I was first introduced to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs on a business course around 22 years ago (I’m getting old). It didn’t mean much to me back then. I knew of its existence since that point but it didn’t really hit home until I was reintroduced to the concept while studying towards my MBA.
In short, the ‘model’ shows five levels starting at the bottom with the physiological needs, then moving up multiple stages/levels up to self-actualization. The concept is that like a pyramid you must build and be secure at the lower levels before you can move up to the next one.
One example is – you can’t focus or attain a sense of connection with family and friends if you are not able to breathe. Makes sense right?
So why is this relevant to the MBA? Or to Business? Or leadership? – the simple answer is that it is a model which can describe what motivates people. Lori Goler, et al talk about the higher levels stating that people want Career, Community, and Cause above all things (at work) [link]. However, look at what’s happened in Big Tech recently – 11,000 redundancies at Meta, 3.5k at Twitter, plus many more – are people really focused on Career, Community, and Cause (which are higher levels of the pyramid)? Or are they focused on things like – will I be able to pay my rent/mortgage? What will happen to my healthcare coverage?
And while the answers might be obvious for those who have been made redundant, it could still be of concern to those who remained – are they worried about their basic needs being at risk?
Just one example of how understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how things influence people.
There’s a more detailed writeup here by Simply Psychology