Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

A framework for human motivation.

What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of psychology explaining human motivation based on the pursuit of different levels of needs. The theory states that humans are motivated to fulfill their needs in a hierarchical order. This order begins with the most basic needs before moving on to more advanced needs. The ultimate goal, according to this theory, is to reach the fifth level of the hierarchy: self-actualization.

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was first introduced in Abraham Maslow’s 1943 paper, “ A Theory of Human Motivation .” Maslow later refined this theory in 1954 with his book “ Motivation and Personality .” Since then, this theory has remained a popular subject in sociology, management training , and psychology classes.

Levels of Hierarchy

There are five main levels to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These levels begin from the most basic needs to the most advanced needs. Maslow originally believed that a person needed to completely satisfy one level to begin pursuing further levels.

A more modern perspective is that these levels overlap. As a person reaches higher levels, their motivation is directed more towards these levels. However, though their main focus is on higher levels, they will still continue to pursue lower levels of the hierarchy but with less intensity.

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#1: Physiological Needs

Physiological needs are the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They are the most essential things a person needs to survive. They include the need for shelter, water, food, warmth, rest, and health. A person’s motivation at this level derives from their instinct to survive.

#2: Safety Needs

The second level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs consists of safety needs. Safety, or security needs, relate to a person’s need to feel safe and secure in their life and surroundings. Motivation comes from the need for law, order, and protection from unpredictable and dangerous conditions.

There are many examples of safety needs in modern society. To find stability and security, a person must consider their physical safety. This means seeking protection from the elements, violent conditions, or health threats and sickness. Additionally, an individual needs economic safety to live and thrive in modern societies. This refers to the need for job security, stable income, and savings. One method of achieving economic safety is to learn proper investment strategies .

#3: Love and Belonging Needs

The third level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is love and belonging needs. Humans are social creatures that crave interaction with others. This level of the hierarchy outlines the need for friendship, intimacy, family, and love. Humans have the need to give and receive love, to feel like they belong in a group. When deprived of these needs, individuals may experience loneliness or depression.

#4: Esteem Needs

The fourth level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is esteem needs. Esteem needs are related to a person’s need to gain recognition, status, and feel respected. Once someone has fulfilled their love and belonging needs, they seek to fulfill their esteem needs.

Maslow broke up esteem needs into two categories: the need for respect from others and the need for respect from oneself. Respect from others relates to achieving fame, prestige, and recognition. Respect from oneself relates to dignity, confidence, competence, independence, and freedom.

#5: Self-Actualization Needs

The fifth and final level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is self-actualization needs. Self-actualization relates to the realization of an individual’s full potential. At this level, people strive to become the best that they possibly can be.

The need for self-actualization can manifest in different ways, such as:

One person may strive to become the best parent and everyone’s best friend. Another person might aim to become a millionaire and philanthropist. Others may work toward becoming a famous athlete. In general, self-actualization is the pursuit of personal growth.

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Growth vs. Deficiency Needs

Maslow separated his hierarchy into two different overarching types of needs: growth needs and deficiency needs.

The main difference between growth and deficiency needs is the change in motivation as needs are met. Motivation increases are growth needs are met. Conversely, motivation decreases as deficiency needs are met.

As mentioned previously, self-actualization is the pursuit of personal growth, thus making it a growth need. Growth needs originate from a desire to become better and grow as a person. As a person fulfills growth needs, their motivation increases as their desire to become even better increases.

Conversely, deficiency needs pertain to the four levels below self-actualization: physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem needs. Deficiency needs stem from a person’s desire to get rid of deficiencies or obtain things they are lacking. As a person obtains the things they lack, their motivation to obtain these things decreases.

Examples of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In general, a person’s motivation lies in the level of the hierarchy that they are currently pursuing. Here are some situations that are examples of this.

For example, if a person is lost in the woods, they are likely looking to fulfill their physiological needs. They may be hungry, thirsty, lacking shelter, or cold. This individual would probably not be concerned with their financial security or their need to belong in a group. They are looking to fulfill the conditions for their immediate survival.

Conversely, we can consider a senior financial analyst . This is someone who has a secure, high-paying job, a spouse, family, and house.  This person is in a well-respected position at their company and among their peers. It is unlikely that this person’s motivation focuses on their physiological or safety needs, as these are clearly fulfilled. Instead, they would be looking to strive for personal growth and happiness. They would be looking to fulfill their self-actualization needs and discover what else the world has to offer, and what they have to offer the world.

