Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943 and further refined in 1954, is a well-known psychological theory that has remained popular in sociology, management training, and psychology. The theory consists of five main levels of human needs, with the belief that one must satisfy lower-level needs before pursuing higher ones.

  1. Physiological Needs: The foundational level includes basic survival needs like shelter, water, food, warmth, rest, and health. Motivation at this level is driven by the instinct to survive.
  2. Safety Needs: This level involves the need for physical and economic security. People seek protection from dangers, violence, and health threats. Economic safety, job security, and financial stability are part of this level.
  3. Love and Belonging Needs: The third level focuses on social and emotional needs, including friendship, intimacy, family, and love. It emphasizes the human desire for connection and a sense of belonging.
  4. Esteem Needs: Esteem needs come in two categories: the need for respect from others (fame, recognition) and the need for self-respect (confidence, competence). People strive to gain recognition, status, and respect.
  5. Self-Actualization Needs: The highest level is about realizing one’s full potential. It involves personal growth, skill development, education, and the pursuit of life dreams. Individuals seek to become the best version of themselves.

Modern perspectives suggest that these levels overlap, and as individuals progress, their focus shifts toward higher-level needs while still addressing lower-level ones to some extent.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has had a lasting impact on understanding human motivation and behavior, influencing fields such as psychology, management, and sociology.