Contemporary Theories of Motivation-Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Hello Respected Researchers and HR managers, In this section we will discuss about “Contemporary Theories of Motivation-Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory“. It is very much important for a Researcher as well as HR Concern person/ manager to know the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory. If researcher or HR Manager could follow the Points accordingly,it would easier to reach the goal. Let’s have a look…


Contemporary Theories of Motivation:

From a conceptual perspective, motivation is typically divided into content and process theories. Content theories are needs theories that identify a variety of needs that motivate individuals. Process theories examine the thought process that determines behaviour. So, for example, if we have a need for a sense of belonging in our work team, that would be identified through content theory, as a specific need. What process theories would do is identify how the establishment or absence of the feeling of belonging affects one’s behaviour at work.

Needs theories are concerned with explaining what motivates people in terms of their individual needs. This block discusses four needs theories: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Alderfer’s ERG Theory, McClelland’s Trichotomy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory:

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who studied human motivation, and concluded that individual needs can be arranged in a hierarchy, which is made up of five distinct levels. He argued that the most basic needs must be satisfied before seeking out higher order needs. He also argued that these needs are instinctive. The five levels of needs are described below:

  1. Physiological needs are subsistence needs that individuals require in order to survive: food, shelter, oxygen, water. Organizations might satisfy this need by providing an income that enables employees to provide for their physiological needs.
  2. Safety needs are those which serve to protect individuals from outside threats. Examples include shelter, security, a structured environment. An organisation can help satisfy this need by providing safe working conditions, job security, comfortable surroundings.
  3. Belongingness is a social need that is met when people have affection, love, friendship. Organisations often help to meet this need through teamwork and various social opportunities within and outside the workplace.
  4. Self-esteem focusses on the need for recognition and respect from others, acknowledgement of competence, independence. Often organisational members can fulfill this need with promotions or awards.
  5. Self-actualisation needs are not as easily defined, but relate to developing one’s full potential. People who are able to meet this need appreciate and accept themselves and others, and have very clear perceptions of reality.

Maslow argued that as soon as one level of needs is met, those needs will no longer motivate behaviour. It is an interesting theory, but not one that has received much empirical support. There may be needs other than those in Maslow’s hierarchy that motivate people; spiritual needs for example. In addition, these needs vary in order and importance because of cultural distinctions.


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