Abraham Maslow Human Motivation Theory Essay

A Theory of Human Motivation- Summary


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A theory of human motivation by Abraham Maslow is a depiction of the concepts that he claims are the driving factors that make a person productive and desire achievement. This theory conforms to all the present facts of what motivates a person, whether internally or externally. The theory combines functionalism and holism, making it a dynamic theory that covers a compound understanding of what motivates a human being. According to Maslow (2019), there is a sequence to what motivates a human, and he has classified them into the hierarchy of needs. The hierarchy of needs, satisfies the immediate concern depending on the stage they are in at the particular time. These basic needs serve as motivators by creating the desire to achieve crucial things for a person in society.

Key arguments

Psychological needs

Psychological needs are the first motivating factor for a person to work. These needs are the basic needs of a person, such as food, water, and shelter, and they are a strong driving force in society because they facilitate the means for survival (Maslow, 2019). In this instance, the person does not choose but to work if they intend to sustain their livelihood. The basic needs are a sense of freedom, and if one lacks them, they are likely to become dependent on someone else.

Security needs

The need for security motivates people to work so they can be able to afford its assurance. This motivation actualizes due to social norms that indicate that people living in a ghetto have very little safety afforded to them by the government due to the population in the areas. Therefore, a person is motivated to work harder to afford a better place to live in a safe neighborhood. Keeping a person’s job can also motivate them to work because job security guarantees the motivating needs’ satisfaction (Maslow, 2019). At this stage, the only concern for a person since they have already satisfied their first need.

Esteem needs

The next human motivation is the need for esteem. People need to be recognized for their work, so they desire status in the work environment. their self-image is how they perceive themselves concerning their environment. Depending on a person’s preference, they can achieve the feeling of importance. Everyone in society has a longing for a stable view of themselves, which is achieved by having job security and accomplishing their basic needs. They need to feel highly of themselves depending on their ability to produce results in a compound understanding of life. In today’s world, this can be accomplished by the level of strength a person possesses regarding their influence the adequacy of their resources aimed at supplementing their livelihood. Confidence is what portrays the actual self-esteem because their degree is directly proportional.

Belonging needs

A person needs to feel as if they belong to the society or group of their desire. If a person has satisfied their basic and security needs, they need to be accepted into society. This can push them to sabotage their progress by compromising their ethical values, leading to losing their job. This need is essential if a person is to reach self-actualization, and it can present a dilemma, depending on what they are willing to sacrifice to be loved.


Self-actualization is the final need in the hierarchy that motivates one to work. According to Maslow, when a person achieves self-actualization, their motivation does not decline, but rather it increases, and they yearn for more actualization. The hierarchy of needs does not end when a person reaches the stage of self-actualization, which is why the criminal justice system is constantly improving over time to facilitate better safety for the nation (Maslow, 2019). This stage will vary drastically from person to person since some will experience regression in the system. For a person to attain self-actualization, they have to satisfy the previous needs in a sequence. Any situation that prevents self-actualization is a threat to all other basic needs because it can make a person demotivated, instigating a sequence of retrogressions.

Article related to the criminal justice system

If a police officer has been able to satisfy the first three needs, they are faced with the need for belonging, which presents a unique challenge for them. This is because this challenge can require them to compromise on their principle to be considered part of the team. For instance, suppose the officer witnesses their colleague’s misconduct. The need for belonging will dictate they remain silent and protect their colleague from remaining in their favor, meaning that the need will be fulfilled. Simultaneously, it compromises the security needs where the association with the misconduct can jeopardize their job security. This dilemma presents its self because the reading suggests that both needs are crucial human motivating factors. However, suppose an element threatens one of the satisfied needs. In that case, it needs to be avoided even if it satisfies the prevailing need to prevent regression to the previous stage, which can be demotivating to a person. However, the officer must meet the demand for belonging so that they can begin seeking self-actualization, which can be in the form of a promotion in the force.


Maslow, A. H. (2019). A theory of human motivation. General Press.