Is It Time to Rethink Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Susan Fowler has done the research on motivation, and David Witt posted a blog about her findings. It’s well worth reading, so I’ve reposted it here for you. The blog originally appeared in Blanchard LeaderChat. Enjoy and learn!

Blanchard LeaderChat

Hierarchy Of NeedsMost human resource and organizational development professionals are familiar with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  In his 1954 book, Motivation and Personality, Maslow’s proposed 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.

In a new article for Harvard Business Review Online, What Maslow’s Hierarchy Won’t Tell You About Motivation, Blanchard author Susan Fowler suggests that despite the popularity of Maslow’s model it might be time to take a second look at the idea of a needs hierarchy.

In conducting research for her new book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … And What Does, Fowler found that instead of a hierarchy, contemporary science points to three universal psychological needs common to all people at all times:  autonomy, relatedness, and competence.  This research would suggest that leaders need…

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About Pat Kelley, MS, SPHR

Pat Kelley, MS, SPHR, is the author of three non-fiction books, including the Second Edition of Hiring Right: A Business Blueprint for Lower Turnover and Higher Profits. She is a retired Human Resources Director with more than 40 years' experience. Certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, she is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management.
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