Abraham Maslow Essay Examples & Outline

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Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow is renowned for his invention in relation to the hierarchy of needs. The psychologist invented the hierarchy of needs based on the premise that the needs of the human beings are not the same. He stated that the implementation of the human needs requires the following of some trend. This means that lower needs in the hierarchy have to be satisfied before moving on to the higher goals.

Just like in a ladder, the lower rungs have to be stepped on before proceeding to the next runs that are located at the higher levels (Myers, 2004). There are different motivations behind the invention of the hierarchy of needs. This paper will focus on the hierarchy of needs and the motivation behind the development of the hierarchical representation of needs.

The theory states that people have differing needs. These needs are the main motivators of the actions. Therefore, people are spurred into action by their needs. A need for a certain achievement will push someone into action (Myers, 2004). The motivational needs of the human beings are represented in five levels. The five levels can be further depicted as basic needs and growth needs.

Basic needs are prerequisites for human survival. The needs motivate people to act whenever they are unmet (Myers, 2004). The basic needs include food and esteem. If one is denied the basic need for long, the desire to fulfill the needs mounts hence the relationship between the urge and actual fulfillment of the needs.

Satisfaction of the lower level needs is a requirement for the proceeding to the higher needs. The basic needs have to be attained first before proceeding to the higher needs of growth after the person has attained the goals of the lower needs; he or she may proceed to the attainment of the higher goals. The highest motivational goal in human beings is self-actualization

Human desire to progress of the higher goals is a pervading factor that leads to the development of the actions undertaken (Myers, 2004). Therefore, the main motivation of action in the human life is the attainment of the higher goals. Every human being has the need or desire to progress towards the highest rung or tier in the hierarchy. However, the rate of progression towards the same can be hindered by a variety of factors.

The failure of a person to meet the lower needs hinders the development of higher needs. Some life experiences may even lead to the fluctuations of the attainment of the needs. A major life experience affects the rate of progression since it may affect the level of stability and focus that the person has towards the attainment of the goals (Wade & Tavris, 2000). Fluctuation between the hierarchical levels is expected, and it is the main deterrent of the smooth progression towards the attainment of the higher goals. Fluctuations are expected in between the levels. Therefore, the movement or progression to the higher levels cannot be undertaken in a smooth and effective manner.

In the society, very few people attain their dream of self-actualization. The main explanation for this development can be found in the way the society rewards the motivation. The society does not acknowledge the self-actualization drives (Wade & Tavris, 2000). In most of the cases, it rewards the motivation biased on the social needs. This leads to a trend of appreciating the middle-level needs than the higher level needs.

As there is an emergence of the higher needs takes effect, they become dominate in the information of action that the individual undertakes. This means that the higher needs end up replacing, the lower needs, which are focused on the most basic survival. Emergence of higher needs increases the desire to attain them (Myers, 2004). However higher needs only emerge once there is the assurance that the lower needs have been attained to the satisfaction.

The hierarchy of needs has been worked on to include other needs such as the cognitive and aesthetic needs; later there was the inclusion of the transcendence needs (Myers, 2004). Cognitive needs are the needs that emerge in the individual as the main motivation for the pursuit of knowledge. They are instrumental in the driving of research at all levels (Stockdale & Crosby, 2004). Cognitive needs drive the need to search for new sources of information.

Transcendence needs form the highest needs in the revised version of the hierarchy of needs. The needs are present only in the people that have attained self-actualization (Wade & Tavris, 2000). Transcendence needs are the needs to help other attain their needs for actualization. The people that have the needs develop their tendency towards out of the need to have more people in their group. As stated earlier, few people attain self-actualization. Therefore, very few people have attained this level (Myers, 2004). Transcendence needs arise to increase the number of self-actualized people.

However, the development of the hierarchy of needs has received some criticisms. The main critics of the psychological philosophy are centered on the methodology that the research used. The biographical analysis was the main approach used in the assessment of the self-actualized people. The sample size of 18 could not possibly reflect the rest of the humanity. The method of analysis was largely subjective since the opinion of the researcher was the most pervasive aspect (Stockdale & Crosby, 2004). Biasedness of the opinion increased the chances of the findings being invalidated.


Myers, D. (2004). Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.
Stockdale, M., & Crosby, F. (2004). The psychology and management of workplace diversity. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2000). Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.