Additional Resources

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example of case study hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education.

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Olivia Guy-Evans

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons), Psychology, MSc, Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a model for understanding the motivations for human behavior. It maps different motivations onto a pyramid, with each level representing a different human need. These include physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological (food and clothing), safety (job security), love and belonging needs (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization.

Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to higher needs.

Deficiency needs vs. growth needs

Maslow’s theory differs from more purely physiological representations of human motivation because motivation is seen as being not just concerned with tension reduction and survival but also with human growth and development.

Maslow (1954) proposed that human beings possess two sets of needs. This five-stage model can be divided into deficiency needs and growth needs. The first four levels are often referred to as deficiency needs ( D-needs ), and the top level is known as growth or being needs ( B-needs ).

Deficiency needs

Deficiency needs are concerned with basic survival and includes physiological needs (such as the need for food, sex, and sleep) and safety needs (such as the need for security and freedom from danger).

Behaviors associated with these needs are seen as ‘deficiency’ motivated, as they are a means to an end.

Deficiency needs arise due to deprivation and are said to motivate people when they are unmet. Also, the motivation to fulfill such needs will become stronger the longer they are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food, the more hungry they will become.

Maslow (1943) initially stated that individuals must satisfy lower-level deficit needs before progressing to meet higher-level growth needs. However, he later clarified that satisfaction of a need is not an “all-or-none” phenomenon, admitting that his earlier statements may have given “the false impression that a need must be satisfied 100 percent before the next need emerges” (1987, p. 69).

When a deficit need has been “more or less” satisfied, it will go away, and our activities become habitually directed toward meeting the next set of needs that we have yet to satisfy. These then become our salient needs. However, growth needs continue to be felt and may even become stronger once they have been engaged.

example of case study hierarchy of needs

Growth needs

Growth needs are more psychological needs and are associated with the realization of an individual’s full potential and the need to ‘self-actualize’. These needs are achieved more through intellectual and creative behaviors.

Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something but rather from a desire to grow as a person. Once these growth needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level, called self-actualization. Growth needs are achieved more through intellectual and creative behaviors.

Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization. Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by a failure to meet lower-level needs.

Life experiences, including divorce and loss of a job, may cause an individual to fluctuate between levels of the hierarchy.

Therefore, not everyone will move through the hierarchy in a uni-directional manner but may move back and forth between the different types of needs.

The original hierarchy of needs five-stage model

According to Maslow (1943, 1954), human needs were arranged in the form of a hierarchy, with physiological (survival) needs at the bottom, and the more creative and intellectually oriented ‘self-actualization’ needs at the top.

Maslow argued that survival needs must be satisfied before the individual can satisfy the higher needs. The higher up the hierarchy, the more difficult it is to satisfy the needs associated with that stage, because of the interpersonal and environmental barriers that inevitably frustrate us.

Higher needs become increasingly psychological and long-term rather than physiological and short-term, as in the lower survival-related needs.

1. Physiological needs these are biological requirements for human survival, e.g., air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, and sleep.

Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled, the next level up is what motivates us, and so on.

If these needs are not satisfied, the human body cannot function optimally. Maslow considered physiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needs are met.

Once an individual’s physiological needs are satisfied, the needs for security and safety become salient.

2. Safety needs –  people want to experience order, predictability, and control in their lives.

Safety needs can be fulfilled by the family and society (e.g., police, schools, business, and medical care).

For example, emotional security, financial security (e.g., employment, social welfare), law and order, freedom from fear, social stability, property, health and wellbeing (e.g., safety against accidents and injury).

After physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled, the third level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness.

3. Love and belongingness needs – belongingness refers to a human emotional need for interpersonal relationships, affiliating, connectedness, and being part of a group.

Examples of belongingness needs include friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection, and love.

4. Esteem needs are the fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy and include self-worth, accomplishment, and respect.

Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).

Maslow indicated that the need for respect or reputation is most important for children and adolescents and precedes real self-esteem or dignity.

5. Self-actualization needs are the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy, and refer to the realization of a person’s potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, and peak experiences.

Maslow (1943, 1987, p. 64 ) describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, and  “to become everything one is capable of becoming”.

Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have a strong desire to become an ideal parent.

In another, the desire may be expressed economically, academically or athletically. For others, it may be expressed creatively, in paintings, pictures, or inventions.

Although Maslow did not believe that many of us could achieve true self-actualization, he did believe that all of us experience transitory moments (known as ‘peak experiences’) of self-actualization.

Such moments, associated with personally significant events such as childbirth, sporting achievement and examination success), are difficult to achieve and maintain consistently.

example of case study hierarchy of needs

Maslow posited that human needs are arranged in a hierarchy:

“It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled? At once other (and “higher”) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still “higher”) needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency” (Maslow, 1943, p. 375) .

Maslow continued to refine his theory based on the concept of a hierarchy of needs over several decades (Maslow, 1943, 1962, 1987).

Regarding the structure of his hierarchy, Maslow (1987) proposed that the order in the hierarchy “is not nearly as rigid” (p. 68) as he may have implied in his earlier description.

Maslow noted that the order of needs might be flexible based on external circumstances or individual differences. For example, he notes that for some individuals, the need for self-esteem is more important than the need for love. For others, the need for creative fulfillment may supersede even the most basic needs.

Maslow (1987) also pointed out that most behavior is multi-motivated and noted that “any behavior tends to be determined by several or all of the basic needs simultaneously rather than by only one of them” (p. 71).

Hierarchy of needs summary

The expanded hierarchy of needs

It is important to note that Maslow’s (1943, 1954) five-stage model has been expanded to include cognitive and aesthetic needs (Maslow, 1970a) and later transcendence needs (Maslow, 1970b).

Changes to the original five-stage model are highlighted and include a seven-stage model and an eight-stage model; both developed during the 1960s and 1970s.

Cognitive needs – knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability.
Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.
Transcendence needs – A person is motivated by values that transcend beyond the personal self.

Examples of transcendence needs include mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.).

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, A Theory of Human Motivation, study how humans intrinsically partake in behavioral motivation


Instead of focusing on psychopathology and what goes wrong with people, Maslow (1943) formulated a more positive account of human behavior which focused on what goes right. He was interested in human potential, and how we fulfill that potential.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that human motivation is based on people seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. Self-actualized people are those who were fulfilled and doing all they were capable of.

The growth of self-actualization (Maslow, 1962) refers to the need for personal growth and discovery that is present throughout a person’s life. For Maslow, a person is always “becoming” and never remains static in these terms. In self-actualization, a person comes to find a meaning in life that is important to them.

As each individual is unique, the motivation for self-actualization leads people in different directions (Kenrick et al., 2010). For some people, self-actualization can be achieved through creating works of art or literature; for others, through sports, in the classroom, or within a corporate setting.

Maslow (1962) believed self-actualization could be measured through the concept of peak experiences. This occurs when a person experiences the world totally for what it is, and there are feelings of euphoria, joy, and wonder.

It is important to note that self-actualization is a continual process of becoming rather than a perfect state one reaches of a “happy ever after” (Hoffman, 1988).

Maslow offers the following description of self-actualization:

“It refers to the person’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person. In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventions” (Maslow, 1943, p. 382–383).

Characteristics of self-actualized people

Although we are all, theoretically, capable of self-actualizing, most of us will not do so, or only to a limited degree. Maslow (1970) estimated that only two percent of people would reach the state of self-actualization.

He was especially interested in the characteristics of people whom he considered to have achieved their potential as individuals.

By studying 18 people, he considered to be self-actualized (including Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein), Maslow (1970) identified 15 characteristics of a self-actualized person.

Characteristics of self-actualizers :

1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;

2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;

3. Spontaneous in thought and action;

4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);

5. Unusual sense of humor;

6. Able to look at life objectively;

7. Highly creative;

8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;

9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;

10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;

11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;

12. Peak experiences;

13. Need for privacy;

14. Democratic attitudes;

15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

Behavior leading to self-actualization :

(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;

(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;

(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;

(d) Avoiding pretense (“game playing”) and being honest;

(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;

(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;

(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.

The characteristics of self-actualizers and the behaviors leading to self-actualization are shown in the list above.  Although people achieve self-actualization in their own unique way, they tend to share certain characteristics.  However, self-actualization is a matter of degree, ‘There are no perfect human beings’ (Maslow, 1970a, p. 176 ).

