Maslow wanted to understand what motivates people. He believed that individuals possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. These systems motivate people to achieve certain needs. When one of these needs is fulfilled the person seeks to fulfill the next. Maslow focused on what person can potentially achieve rather than what can go wrong. There are 5 motivational needs that are usually displayed in a pyramid. You need to satisfy the lower level in order to progress to the higher levels.
Progress can be disrupted by failure to meet lower level needs due to life experiences for example loss of job or divorce. The 5 needs are:1. Physiological – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth sex, sleep 2. Safety – protection from elements, security order, law, limits, stability 3. Social /belonging – work groups, family, affection, relationships 4. Esteem – self esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility 5. Self actualization – realizing personal potential, self fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
Only 2% of people meet all of the levels (self actualization) – this is considered to be where they have fulfilled all that they are capable of and that they have found a meaning to their life that is important to them. Maslow studied people who he thought were in the 2% to gain better insight into these characteristics (Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt). The common characteristics include:- Can tolerate uncertainty Accept themselves and others for what they are Spontaneous in thought and action Unusual sense of humour Highly creative Concerned for the welfare of humanity Strong moral / ethical standards