time to eat and make sure they can easily access quality food.
    • Oxygen - Make sure there that there is enough circulation in the air to provide oxygen for their brain. You’d be surprised how many “sweat shops” neglect this basic element and can’t figure out why their employees are groggy by two in the afternoon.
    • Water - Make sure that you have filtered or distilled water. Tap water usually isn’t adequate.
    • Shelter - Make sure you pay your employees predictably on time. The first time you’re late, watch the problems start. If you habitually pay haphazardly, you’ll force people to take jobs where there is a more secure environment.
    • Sleep - Sometimes you’re forced to work late or even once in a great while, work all night. Don’t make it a habit. Unless you can finish a major project, leave it until the next day. People won’t be able to function the next day so any gain is lost.
    • Relatively constant body temperature - Make sure that the working environment is cool enough in the summer and warm enough in the winter.

    Safety & Security
    When the physiological needs are met the needs for security become active. You meet the safety and security needs of your employees by:
    • Maintaining a stable company.
    • Ensuring that your company is a safe place to work.
    • Locating your office in a safe place.
    • Making sure your employees do not have to take unnecessary risks to perform their job.

    Social Connection
    When the needs for safety, security and physiological well-being are satisfied, the need for social connection will emerge. You can satisfy your employee’s connection needs by:

    • Encouraging team spirit and working together.
    • Emphasizing the value of the company culture and a feeling of belonging to something.
    • Encouraging outside activities with employees.
    • Developing a culture that emphasizes the value of each individual as a contribution to the group.

    When the first three needs are met, the esteem needs become active. These esteem needs are both self-esteem, the esteem one provides themselves and esteem from others based on positive feedback and encouragement. The ways you can enhance the esteem of your employees are:

    • Facilitate employee recognition programs.
    • Catch employees doing things right and verbalizing this to the employee.
    • Provide work that is both challenging and satisfying.
    • Create a culture that builds people up instead of tearing them down. Make it a culture based on respect.
    • Use performance reviews as tools for predictably evaluating employees’ work.


    When the previous needs are consistently met, then your employee is in a position to be self-actualized. Maslow describes this need as the person’s need to be and do what that person was “born to do.” A writer must write, a musician must make music and a programmer must write code.

    As you get to know your employees and strive to have your company meet the four earlier needs, find out who they are and what drives them. Then when you’ve created a company and a culture that consistently meets their four base needs you can help propel them to do what they were “born to do” in your company. Then you will achieve a level of performance and employee satisfaction that is unparalleled.

    (c) 2002-2004 by Bryan Brandenburg (Source: http://www.vmmg.net/resources/employee_human_needs.shtml).

    B. Example 2: Motivation and Participation

    The idea here and is supported by research: The higher the employee involvement (social connection), the higher the employee motivation, the higher the reported job more satisfaction, the higher the work productivity, both individual and in teams. Leaders need to understand the theory, and have various tools (team approach meets the social connections and belonging needs, the encouragement and matching skills with job descriptions and tasks increasing self-esteem needs, etc.) at the their exposal to meet these different levels of needs of the employees, which increases motivation. In other words, leaders need to ask themselves two main questions:

    1. What are the needs of the employees? (Looks to theory and employee involvement or participation – measured through asking for employee input/ team approach, team meetings and feedback from the employees, or through employee surveys, etc.)
    2. And what can we do to meet these needs?

    C. Example3 : Leadership and team building - Using the Theory:

    Maslow’s hierarchic theory is often represented as a pyramid, with the lower levels representing the more fundamental needs, and the upper levels representing the growth/being needs, and ultimately the need for self-actualization. According to the theory, the higher needs in the hierarchy become evident only after all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are met (as show above).

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is not so much a technique or process to use as an idea to have in mind when you’re thinking about how you meet a team member’s needs (for example, during a quarterly review). Managers often instinctively want to use salary raises as a way of motivating team members. However the reality is usually that they have a fixed “pot” of raises to offer to their team members, and this often does not allow the rewards they want to give. Maslow’s theory is important for two reasons: Firstly it points out that people’s needs are not just met by hard cash (which arguably addresses levels 1 and 2). People have many needs, which have to be met, and while people may be very well paid, they can still be unsatisfied if these needs aren’t met. Secondly, it gives managers a whole range of tools that they can use to build team satisfaction, even if they don’t have much money to give out. It usually doesn’t cost much to provide a safe working environment. It’s often inexpensive to have team socials (for example, around a barbecue) where team members can get to know one-another outside the work environment. And it costs nothing to compliment people on a job well done. As such, Maslow’s Hierarchy gives hard-pressed managers “permission” to be “good bosses”, knowing that as such, they’re doing their best to build highly effective, highly productive teams ( By James Manktelow, co-author of “How to Lead: Discover the Leader Within You”, which teaches the 48 key skills needed to lead effectively. Click here to find out more about “How to Lead” (excerpted from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_92.htm).

    Example 4: Maslow and Team building (attached article).
    It looks at a team as one entity, and does not distinguish roles within the team, bur rather focuses on meeting the team needs, as proposed by Maslow’s theory of motivation and the Hierarchy of Needs (see p. 3 of attached article, which is also available on-line at http://www.ics.uci.edu/~asarma/papers/maslow.pdf).

    Note: I also located an excellent primary source by Maslow (1943) that I thought you might be interested in reading, which I attached below as Example 5.

    FINAL COMMENTS This is not exhaustive, but should give you an excellent starting point. I hope this helps and take care.

