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Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy Theory – Introduction to Management (ITM)

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abraham maslowMaslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory
Principles of Management (POM)
Third Semester | Second year
BSc.CSIT | Tribhuvan University (TU)

Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy Theory
Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs model in 1940-50s-USA. He gave a theory of human motivation which explicitly defines self actualization. According to Maslow, Needs exist in hierarchy. There is a hierarchy of five needs; only when lower level needs are satisfied then higher level needs be activated and serve as sources of motivation. He described human need as ordered in hierarchy summarized below;

Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

Maslow Hierarchy of needs

Maslow categories five needs into two levels:-

Higher level needs (Social, Esteem and Self actualization): Higher level needs can be satisfied by providing opportunity for participation in decision making, and challenging and meaningful jobs.
Lower level needs (Physiological and Security): Lower level needs can be satisfied by offering higher salary and wages, pleasant working conditions, medical insurance and retirement benefits. Lower level needs can never be completely satisfied-they recur from time to time.

Hierarchy of Needs theory remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development.


  • It is almost non-testable theory.
  • Needs cannot be classified in to only 5 steps.
  • The hierarchy of need may not apply at all times.
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