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Maslows Theory Applied in the Workplace

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Abraham Maslow is considered to be the most popular motivation theorist. According to Maslow, human behaviors are influenced by internal and external factors contrary to other theorists who believe behavior is controlled by either internal or external factors. Maslow's theory of needs is displayed by a pyramid. The most basic needs begin at the bottom and move up the pyramid in order of complexity. (Borkowski, 2005). The first level of needs is physiological, and includes air, food, water, and sleep. Managers can meet that need by providing staff with fair and reasonable work schedules that promote time for adequate sleep, and adequate salaries for purchase of food and water. The second need is safety-security. Safety in the workplace can be managed by offering employees work benefits and affordable health insurance. Satisfaction of the third need, love and belonging, can be accomplished by fostering amicable interactions between staff. In the fourth need self-esteem, individuals yearn for appreciation and recognition. In the workplace managers can satisfy that need by rewarding employees for good work. Thank you notes and employee of the month rewards, help satisfy that need. Self- actualization is the fifth in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Managers can satisfy that need by offering staff certification courses and encouraging return to school for a higher level of education.

Each need can be arrested in the workplace. Physiological needs can be violated when work schedules are hectic and when salaries are low. Yearly raises and reasonable schedules by managers assist in meeting this need. Safety is arrested when violence in the workplace is not eliminated. Examples of violence in the workplace include bullying and sexual harassment. Actions to eliminate these actions should include discipline of the perpetrators of violence. Love and belonging can be arrested in the work place when mature employees are unkind to new employees. This results in the new comers feeling isolated and rejected. Monthly staff meetings/lunches, and staff Christmas parties help develop positive interaction. Poor self- esteem develops when employees are criticized for errors in the workplace but not rewarded for excellent performance. Therefore, positive feedback and support from managers is important. Favoritism in the workplace affects self-actualization. Mangers should therefore offer employees equal opportunity for personal growth.


Borkowski, N. (2005). Content Theories of motivation: Organizational behavior in health care.

Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.



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