It is not necessary to display all 15 characteristics to become self-actualized, and not only self-actualized people will display them.

Maslow did not equate self-actualization with perfection. Self-actualization merely involves achieving one’s potential. Thus, someone can be silly, wasteful, vain and impolite, and still self-actualize. Less than two percent of the population achieve self-actualization.

Educational applications

Maslow’s (1962) hierarchy of needs theory has made a major contribution to teaching and classroom management in schools. Rather than reducing behavior to a response in the environment , Maslow (1970a) adopts a holistic approach to education and learning.

Maslow looks at the complete physical, emotional, social, and intellectual qualities of an individual and how they impact learning.

Applications of Maslow’s hierarchy theory to the work of the classroom teacher are obvious. Before a student’s cognitive needs can be met, they must first fulfill their basic physiological needs.

For example, a tired and hungry student will find it difficult to focus on learning. Students need to feel emotionally and physically safe and accepted within the classroom to progress and reach their full potential.

Maslow suggests students must be shown that they are valued and respected in the classroom, and the teacher should create a supportive environment. Students with a low self-esteem will not progress academically at an optimum rate until their self-esteem is strengthened.

Maslow (1971, p. 195) argued that a humanistic educational approach would develop people who are “stronger, healthier, and would take their own lives into their hands to a greater extent. With increased personal responsibility for one’s personal life, and with a rational set of values to guide one’s choosing, people would begin to actively change the society in which they lived”.

Critical evaluation

The most significant limitation of Maslow’s theory concerns his methodology. Maslow formulated the characteristics of self-actualized individuals from undertaking a qualitative method called biographical analysis.

He looked at the biographies and writings of 18 people he identified as being self-actualized. From these sources, he developed a list of qualities that seemed characteristic of this specific group of people, as opposed to humanity in general.

From a scientific perspective , there are numerous problems with this particular approach. First, it could be argued that biographical analysis as a method is extremely subjective as it is based entirely on the opinion of the researcher. Personal opinion is always prone to bias, which reduces the validity of any data obtained. Therefore Maslow’s operational definition of self-actualization must not be blindly accepted as scientific fact.

Furthermore, Maslow’s biographical analysis focused on a biased sample of self-actualized individuals, prominently limited to highly educated white males (such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, William James , Aldous Huxley, Beethoven).

Although Maslow (1970) did study self-actualized females, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Teresa, they comprised a small proportion of his sample . This makes it difficult to generalize his theory to females and individuals from lower social classes or different ethnicity. Thus questioning the population validity of Maslow’s findings.

Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to empirically test Maslow’s concept of self-actualization in a way that causal relationships can be established. It is difficult to tell in Maslow’s theory where the scientific leaves off and the inspirational begins. His theory is seen as more speculative than empirically proven, with a tendency to substitute rhetoric for research.

Another criticism concerns Maslow’s assumption that the lower needs must be satisfied before a person can achieve their potential and self-actualize. This is not always the case, and therefore Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in some aspects has been falsified .

Through examining cultures in which large numbers of people live in poverty (such as India), it is clear that people are still capable of higher order needs such as love and belongingness. However, this should not occur, as according to Maslow, people who have difficulty achieving very basic physiological needs (such as food, shelter, etc.) are not capable of meeting higher growth needs.

Also, many creative people, such as authors and artists (e.g., Rembrandt and Van Gogh) lived in poverty throughout their lifetime, yet it could be argued that they achieved self-actualization.

Psychologists now conceptualize motivation as a pluralistic behavior, whereby needs can operate on many levels simultaneously. A person may be motivated by higher growth needs at the same time as lower level deficiency needs (Wahba & Bridwell, 1973).

Contemporary research by Tay and Diener (2011) has tested Maslow’s theory by analyzing the data of 60,865 participants from 123 countries, representing every major region of the world. The survey was conducted from 2005 to 2010.

Respondents answered questions about six needs that closely resemble those in Maslow’s model: basic needs (food, shelter); safety; social needs (love, support); respect; mastery; and autonomy. They also rated their well-being across three discrete measures: life evaluation (a person’s view of his or her life as a whole), positive feelings (day-to-day instances of joy or pleasure), and negative feelings (everyday experiences of sorrow, anger, or stress).

