Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid – 1943
Maslow’s Pyramid – Continued (3 of 3)
It may be evident by now that, beyond Level 2, organizational culture plays a vital role in an organization’s position in the Hierarchy of Organizational Needs (HON) model. It may also be evident that your organization’s level is partially one of choice. HP, for example, throughout its early history (prior to 1999) chose to operate at level 5. That was the choice of the founders, Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett, and the hallmark of HP’s culture, known as theHP Way. Much of the focus in this blog will be on leadership of companies that find themselves today at Level 2.
Maslow’s theory of motivation (seen in the illustration above) is that as humans we will naturally attempt to satisfy the more basic needs (physiological) before directing behavior and energy toward satisfying upper-level needs. Having satisfied the need at a given level, that need ceases to motivate us and we move up the pyramid.
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As individuals, we almost never stay at a given level throughout our lives. Most of us have resided at different levels, depending on what was happening to and around us at any given point.
If you have ever experienced not knowing where your next meal is coming from, you have experienced being at Level 1.
People in our communities today who are losing their homes are experiencing being at Level 2. When we lose a job, it may initially feel like we are again motivated by Level 3 needs, but it can quickly wash us down to Level 2 and even Level 1 if we can’t pay the mortgage.
Much of the premise of Maslow’s theory holds true for the Hierarchy of Organizational Needs as well.
When an organization is fighting to keep the lights on and make the next payroll, its leaders are not thinking about recruiting top-notch talent or setting the stage for the next big innovation. However, once Stability (Level 2) has been attained, and equilibrium seems attainable, the choices and options become much broader and more interesting and leaders have the opportunity to take a longer term view of their circumstances and the future.
How is your organization doing with navigating the current economic pressures? What level is your organization in? Where are you in the mix?
Posted on February 27, 2009 by Contributing Author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D.
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- Reworking Maslow’s Pyramid (ideas.blogs.nytimes.com)
- John Tropea: Who Influences Decision-Making in your Organization? (orgnet.com)
- Is the Anti-Maslow Movement Gaining Strength? (i2i-align.com)