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Business Administration & Management:

Hierarchy of Wants and Needs February 2018

Abraham Maslow created the above “Hierarchy of Needs” in the 40’s. He theorized human behavior (so of course consumer behavior!) was motivated by the need to fulfill the lower-level, basic needs before the higher-level, more complex needs.

  1. The term Physiological means:

  1. Relating to your brain

  2. Relating to the functioning of your body

  3. Relating to Dr. Kaplan’s Physics class

  4. Relating to Physical Ed??

  1. The term Self-esteem means:

  1. Going into a sauna or steam room

  2. Confidence in yourself

  3. Estimating your bank account

  4. Estimating your needs

  1. The term Self-actualization means:

  1. Actually acting like yourself instead of imitating others

  2. Fulfilling your potential

  3. Joining the next drama show as an actor or actress

  4. Not imagining things any more

  1. State the level of need each of the following is likely to fulfill:

  1. Feeling like you are part of a team

  2. Getting a good night’s sleep

  3. Getting recognized for work well done

  4. Your furnace working properly

  5. Knowing that you are growing as a person, regardless of what others say about you

  1. Now let’s look at some ways you might spend your money. State the level of need each of the following is likely to fulfill:

  1. New Winter Coat

  2. Going to a Family Reunion

  3. Hiring Security Guards

  4. Taking On a New Challenge Like Skydiving

  5. Winning a Competition

While it has been observed that in some cultures, the need for self-esteem and self-actualization are motivating factors even in the absence of safety and/or basic physiological needs, Maslow’s framework has proven useful in the USA and similar cultures.

The framework is not only useful for businesses in understanding consumer behavior but also in understanding employee behavior.

  1. State the level of need for each of the following situations regarding employees and students in our building:

  1. Keeping our building reasonably warm and offering lunch breaks

  2. Wearing Huskie gear

  3. Giving each student the opportunity to pursue their interests

  4. Celebrating the success of our athletic teams and all other student groups

  5. Removing ice from sidewalks and/or hiring security professionals

  1. Imagine a school where the Physiological and/or Safety needs are not being met. Would you be able to pursue the higher-level needs, or would most of your time and effort be spent coping with lower-level needs? Provide an example.

  1. Which needs do you think the following businesses generally address:

    1. Facebook

    2. McDonald’s

    3. Mary Kay Cosmetics

    4. GEICO Insurance

  1. Which do you think are larger markets (i.e., more potential customers), products satisfying lower-level needs or products satisfying higher-level needs?

  1. Do you think consumers that have moved up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, from survival into more emotional needs, are more likely to have more or less disposable income? What does this mean for prices and profit margins of products in the higher levels of Maslow’s pyramid?

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