The results of the study support the view that universal human needs appear to exist regardless of cultural differences. However, the ordering of the needs within the hierarchy was not correct.

“Although the most basic needs might get the most attention when you don”t have them,” Diener explains, “you don”t need to fulfill them in order to get benefits [from the others].” Even when we are hungry, for instance, we can be happy with our friends. “They”re like vitamins,” Diener says about how the needs work independently. “We need them all.”

While Maslow’s work was indeed relatively informal and clinically descriptive, it did provide a rich source of ideas, and as such, a framework for discussing the richness and complexity of human motivation that goes beyond homeostatic models and other biological models.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the weaknesses of maslow’s theory.

Maslow proposes a positive view of humans, however, it could be argued that this might not be very realistic when considering everyday reality such as domestic violence and genocides.

Furthermore, the hierarchy’s focus on meeting our needs and fulfilling our growth potential reflects an individualistic, self-obsessed outlook that is part of the problem faced by our society rather than a solution.

How many levels are there in Maslow’s pyramid of needs?

There are five levels in Maslow’s pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological (food and clothing), safety (job security), love and belonging needs (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization.

Maslow asserted that so long as basic needs necessary for survival were met (e.g., food, water, shelter), higher-level needs (e.g., social needs) would begin to motivate behavior.

Why is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs important?

Maslow’s theory has given rise to a new way to look at people’s needs. For example, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is widely used in health and social work as a framework for assessing clients’ needs.

Problems or difficult circumstances at one point in a person’s life can cause them to fixate on a particular set of needs, and this can affect their future happiness.

For example, a person who lived through a period of extreme deprivation and lack of security in early childhood may fixate on physiological and safety needs. These remain salient even if they are satisfied.

So even if this person later has everything they need they may nonetheless obsess over money or keeping enough food in the fridge.

This, for Maslow, was the root cause of many ‘neurotic’ mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.

What is at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

According to Maslow, the highest-level needs relate to self-actualization, a process by which we achieve our full potential.

Self-actualizing people have both a more efficient perception of reality and more comfortable relations with it. This includes the detection of what is phony and/or dishonest and the accurate perception of what really exists – rather than a distortion of perception by one’s needs.

Self-actualizers accept themselves, others and nature. They are not ashamed or guilty about being human, with shortcomings, imperfections, frailties, and weaknesses.

Nor are they critical of these aspects in other people. They respect and esteem themselves and others.

Hoffman, E. (1988). The right to be human: A biography of Abraham Maslow . Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

Kenrick, D. T., Neuberg, S. L., Griskevicius, V., Becker, D. V., & Schaller, M. (2010). Goal-driven cognition and functional behavior: The fundamental-motives framework . Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19 (1), 63-67.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation . Psychological Review, 50 (4), 370-96.

Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality . New York: Harper and Row.

Maslow, A. H. (1962). Toward a psychology of being . Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company.

Maslow, A. H. (1970a). Motivation and personality . New York: Harper & Row.

Maslow, A. H. (1970b). Religions, values, and peak experiences. New York: Penguin. (Original work published 1966)

Maslow, A. H. (1987). Motivation and personality (3rd ed.) . Delhi, India: Pearson Education.

Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well-being around the world . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101 (2), 354-356.

Wahba, M. A., & Bridwell, L. G. (1976). Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory . Organizational behavior and human performance, 15 (2), 212-240.

Wulff, D. M., & Maslow, A. H. (1965). Religions, values, and peak-experiences. The Journal of Higher Education, 36 (4), 235.

Further Information

Hierarchy of Needs and Nursing

Hierarchy of Needs in the Workplace

9 Real Life Examples of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Human needs tend to increase daily, and these needs lead us to overcome every challenge, which most of us face almost every day. The famous American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, proposed a hierarchy of human needs and classified them into five categories through which human motivations grow.

What is Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology; comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. The lowest requirement in the hierarchy must be satisfied before moving to higher levels. The Five Basic needs from bottom to top are:

1. Physiological Needs : Food, water, shelter, sleep, excretion, etc.

2. Safety Needs: A sense of security of the self, job security, health security, safe environment, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love Needs: Strong bonds, love relationships.

