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The American psychologist Abraham Maslow, in his book “A Theory of Human Motivation” (1943), developed his analysis of a tiered organisation according to our interests; a theory that became popular as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The psychologist argued that our actions are geared towards meeting our needs in order of priority.
At the base of the pyramid are needs related to physical survival, such as food, shelter… Secondly, he mentioned those relating to personal security, such as stable work, health insurance, etc. Then he referred to needs of affiliation, which are related to the emotional and the social spheres, seeking personal integration in society, to feel part of the group. Recognition: friendship, family, or partner are also important elements for feeling socially accepted. Finally, personal self-actualisation is at the top of the pyramid.
Almost eight decades on from the publication of the book that gave rise to Maslow’s Theory, the social circumstances and the resources available to us have varied substantially, but human needs remain unchanged. We may have a stronger influence over some of them, but they remain basically stable.
Maslow’s Theory applied to the professional world comes into effect when the lower order needs (physiological, security) are met. From there, the people within an organisation will guide their decisions to find a solid professional development pathway that protects their interests. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK ARE NECESSARY AND EFFECTIVE. Companies must promote a good working environment that will result in cooperation between teams, which in turn improves performance and creates a pleasant environment. Communication is important when it comes to managing business plans; employees need to be taken into account to promote a sense of belonging.
At the last level to be achieved, self-actualisation, you will want to thrive on a personal level, and to do that you will need to become an expert in what you do. You may need a job that demands more or a less supervised environment to DEVELOP YOUR CREATIVITY AND MANAGE PROBLEMS YOUR WAY, and a company will need to provide you with the right resources, freeing up your potential.
Nearly eight decades after the publication of Maslow’s book, experts say that the psychologist failed to take into account evidence that gender, age, and level of knowledge can vary the order of priorities. Specifically:
1.- Women seek a better environment and more flexible organisations, while men require more training and economic stability.
2.- University students consider it a priority to know the content and specific functions of the job, while those with a lower level of education greatly value job security.
3.- Young people prefer good training and the possibilities of an international career, while those over the age of 45 value job security more. Establishing a clear system of needs will help individuals to get better organised and achieve objectives more directly and satisfactorily.
If motivation is the impulse that drives people to perform certain actions and persevere until they are achieved, after the first stages of Maslow’s hierarchy are complete, proper professional development will enhance an employee’s knowledge and confidence, and recognition of merit will help satisfy their self-esteem and self-actualisation. And undoubtedly having satisfied employees is one of the keys to business success, through retention of talent, creating a good working environment, greater involvement, and increased productivity.
In conclusion, and in short: a job well done, which will require sustained training/knowledge, properly oriented through the analysis of market developments, will guarantee positive results. This should be accompanied by the company’s support for the development of creativity and a good working environment, and it will also be the role of the company to promote this.
President of VASCO