What hierarchy of needs model is most valid?
Abraham Maslow created the original five level Hierarchy of Needs model, and for many this remains entirely adequate for its purpose. The seven and eight level 'hierarchy of needs' models are later adaptations by others, based on Maslow's work. Arguably, the original five-level model includes the later additional sixth, seventh and eighth ('Cognitive', 'Aesthetic', and 'Transcendence') levels within the original 'Self-Actualization' level 5, since each one of the 'new' motivators concerns an area of self-development and self-fulfilment that is rooted in self-actualization 'growth', and is distinctly different to any of the previous 1-4 level 'deficiency' motivators. For many people, self-actualizing commonly involves each and every one of the newly added drivers. As such, the original five-level Hierarchy of Needs model remains a definitive classical representation of human motivation; and the later adaptations perhaps serve best to illustrate aspects of self-actualization.
Maslow said that needs must be satisfied in the given order. Aims and drive always shift to next higher order needs. Levels 1 to 4 are deficiency motivators; level 5, and by implication 6 to 8, are growth motivators and relatively rarely found. The thwarting of needs is usually a cause of stress, and is particularly so at level 4.
Examples in use:
You can't motivate someone to achieve their sales target (level 4) when they're having problems with their marriage (level 3).
You can't expect someone to work as a team member (level 3) when they're having their house re-possessed (level 2).
Maslow's self-actualizing characteristics
- keen sense of reality - aware of real situations - objective judgement, rather than subjective
- see problems in terms of challenges and situations requiring solutions, rather than see problems as personal complaints or excuses
- need for privacy and comfortable being alone
- reliant on own experiences and judgement - independent - not reliant on culture and environment to form opinions and views
- not susceptible to social pressures - non-conformist
- democratic, fair and non-discriminating - embracing and enjoying all cultures, races and individual styles
- socially compassionate - possessing humanity
- accepting others as they are and not trying to change people
- comfortable with oneself - despite any unconventional tendencies
- a few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships
- sense of humour directed at oneself or the human condition, rather than at the expense of others
- spontaneous and natural - true to oneself, rather than being how others want
- excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things
- creative, inventive and original
- seek peak experiences that leave a lasting impression