Critical Evaluate Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy of Needs

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2022
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Critically evaluate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as way of understanding employee motivation in contemporary Chinese business Nowadays, people resources have been considered as an important task. To focus on that employees’ emotional motivator have always been considered as a standard to predict company’s future tendency of development. (Hurst, 1995) People’s motivation factors and uses have become to play a more significant role in modern firms, which is every boss cared.

In today’s China, many local and multinational cooperation companies have expanded their dimensions; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been used in their human recourses management to motivate their staffs. Although many people do not think Maslow’s theory is a good way to deal with the motivation in China, there are many firms used Maslow’s theory to gain a good cycle of motivation. For Chinese companies, to adopt Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory as an appropriate strategy to motivate employees’ working motive power.

This essay will state the introduction of Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs, and evaluate it. Then, to combine with Chinese firms’ case and to finish off, the Maslow’s motivation theory is good enough to be adopted as a solution of the staff’s motivation. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has reflected different kinds of human being’s need. According to Maslow (1943), hierarchy of needs has divided people’s needs into five layers, which have been stated from the fundamentals to the tops: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.

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Physiological is the basic things that people need, however, nobody can be live without this factor which support human physiological drive called necessities. If someone can gain a enough life to eat and wear, the more thing they need is safety, which guarantee their secure of lives and finance. Love and belonging always stand for a kind of perception of affiliation, which can give a person a kind of smooth feeling in emotion. The Esteem and self-actualisation are the two much higher division of the hierarchy of needs.

They stand for the large satisfying which given by other people and themselves. The higher hierarchies are based on the satisfaction of lower hierarchies, if the basic layers cannot be satisfied, the higher layers are prattles. There also exist many criticisms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. Although Wahba and Brudwell (1976) have stated that there exist no evident which can prove there is exist the hierarchy of needs, the hierarchies are not equal to inexistence and the layers are evident to ju dge which is human being appreciate to do and those rarely to own.

According to Kenrick(2010), to classify what is the higher hierarchy is prattle. The sexual needs has been considered as biological needs and been classified in physiological. If it is acceptable that Maslow has stated, which will mean that people solve their sexual need by masturbation as by having intercourse is the difference between the people in different levels of hierarchy of needs. As well as Hofstede (1984) also doubted that the pyramid system which the hierarchy of needs has used is based on ethnocentric and does not care the background of individualism and collectivism.

In fact, for a collectivism people, to achieve the collective benefit maximization is equal to approach their self-actualization in the whole group. It can also explain the reason why Maslow’s theory can be also used for the people who prefer to trust collectivism. In fact, Maslow’s theory has been widely used in different countries company as a strategy of motivation such as Tesco (The Times 100, 2009), which is the largest retailer in UK, with large human resources all over the world.

To the staff of Tesco, the welfare providing by company is not just enough salary but the work atmosphere. Exactly as Herzburg (1968) has stated that fixed reason that lead to job satisfactions which is related to Maslow’s theory of motivation. Moreover, Management Trainee plan can be processes which can help people achieve self-actualization that attracts the employees to enter the company. Chinese companies also prefer to adopt Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory as a strategy to motivate workers’ impetus.

With China’s development and communication with world, culture diversity is on the process. Although there always stated China is still influenced by collectivism, in today’s Chinese society, individualism and collectivism are coexisting. According to Hofstede (1984), Maslow’s theory is based on his individualism background; it can also prove that Maslow’s theory is acceptable and available to Chinese firms. Moreover, for Chinese firms, Maslow’s theory is a good strategy to motivate employees’ emotion.

In China Mobile, a most famous company in China which is the leader of the whole telecommunication industry, esteem and self-actualization are the two most affect ways to make motivation. China mobile has provided a series of fully optimized class for their employees to improve their quality of work ability and build up a kind of competitive selection of the outstanding workers to let them achieve their self-actualization which is correspond to Maslow’s theory. According to China Mobile (n. d. , they have been considered as the most ideal employers by Chinese university student in mainland China. It can also approve that the strategy is correct to use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as the theoretical fundamental to motivate their workers that the numbers of their employees has always raised to 164,336. (China Mobile, n. d. ) In addition, The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is also combined their motivating strategy with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. CNOOC (n. d. ) has presented comprehensive training programs to give the opportunities to employees for self-development.

Although the competitive is enormous and hot, the compensation packages are enough to guarantee that they can gain esteem from others and provide enough opportunities to achieve self-actualization. In conclusion, the essay has proved that although Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory has been considered that there exist such a number of issues by some people, such as Hofstede and Wahba (1976), it can still be adopted as a good strategy of motivation. Maslow’s theory not only can use by western countries, but also can used in Chinese company.

The main reason is that theory can make people achieve their value in working and make the work more efficiently if the employees have been inspired. China Mobile as a huge company in telecommunication industry has proved as it success in motivating their workers competitive mood and give a platform for the workers to achieve their dream, in another word, they can achieve their self-actualization. To finish off, despite Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is not consummate enough, it can be used as a good strategy to motivate Chinese employees.


  1. China Mobile (n. d. ) [Online] Available from: China National Offshore Oil Corporation (n. d. )
  2. Herzberg, F. (1968). One more time: how do you motivate employees?. Harvard Business Review 46 (1): 53–62.
  3. Hofstede, G (1984). The cultural relativity of the quality of life concept. Academy of Management Review 9 (3): 389–398.
  4. Business School Press, Boston, MA. Hurst, D. K. (1995), Crisis and Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organisational Change, Harvardm
  5. Kenrick, D. (2010). Rebuilding Maslow’s pyramid on an evolutionary foundation. Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist.
  6. Maslow, A. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.
  7. The Times 100 (2009). Motivational theory in practice at Tesco.
  8. Wahba, A; Bridwell, L (1976). Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance (15): 212–240.

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Critical Evaluate Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy of Needs. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from

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