How does Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory apply in a service organization?

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Maslow's Hierarchy: Applications for the Workplace All humans have needs that must be met. These needs are often never explored by the average person, the person who performs their daily activities and habits with no reflection on why they do these things. The psychologist Abraham Maslow was determined to figure out why people behave in certain ways. The result of his search was a five part hierarchy of needs that attempts to explain human behavior. The Hierarchy Defined Basic Needs
The five parts of the hierarchy are, in this order, basic, safety, social, self esteem, and self-actualization. Basic needs are defined as physiological needs that must be met before a person can focus on any other aspect of their life, such as a social life. These needs are those required for sustenance: water, air, and food are several examples. If an individual is lacking one of these, their behavior will be aimed at obtaining them, whatever the cost. Once the need is met, the need will cease to motivate the individual. For the majority of Americans, we can see how this need is taken for granted. The majority of people have these needs met, and simply do not think about them constantly. Within the organizational framework, there are several examples of basic needs: rest periods, work breaks, lunch breaks, and wages. Safety Needs
A point that Maslow stresses is that a person cannot move to the next level of the hierarchy until the present level is fully achieved. The next level of the hierarchy is safety needs, which do not become motivating goals until the basic physiological needs are met. Examples in the workplace of safety needs are job security, seniority, pensions, hospitalization, and life insurance. Defined, safety needs are the need for security, protection, and stability in the physical and interpersonal events of day-to-day life. A person must be granted a freedom from fear; only then can they continue to excel. If an employee is working under the constant watch of a critical boss who threatens termination for inadequate performance, the employee will be unable to focus on the task at hand. The intangible pressures will affect the quality of the employee's work, leaving both the employee and the employer unhappy. Social Needs
Once the safety needs of an individual have been met, he or she can move onto the next level of social needs. This is defined as the need for love, affection, and a sense of belongingness in one's relationships with other persons. Examples of these needs are work groups, teamwork, and company softball outings. Humans are inherently social and friendly creatures, and to deprive this need for affection will prohibit the individual from obtaining a higher plateau on Maslow's hierarchy. Friendships are beneficial to humans at home and in the workplace, but some employers do not realize the importance of this association. We are all aware that humans form meaningful relationships outside of the workplace, but the value of establishing enjoyable relations within the workplace is often underestimated. Research has shown that promoting social interaction among employees will "increase morale and productivity." Self Esteem Needs
After the needs of safety have been recognized and achieved; a person can pursue the needs of self esteem. This plateau is defined as the need for the esteem of others; respect, prestige, recognition, need for self-esteem, personal sense of competence and mastery in my opinion, humans are egocentric, and everyone likes to be praised. This is part of this need fulfillment. A worker appreciates recognition for a job well done. This recognition will motivate them to continue working hard for the company. If the praise is lacking, the worker will begin to understand that doing quality work in unnecessary, asking "What does it matter? No one will notice anyway." The praise does not have to be a stop-the-presses party for the worker, but merely a few words of gratitude in the presence of their peers. Self-Actualization Needs
The last level of Maslow's hierarchy, the pinnacle of achievement, is the plateau of self-actualization. This presents a lofty goal for an individual: the need to fulfill oneself; to grow and use one's abilities to the fullest and most creative extent. The goal of self-actualization is hard to define. The concept offers a variety of interpretations, because it differs based on each person. One individual may feel that their maximum potential is to be the manager of a local clothing store, after steadily climbing the ladder after high school graduation. For this person, this achievement will supply all the happiness he or she needs, and the person will be fulfilled. Another person may feel that a position of local manager is below their potential, so getting the title would not be adequate for happiness. One of my sources says that "such potential, when achieved by all employees, allows the organization to achieve heights beyond expectations." My contention is that this is an impossible dream. The majority of people are far too under motivated to achieve at the peak of their potentials; but we shall explore this later. Later Additions to the Hierarchy
Later in his career, Abraham Maslow continued his thought on the hierarchy and further divided the fifth level of self-actualization into four different parts. He assumed four things of self actualized people: they are 1) being problem focused, 2) incorporating an ongoing freshness of appreciation of life, 3) concerned about personal growth, and 4) able to have peak experiences. Based on these assumptions, he created four more levels. Instead of the fifth level being simply self-actualization, he named it cognitive: to know, to understand, and to explore. The sixth level is the aesthetic: the pursuit of symmetry, order, and beauty. The seventh level is self-actualization: to find self fulfillment and realize one's potential. The eighth and final level is transcendence: to help others find self fulfillment and realize their own potential
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