Hierarchy Of Needs Essay

The hierarchy of needs and the hygiene theory are alike but are also different.

I shall go through each one of these theories and inform the reader of these
differences and similarities. Each one in its own right is correct but now that
we near the millenium, we should rethink or atleast re-read these theories and
see if they are, in fact, still alive today. Abraham Maslow is known for
establishing the theory of a hierarchy of needs, writing that human beings are
motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be
satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. Maslow studied exemplary people
such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglas
rather than mentally ill or neurotic people. This was a radical departure from
two of the chief schools of psychology of his day: Freud and B.F. Skinner. Freud
saw little difference between the motivations of humans and animals. We are
supposedly rational beings; however, we do not act that way. Such pessimism,
Maslow believed, was the result of Freud’s study of mentally ill people.

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“The study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can
yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy” (Motivation and
Personality). Skinner, on the other hand, studied how pigeons and white rats
learn. His motivational models were based on simple rewards such as food and
water, sex, and avoidance of pain. Say “sit” to your dog and give the
dog a treat when it sits, and-after several repetitions–the dog will sit when
you command it to do so. Maslow thought that psychologists should instead study
the playfulness, affection, etc., of animals. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was an
alternative to the depressing determinism of Freud and Skinner. He felt that
people are basically trustworthy, self-protecting, and self-governing. Humans
tend toward growth and love. Although there is a continuous cycle of human wars,
murder, deceit, etc., he believed that violence is not what human nature is
meant to be like. Violence and other evils occur when human needs are thwarted.

In other words, people who are deprived of lower needs such as safety may defend
themselves by violent means. He did not believe that humans are violent because
they enjoy violence. Or that they lie, cheat, and steal because they enjoy doing
it. According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological,
safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act
unselfishly. He called these needs “deficiency needs.” As long as we
are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward
self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy; locking gratification makes us
sick or evil. In other words, we are all “needs junkies” with cravings
that must be satisfied and should be satisfied. Else, we become sick. Needs are
proponent. A proponent need is one that has the greatest influence over our
actions. Everyone has a proponent need, but that need will vary among
individuals. A teenager may have a need to feel that a group accepts him. A
heroin addict will need to satisfy his/her cravings for heroin to function
normally in society, and will not worry about acceptance by other people.

According to Maslow, when the deficiency needs are met: At once other (and
higher) needs emerge, and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the
organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still higher)
needs emerge, and so on. As one desire is satisfied, another pops up to take its
place. Physiological needs are the very basic needs such as air, water, food,
sleep, sex, etc. When these are not satisfied we may feel sickness, irritation,
pain, discomfort, etc. These feelings motivate us to alleviate them as soon as
possible to establish homeostasis. Once they are alleviated, we may think about
other things. Safety needs have to do with establishing stability and
consistency in a chaotic world. These needs are mostly psychological in nature.

We need the security of a home and family. However, if a family is dysfunction,
i.e., an abusive husband, the wife cannot move to the next level because she is
constantly concerned for her safety. Love and belongingness have to wait until
she is no longer cringing in fear. Many in our society cry out for law and order
because they do not feel safe enough to go for a walk in their neighborhood.

Many people, particularly those in the inner cities, unfortunately, are stuck at
this level. In addition, safety needs sometimes motivate people to be religious.

Religions comfort us with the promise of a safe secure place after we die and
leave the insecurity of this world. Love and belongingness are next on the
ladder. Humans have a desire to belong to groups: clubs, work groups, religious
groups, family, gangs, etc. We need to feel loved (non-sexual) by others, to be
accepted by others. Performers appreciate applause. We need to be needed. Beer
commercials, in addition to playing on sex, also often show how beer makes for
camaraderie. When was the last time you saw a beer commercial with someone
drinking beer alone? There are two types of esteem needs. First is self-esteem,
which results from competence or mastery of a task. Second, there’s the
attention and recognition that comes from others. This is similar to the
belongingness level; however, wanting admiration has to do with the need for
power. People who have all of their lower needs satisfied, often drive very
expensive cars because doing so raises their level of esteem. “Hey, look
what I can afford!” The need for self-actualization is “the desire to
become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of
becoming.” People who have everything can maximize their potential. They
can seek knowledge, peace, esthetic experiences, self-fulfillment, and oneness
with God, etc. It is usually middle-class to upper-class students who take up
environmental causes, join the Peace Corps, go off to a monastery, etc. On the
other hand, Herzberg`s hygiene theory is not as complicated as Maslow.

Herzberg’s methods still yield useful results. His use of event descriptions
encouraged honest replies, and his insistence on events of extreme feelings
ensured that the important factors were mentioned. Respondents did not offer any
new event factors that were not in Herzberg’s study 30 years ago. Some old
factors, however, were noticeably absent. Salary and working conditions were not
mentioned as a satisfier or as a dissatisfier, suggesting that they are not
important as motivators or demotivators. Advancement as a satisfier did not
appear as well. However, these indications could easily be due to either a small
sample or single-company bias. The event factors still split into satisfiers and
dissatisfiers, confirming the duality of the Dual Factor Theory. Achievement was
still the top motivator, and company policy the largest demotivator. Recognition
and responsibility functioned as a satisfier only half as much as in Herzberg’s
study. The relationship between factors, attitudes, and effects still held. What
was interesting was the impact on performance. When events caused positive
attitudes, performance increased in most cases. When events caused negative
attitudes, performance decreased in most cases. Although confidentiality could
be maintained in this study, using a survey made a poor response rate more
likely. To mitigate this effect, future studies should consider corporate
endorsement of the study, a system to trace responses, or a switch to an
interview of a limited number of employees. The duration of events was used to
eliminate events that never ended. These represented a state of mind more than
an event and were not applicable to the analysis. The duration of feelings was
to identify those events that were more important as a result of their lasting
impact. In general, observed differences from the 1950s data can be explained by
sample bias, and the points of agreement support the contention that Herzberg’s
motivational theory is alive and well in the 1990s. Herzberg thought it more
likely that the truth would emerge when an individual could describe an actual
event, especially a memorable one. To answer the second part of the question,
Herzberg`s theory didn`t say anything about salaries to motivate performance. I
found that in Maslow`s theory, salary would probably be an esteem need. If
someone has a higher salary then a fellow worker, they might see the car they
drive or house they live in. The lower salary worker would see this and, in
turn, be motivated if a raise was promised. So, then he could compete with his
fellow worker.


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