Abraham Maslow
an eminent US psychologist, offered a theory of motivation called the ‘Need Hierarchy theory’ and he felt that wide range of needs which motivate them to strive for their fulfilment and human can be categorised into five types as- Physiology needs, security needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs.


Motivation is concerned with the behaviour of a person or group of persons and nay behaviour is need-based, what is this need? A need is  a feeling that something is required and this feeling creates mental tensions and this tension in mind is transformed into want and to satisfy this want the person who feels the need (he or she who is  deprived of something), acts in one or another way to satisfy this want and satisfaction of a particular want releases the tension and then the behaviour to satisfy that want ceases, but in the meantime, some other need may be felt and thus need causing tension, tension causing the behaviour, satisfying the felt-need is a continuous process and needs are of different kinds and these have varying influences on motivation, for example:

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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a scalable vector illustration on white background

1. Basic Physiological Needs:

  Basic needs such as food, water, clothing, shelter, sleep and sexual satisfaction are included in this set of needs and these are the primary needs for sustaining human life itself and according to Maslow until these needs are satisfied to the extent necessary to sustain life these needs remain the motivating force.

2. Security or safety Needs:

Security is means “the feeling which involves being able to hold on to that one has. Being sure that one will be able to fare as well in future as in the past”. Thus these needs include being free from physical danger and the fear of losing a job, proper food, clothing or shelter.

3. Affiliation or Belonging Needs:

These include the need for love i.e. the need for affection and desire for association with others and the need for affiliation or acceptance becomes more prominent and becomes a motivating force.

4.Esteem Needs:

These needs include the desire to enjoy social approval, self-assertion and self-esteem and such a knowledge (Gratification of need for esteem) contributes to a feeling of self-confidence, worth or capability and it generates satisfaction such as power, prestige and status and status is the relative ranking that a person holds in a group or organization.

5. Self-Actualization Needs:

This refers to the desire for self-fulfilment and achievement and it is the desire to become what one believes to be capable of becoming and he wants to maximise his potential and to accomplish something and this need is regarded by Maslow as the highest in his hierarchy of needs.

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Maslow’s theory is based on the following assumptions:

  1. People’s behaviour is based on their needs. The satisfaction of such needs influences their behaviour.
  2. People’s needs are in hierarchical order, starting from basic needs to other higher-level needs;
  3. A person moves to the next higher level of the hierarchy only when the lower needs is satisfied; and
  4. A satisfied need can no longer motivate a person; only next higher need can motivate him.


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