CHAPTER 5

What Maslow Got Wrong About Our Psychological Needs

by Susan Fowler

At some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously—or, more likely, unwittingly—based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s idea that people are motivated by satisfying lower-level needs such as food, water, shelter, and security, before they can move on to being motivated by higher-level needs such as self-actualization, is the most well-known motivation theory in the world. There is nothing wrong with helping people satisfy what Maslow characterized as lower-level needs. Improvements in workplace conditions and safety should be applauded as the right thing to do. Seeing that people have enough food and ...

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