    Example 5: Primary Source
    A Theory of Human Motivation
    A. H. Maslow (1943)
    Originally Published in Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

    [p. 370] I. INTRODUCTION
    In a previous paper (13) various propositions were presented which would have to be included in any theory of human motivation that could lay claim to being definitive. These conclusions may be briefly summarized as follows:
    1. The integrated wholeness of the organism must be one of the foundation stones of motivation theory.
    2. The hunger drive (or any other physiological drive) was rejected as a centering point or model for a definitive theory of motivation. Any drive that is somatically based and localizable was shown to be atypical rather than typical in human motivation.
    3. Such a theory should stress and center itself upon ultimate or basic goals rather than partial or superficial ones, upon ends rather than means to these ends. Such a stress would imply a more central place for unconscious than for conscious motivations.
    4. There are usually available various cultural paths to the same goal. Therefore conscious, specific, local-cultural desires are not as fundamental in motivation theory as the more basic, unconscious goals.
    5. Any motivated behavior, either preparatory or consummatory, must be understood to be a channel through which many basic needs may be simultaneously expressed or satisfied. Typically an act has more than one motivation.
    6. Practically all organism states are to be understood as motivated and as motivating.
    7. Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal. Also no need or drive can be treated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives.
    8. Lists of drives will get us nowhere for various theoretical and practical reasons. Furthermore any classification of motivations [p. 371] must deal with the problem of levels of specificity or generalization the motives to be classified.
    9. Classifications of motivations must be based upon goals rather than upon instigating drives or motivated behavior.
    10. Motivation theory should be human-centered rather than animal-centered.
    11. The situation or the field in which the organism reacts must be taken into account but the field alone can rarely serve as an exclusive explanation for behavior. Furthermore the field itself must be interpreted in terms of the organism. Field theory cannot be a substitute for motivation theory.
    12. Not only the integration of the organism must be taken into account, but also the possibility of isolated, specific, partial or segmental reactions. It has since become necessary to add to these another affirmation.
    13. Motivation theory is not synonymous with behavior theory. The motivations are only one class of determinants of behavior. While behavior is almost always motivated, it is also almost always biologically, culturally and situationally determined as well.
    The present paper is an attempt to formulate a positive theory of motivation, which will satisfy these theoretical demands and at the same time conform to the known facts, clinical and observational as well as experimental. It derives most directly, however, from clinical experience. This theory is, I think, in the functionalist tradition of James and Dewey, and is fused with the holism of Wertheimer (19), Goldstein (6), and Gestalt Psychology, and with the dynamicism of Freud (4) and Adler (1). This fusion or synthesis may arbitrarily be called a 'general-dynamic' theory.
    It is far easier to perceive and to criticize the aspects in motivation theory than to remedy them. Mostly this is because of the very serious lack of sound data in this area. I conceive this lack of sound facts to be due primarily to the absence of a valid theory of motivation. The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand or fall, not so much on facts available or evidence presented, as upon researches to be done, researches suggested perhaps, by the questions raised in this paper.[p. 372]
    The 'physiological' needs. -- The needs that are usually taken as the starting point for motivation theory are the so-called physiological drives. Two recent lines of research make it necessary to revise our customary notions about these needs, first, the development of the concept of homeostasis, and second, the finding that appetites (preferential choices among foods) are a fairly efficient indication of actual needs or lacks in the body.
    Homeostasis refers to the body's automatic efforts to maintain a constant, normal state of the blood stream. Cannon (2) has described this process for (1) the water content of the blood, (2) salt content, (3) sugar content, (4) protein content, (5) fat content, (6) calcium content, (7) oxygen content, (8) constant hydrogen-ion level (acid-base balance) and (9) constant temperature of the blood. Obviously this list can be extended to include other minerals, the hormones, vitamins, etc.
    Young in a recent article (21) has summarized the work on appetite in its relation to body needs. If the body lacks some chemical, the individual will tend to develop a specific appetite or partial hunger for that food element.
    Thus it seems impossible as well as useless to make any list of fundamental physiological needs for they can come to almost any number one might wish, depending on the degree of specificity of description. We can not identify all physiological needs as homeostatic. That sexual desire, sleepiness, sheer activity and maternal behavior in animals, are homeostatic, has not yet been demonstrated. Furthermore, this list would not include the various sensory pleasures (tastes, smells, tickling, stroking) which are probably physiological and which may become the goals of motivated behavior.
    In a previous paper (13) it has been pointed out that these physiological drives or needs are to be considered unusual rather than typical because they are isolable, and because they are localizable somatically. That is to say, they are relatively independent of each other, of other motivations [p. 373] and of the organism as a whole, and secondly, in many cases, it is possible to demonstrate a localized, underlying somatic base for the drive. This is true less generally than has been thought (exceptions are fatigue, sleepiness, maternal responses) but it is still true in the classic instances of hunger, sex, and thirst.
    It should be pointed out again that any of the physiological needs and the consummatory behavior involved with them serve as channels for all sorts of other needs as well. That is to say, the person who thinks he is hungry may actually be seeking more for comfort, or dependence, than for vitamins or proteins. Conversely, it is possible to satisfy the hunger need in part by other activities such as drinking water or smoking cigarettes. In other words, relatively isolable as these physiological needs are, they are not completely so.
    Undoubtedly these physiological needs are the most pre-potent of all needs. What this means specifically is, that in the ...

    Solution Summary

    By responding to the questions, this solution explains how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs applies to professional work dynamics. Supplemented with an article applying Maslow's theory to the workplace.