Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology proposed by American Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in the journal Psychological Review.

The general baseline of the hierarchy was that there were a total of 5 different kind of needs, in which they were placed to resemble a pyramid and ranked them in order of importance.


By Androidmarsexpress – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Commons:Quality images – Wikimedia

From the image above you can see that the 5 needs are Physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem and self-actualisation, with it categorised into 3 separate sections: basic, psychological and self-fulfilment.

The Needs Themselves:

  1. Physiological – This is the most basic needs for humans, and this includes necessities like food, water, shelter , air, rest, clothes etc. These requirements must be met in order for the human to remain in homeostasis.
  2. Safety – Once the physiological needs are met, safety is next. These safety needs cover both physical and emotional. Such instances include job security, financial security, protection from animals, family security, health security, and many others.
  3. Social – This category means the need for love, affection, care, belongingness and friendships.
  4. Esteem – The esteem need defines needs such as self-esteem, accomplishments and respect. This category is basically how we feel good about ourselves and the desire to gain respect and attention from the people around us.
  5. Self-actualization – The final need describes the person’s ability and want to seek personal growth and development of oneself. It is the highest rank on the pyramid as this level is seen as the person’s ability to do what he wants to accomplish and be the most he can be.

How is this applicable in the workplace? 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is frequently used in the workplace to figure out how to better encourage people and to ensure that their demands are addressed. One can assess whether his requirements are being satisfied at work and how he may better serve the needs of his team by comprehending this psychological idea. This would also impact how one leads his team. 


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ranks the human wants that must be met in order for a person to reach full development and self-actualization. The hierarchy is shown as a pyramid, with the most basic requirements at the bottom that must be met before an individual may move on to secondary demands and eventually reach the highest point.

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