Economics/Business

How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business/Pyramid Structure

The Maslow pyramid is worldwide known and heavily used, especially in psychology. This is a very famous theory in this area, but their teachings can be implemented in various contexts, including , in the business . How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business?

The pyramid concept leads to a very fruitful reflection when it comes to human needs and, of course, many of them are directly related to our work. After all, feeling professionally fulfilled is something that cannot be ignored.

So, follow this reading and learn how Maslow’s methodology can be extremely useful in the organizational environment.

What is the Pyramid of Maslow? 

Maslow’s Pyramid, also called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is a theory that orders human needs and classifies them according to the level of importance of each one of them . Also, created by Abraham Maslow, the methodology identifies which aspects of an individual’s life are essential to achieve satisfaction or full happiness . 

According to theory, people are motivated by the desire to satisfy each topic and only feel a desire to move to the next level of achievement when the needs of the previous level are met . In this sense, an individual who does not have his basic needs remedied will not even be able to worry about the more complex ones. Thus, they are carried out gradually, one after another.

About Abraham Maslow 

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), creator of the hierarchy of needs, was an American psychologist . He completed his studies in law, but because he felt dissatisfied in the field, he moved to psychology and was a major contributor in this field. How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business?

As such, Maslow is considered the father of Humanistic Psychology —a branch of psychology in general and psychotherapy, considered the third force, alongside psychoanalysis and behavioral psychology. 

During his studies, he discovered that there was a series of “shortcomings” inherent to human beings that could be ranked according to their degree of relevance, which he organized through a pyramid – starting from the bottom and going to the top . 

Maslow’s Pyramid Structure 

As already mentioned, the Pyramid of Maslow is hierarchically divided. Each partition contains from basic, psychological needs to the most complex of personal fulfillment .

The basic needs are the essential ones, which all human beings need for their survival. Are they:

  • Physiological: breathing, sleep, digestion, satisfying the need to eat and drink, in addition to reproduction;
  • Security: maintaining the security of one’s body, employment, having a home, security of resources and for the family. 

After the basic needs, there is the level of psychological needs , which are those that act in the psychic field and concern our mental and behavioral processes:

  • Social: friendship, family relationships, love relationships, social groups (school, work, religious, sports groups, cultural groups, etc.);
  • Esteem: self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for other people and respect for other people.

Finally, considered the most complex needs of an individual, are the needs for personal fulfillment :

  • Need for self-fulfillment: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, absence of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

beyond the Pyramid

After creating and ordering these topics, Maslow also identified three other needs inherent to human beings that are worth pointing out. In pyramidal composition, they would be above self-fulfillment needs. Follow up!

learning need

Every human being has in him the will to learn, understand and know about the world in which he lives. 

need for aesthetic satisfaction

It is the yearning for beauty, symmetry, and even the perfection of your appearance.

need for transcendence

This is a lack that is related to the individual’s spirituality, such as their faith, connection to nature, acceptance of mortality, etc. How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business?

In view of this exhibition, we understand that Maslow’s Pyramid describes the aspects of a human being’s life, which we seek to achieve satisfaction. In fact, the great purpose is to obtain happiness and full contentment . 

However, here, we are not analyzing the possibilities of achieving this life goal, but rather pointing out this desire to satisfy these needs and the constant search for this well-being.

What are the applications of the Pyramid of Maslow? 

Now that we understand the concept of the Maslow Pyramid, we can analyze it more properly and see in which contexts we can apply it within an organization.

motivational

Maslow’s theory in the field of motivation is easily applied, since its main function is to expose the reasons why we want to move forward. Although the author of this theory claims that we only think about the later levels after we have completed the previous ones, in practice it is entirely possible to consider topics from different levels to motivate us to be more engaged at work , for example. 

Some of the things that can be a spur to maintaining commitment to our corporate activities are: ensuring the safety of the family, having a home, self-satisfaction, morality, being liked by others. These are needs of different categories, but they can be considered when it comes to a motivational goal.

Professional 

In addition to being motivational, this methodology can be useful in other professional aspects and applied to each individual. In that case, it can be used as a self-knowledge tool . Through its steps and definitions of needs, it is possible to identify which of them are the main catalysts . How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business?

Also, what are the reasons you work, what makes you want to grow and evolve, etc. This is an extremely important exercise, which can bring surprising answers. Self-knowledge has the power, in addition to motivating, to help you make necessary decisions about where you are and where you want to go.

Business

For the company, Maslow’s thesis is a very rich technique to understand the motivations of its employees and also its customers. Therefore, it is appropriate to know both the “internal customers” and the “external customers” of an organization. It can even be used as a basis for organizational climate surveys or satisfaction questionnaires.

Not only for the company in general, but especially for HR professionals who, as people managers, need to carry out activities aimed at the company’s employees, so that they have a better quality of life at work . 

Among many others, this is a methodology that can be used in various administrative processes under the responsibility of HR leaders and managers. Check out some examples now.

Basic needs

The organizational environment must be a place that promotes not only physical and material working conditions, but also provides a psychologically favorable environment. Therefore, it is important to provide time for lunch, snacks, rest and even adequate toilets , as these are basic needs , which the company has an obligation to provide. 

There are also security , housing and security needs for the family, which are part of the basic level and are directly related to salary, corporate benefits, job stability, safety from accidents, etc.

psychological needs

Moving on to the psychological level, HR must be aware of issues such as organizational climate and conflict mediation, since, at work, there is the possibility of bonds of friendship, good relationships, common interest groups and, in some cases, even loving relationships. Thus, it is important to provide the practice or culture of welcoming people into teams. How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business?

Still, at this level of the pyramid, there are also feelings of respect for colleagues and recognition for the work done . For this reason, another mission for HR is that of valuing the employee in the form of bonuses, awards and even salary increases. In fact, this is a good motivation to develop career plans , which aim precisely to create ways for professionals to grow and be rewarded for their efforts. 

Personal Achievement Needs

Considering the needs for self-fulfillment, the people manager can contribute to the employee’s autonomy, the possibility of him or her participating in decision-making or having influence on a relevant issue in the company . 

Of course, this will not always be possible. But, certainly, at some point, within your own team, an opportunity can be provided for the employee to actively participate in a process, take charge of a project, etc. This decision can be made by either HR or the direct leader of that employee.

Level of learning needs, aesthetic satisfaction and transcendence

These last needs, which were added after the pyramid was ready, are very much related to personal satisfaction, in a very particular way. But they can also be inserted into the organizational context, as they are part of the individual’s life.

Thus, a company that makes employees comfortable in relation to their beliefs, the way they dress and, above all, that provides learning opportunities, will undoubtedly bring greater pleasure to the employee in their professional life . How does Maslow hierarchy of needs apply to business?

Finally, all these aspects of the Maslow Pyramid can and should be considered by companies, as they will also influence people’s acceptance, sense of belonging and freedom of expression, regardless of their position . 

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