Abraham Maslow

He was an American Psychologist and created the ‘hierarchy of human needs.’

This is often portrayed in a pyramid with the largest and lowest levels of need at the bottom and the need for self actualisation at the top, as follows:


Psychological needs:

These are literary the requirements for human survival and if these are not met, the body can not function.

Safety Needs:

In the world of work, these needs relate to job security.

Safety and Security needs include:

    • Personal security

    • Financial security

    • Health and well being

    • Safety net against accidents / illness

Social Needs:

This involves the feelings of belongingness, such as:

    • Friendship

    • Intimacy

    • Family

He described that humans need to feel ‘belongingness’ otherwise they would suffer from loneliness, social anxiety and depression.


This is known as the belonging need and presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. Imbalances at this level can lead to low self esteem or inferiority complex.

Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The higher one is the need for self-respect, the need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence and freedom. The latter one ranks higher because it rests more on inner competence won through experience. Deprivation of these needs can lead to an inferiority complex, weakness and helplessness.

Self – Actualization:

‘What a man can be – he must be’

This level relates to what a person’s full potential is and realising that potential. Maslow suggested that in order to reach this level of the other levels must be achieved and mastered first.

Below is a list of Maslow’s descriptions of a self actualized person’s needs and personality traits:

  1. Acceptance...