Understanding the Maslow’s Pyramid

Understanding the Maslow’s Pyramid


1. General description

As early as 1943, Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, developed his theory which suggests that as individuals we are motivated to satisfy 5 basic needs.

According to him, these needs are hierarchical, and we would tend to prioritise the first need (e.g. physiological) before moving on to the next (e.g. security).

Maslow's theory is often represented by a pyramid, which for a long time conveyed the idea that a need must be 100% satisfied before the next need emerges. This is not the case!


For Maslow, each need can appear progressively and gradually in the passage from one level to the next. Maslow said: "the average citizen was 85% satisfied in his physiological needs, 70% in his security needs, 50% in his love needs, 40% in his esteem needs, and 10% in his achievement needs.”

On the other hand, recent studies show that an individual may, depending on his or her character, be more sensitive to a particular need, regardless of whether or not lower needs are met.

Important note:

Maslow's theory must be approached with caution in the light of new discoveries in the field of psychology. It cannot be a universal approach applicable to everyone without distinction, and it should be noted that each individual may have his or her own preferences in terms of the hierarchy of needs.

It is also important to note that this pyramid illustration does not come from Maslow himself. It is also important to note that this pyramid illustration does not originate from Maslow himself, but was created by others to simplify the theory at a much later stage.)

2. Maslow's theory in a business context

If we bring this hierarchy of needs back to the professional world, we can detail the 5 needs as follows: