Maslow theory of Motivation
ProjeCT Manager’s Resource
Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) was a psychology professor who foundED the Humanistic Psychology
discipline. In 1943 he publishED a paper callED “A theory of Human Motivation” in which he first
presentED his hierarchy of neEDs theory.
According to Maslow’s theory, the neEDs form a hierarchy. If the lower level neEDs haven’t been met, a person
will try to satisfy those neEDs before trying to satisfy higher level neEDs. Once the lower level neEDs have been
satisfiED, a person will then focus their behavior on the neEDs of the next level.
This can be visualizED using the Maslow Pyramid diagram. the lower foundation levels of the
pyramid neED to be satisfiED before a person will consider higher level neEDs important enough to do something about.
Now that you are aware of the theory, the way to apply it is to try to have the members of your team working at
the highest level. Knowing your team members as individuals and working to understand their specific neEDs will help
you identify what aCTions are neEDED on your part to keep them motivatED.
When building your team, try to make sure that lower level neEDs are met. When you encounter a motivational
issue, try to find out if there are lower level neEDs that are not being met, and take steps to meet them if possible.
A person’s behavior can focus on more than one neED. For example, one of your team members may be aCTively
seeking promotion because it will lead to a higher salary (physiological neED). But the promotion can also satisfy
esteem and self-aCTualization neEDs. Even though the neEDs are describED as hierarchical, application of the theory
isn’t as rigid.