4. Esteem Needs: Self-confidence, respect, good reputation, etc.

5. Self Actualisation: Morality, spontaneity, and acceptance.

Now let’s check some daily life examples of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

1. Breathing, Eating, and Drinking

Imagine a world without oxygen for 5 seconds; we will start dying. Oxygen is an essential requirement for the survival of all living beings. Eating and drinking are also essential for staying healthy. Food and water are, in fact, the two basic requirements for our survival. Air, food, and water come under “physiological needs,” which must be satisfied before moving on to other needs.

2.  Cleansing, Dressing, and Excreting

Likewise eating and drinking, excretion is a necessary and integral part of our daily life activities, though it is regarded as a highly private activity. Bathing and dressing are also necessary to fulfill our basic needs. It also belongs to “physiological needs.”

3. Employment and Job Security

Employment is the basic need of any individual to earn a livelihood and satisfy his basic needs. Also, a secured career is, in fact, the dream of everyone. For example, being fired and not having savings can make our safety needs very difficult to get fulfilled. It falls in the category of “safety needs.”

4. Salary and Stable Environment

After getting a job, a salary and a safe working environment are the two basic requirements of every employee. Throughout their career, employees strive to get into a safe and secure work environment. It belongs to “safety needs.”

5.  Family and Friends

Perfect family relationships and friendships are what an individual hope for. Not having a good family relationship, support from loved ones, and good friends can make the individual feel lonely, which will not help him to satisfy his needs of love and belongingness. To avoid problems such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety, it is important for us to have a healthy social life. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an important role, so as being associated with other groups like religious groups, sports teams, book clubs, etc. It falls into the category of “social belonging.”

6. Pensions and Benefits

We have seen our grandparents getting monthly pensions. Getting a pension makes them feel independent. Hence, benefits like pensions are an important part of the social needs, which make the individual satisfied physically as well as emotionally. It’s an example of “safety needs.”

7. Job Titles and Recognition

Having a good job title and recognition increases the respect of an employee at the workplace as well in his/her society.  A good job title leads to a rise in his worth. People who are able to satisfy the esteem needs by achieving good self-esteem and the recognition of others tend to feel confident in their abilities. A person stuck on this level will be motivated to work towards increasing all these factors; their actions will be influenced by their need for esteem, i.e. they will be motivated towards performing such tasks that will increase their own self-esteem, as well as the respect they receive from others. This example belongs to “self-esteem.”

8. Academic Results

When a student is motivated and appreciated, he/she tends to increase his/her academic performance as compared to the less motivated student. An excellent academic result will increase her recognition in the school and society, which will increase the confidence, respect, and esteem of the student. It also belongs to “self-esteem.”

9. Acceptance and Creativity

Life is not about making more money, having a luxurious home and family; it’s about knowing our self. A human being feels most satisfied when he/she understands that he/she realizes his/her full potential. It comes under “self-actualization” in which a person understands his core strengths. For instance, one person might achieve this feeling of self-actualization by working at NASA, while another can achieve it by teaching children in a small town. Everyone has different parameters of “self-actualization,” and it doesn’t mean you have to become famous to achieve self-actualization. It is about reaching our potentials and understanding our creativity; whether by becoming a painter, politician, or actor.

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it makes a lot of sense if you are your love ones are in the Nursing home or hospital you would want to be treated with dignity and love i would want to be treated like you would want to be treated as a patient we want to feel safe , Love we need security always respect, physiological needs food water shelter ofcourse sleep these things are very important in the healthcare and taking care of people, rather you are in a in home agency or home nursing home hosp, belongingness we want to feel love needed strong bond relationships as well all of these things should automatic be in place when taking care of people rather its your grandparents are some one else parents are grandparents.

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This presentation made my dad come back, he brought the semi-skimmed, green top, succulent milk back from the corner shop finally. my family is now better than ever all because I now understand Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I agree with Oliver Florian as I now “perfectly understand”. nut not even just the presentation, but now even the meaning of life. I cannot thank the people from StudiousGuy enough

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It clear and comprehended.

