The needs, propounded by Maslow, may be discussed as follows:
These are the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, rest and sex. Men cannot live without the satisfaction of these needs. However, when these needs are satisfied he will strive to satisfy next higher needs.
When physiological needs are satisfied man strives for the safety needs. These needs pertain to the man’s need to be free from any danger which is concerned with his present or future life.
He wants his job and future secure. These needs are essentially the needs for self preservation.
Man is a social animal and there is a strong feeling in him to belong to and to be accepted by the group in which he lives. Thus, he wants to establish his relationship with his fellows in the group and at the same time also, wants them to establish relationship with him.
These are higher needs. Man wants to get the appreciation and regard from his fellow beings. It gives him feelings of prestige and self confidence. Man tries to satisfy these needs through hard work. But when these needs are not satisfied, man becomes desperate and many a time adopts certain means which we call antisocial means.
Need for Self-actualisation:
This is the highest of all the needs. When other needs of a man are satisfied he strives to satisfy these highest needs also. Here man waits to prove his worth. He wants to show to the world that he is something.
He wants to make the optimum use of the capacities, talents and skills, using Maslow’s expression, “What a man can be, he must be”. We can also quote Tulsidas here who write ‘Ramcharitmanas’ only for “Swantahsukhaya” i.e., for his own happiness.
Important features of the theory of hierarchy of needs can be summarized as follows:
(a) Man is a wanting animal. He has got diversified needs.
(b) These needs have a hierarchy. If one need is satisfied man strives to satisfy the other need.
(c) The first three needs, namely physiological, safety and love needs have been termed as lower order needs. The next two esteem and self-actualisation have been termed as ‘higher order’ needs.
(d) Until and unless lower order needs are satisfied one cannot even think of satisfying higher order needs.
(e) A need which has been satisfied no longer motivates a person.
Harold Koontz and Heins Weibrich have made some observations about the theory of hierarchy of needs. These may be pointed out as follows:
Maslow’s concept of a hierarchy of needs has been subjected to considerable research. E. Lawler and J. Suttle collected data and 187 managers in two different organisations over a period of 6 months to year. They found little evidence to support Maslow’s theory that human needs form a hierarchy.
They did note, however, that there were two levels of needs biological and other needs and that the other needs would emerge only when biological needs were reasonably satisfied. They found further, that at the higher level, the strength of needs varied with the individual; in some individuals, social needs predominated and in others, self- actualization needs were strongest”.
In another study of Maslow’s needs hierarchy involving a group of managers over a period of 5 years. Douglas, T. Hall and Khalil Nougaim did not find strong evidence of a hierarchy.
They found that as managers advance in an organization, their physiological and safety needs tend to decrease in importance, and their needs for affiliation, esteem, and self- actualization tend to increase. They insisted however, that the upward movement of need prominence resulted from upward career changes and not from the satisfaction of lower- order needs.
To sum up, Maslow has made a great contribution to, our understanding the nature of motivation. In fact modern management approach has been considerably influenced by the hierarchy of needs theory propounded by him.
However, it is not necessary that hierarchy of needs should follow the pattern as described by Maslow. There can be many exceptions to this pattern. For example a hungry soldier for many days together may be inspired to make supreme sacrifice for the sake 4 justice and truth may be striving for the self actualisation.