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Very interested part of human life

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I found this web posting while searching without success for someone or an organization or a proposed theory of Sociology based on Maslow. This concept could be very valuable in the study of history and social development. You start with the physiological level, list all the variables and resulting norms, for example, food (are you going to eat humans or not and if so, what are the rules), sex (with whom and what, level of privacy, number of participants, etc), comfort as defined in terms of temperature, humidity, air changes (clothing and architecture and resulting urban form), etc. From this, you develop matrices and analysis and point to pivotal developmental events. The article above, for example jumps over this set of initial conditions and presents a fully enclosed capitalist environment for behavior, no protest or revolutionary behavior is cited, just a dogged search for “employment” and the fulfillment of a job, “another brick in the wall” consciousness, life within unquestioned norms. [A true Maslowian would say: “I’d like to question the norms, but right now, I have to go to the bathroom, please excuse me.”]

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Case Study: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

example of case study hierarchy of needs

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Maslow Case Study

Maslow Case Study 15 1) Cindy’s first year of life was a very trying one, and according to Maslow, the primary needs on her hierarchy were not being sufficiently met. The first need is to have physiological needs satisfied for sheer survival purposes, such as receiving adequate food, water, elimination and sleep. Maslow explained that for a person not receiving these things, their idea of a perfect place would be one where there is plenty of food and water and they can sleep and eliminate whenever they want; if they had all of these things they would believe that they would be perfectly content and happy.

For many, these needs are easily satisfied, but for Cindy this was not the case. The physician who performed Cindy’s checkups noted that she was not developing at the rate of normal infants her age, so she immediately suspected neglect, which would include not giving Cindy adequate nutrition. Since everyone of her checkups were late and infrequent, the physician began to question the amount of formula Cindy was receiving and learned that it was nowhere near enough for a child her age.

Cindy had also developed a sever diaper rash accompanied by a yeast infect by the third check up which the physician was also very concerned about. The need to be physically well would also fall under the physiological needs. Although Cindy’s physiological needs were not fully satisfied, degrees of satisfaction would allow Cindy to have the needs of other stages working at the same time. Safety needs, or the need to feel a sense of structure, order, security and predictability, are next on Maslow’s hierarchy.

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Cindy’s mother was said to be a 40 year old drug addict who live in a relatively poor neighborhood that housed African Americans and Latinos, mostly. The mother had no home of her own and did not know who the father was, she would move from house to house where her friends would put her up for a little while. The mother would also stay with the grandmother from time to time. This constant moving, with no home of her own, inadequate nutrition, no love or affection shown and no predictability from day to day would definitely show that Cindy’s safety needs were not satisfied.

The third need, the need for belongingness and love, was obviously also not satisfied. Her mother neglected her so much that on one occasion Cindy was dehydrated to the point of medical danger. Once she was finally fostered, her initial foster family was able to provide her with sufficient physiological and safety needs, however, they still did not provide belongingness and love. They showed her little affection and rarely held her or talked to her.

By the end of Cindy’s first year, she looked as if she were only 6 months old developmentally. Also, when the family moved to another state they had no desire to adopt her, which also showed how little they cared for her emotionally. The outcome of Cindy’s first trying year of life was severe underdevelopment in which she could barley crawl at one year, an aversion to affection where Cindy would cringe at someone’s touch, and a sense of uncertainty and shyness to her. ) During Cindy’s second year of life, she was placed with a much better foster family would not only fulfilled her needs for survival and safety, they were also very loving. The family had two other daughters, who were trilled to have a baby sister to take care of, the mother stayed at home with the kids during the day and the father was there in the evenings when the mother was working four nights a week inside the home. Cindy had a clean, quiet environment where she was exposed to other children.

She was also shown a lot of affection, which at first she resisted, but eventually she began to become accustom to it and even began seeking it out and developed more rapidly. By the time she was living with this family for six months, she had caught up to the development of children her age. Once Cindy’s biological mother overdosed and died, the option for adoption was there and the new family happily accepted Cindy into there life permanently. The outcome of all of this was that Cindy became a happy, confident child on the same level as other children her age. ) According to Maslow, if Cindy were to actualize, the type of values she would have to embrace would include an acceptance of herself, others and of nature in general, which would allow her not to feel a sense of anxiety, shame or guilt due to her situation as a child. Also, autonomy, appreciation for life events, creativity from an openness to experience and spontaneity, an unhostile sense of humor and a strong ethical sense would all be values Cindy would have to embrace to be a self-actualizer.

There are other characteristics that Maslow listed as belonging to these types o people, but these have a more immediate relationship to Cindy and her upbringing. Her early childhood would defiantly not give Cindy the predisposition to have these values, however, her fortunate situation in which she was later adopted by a loving and providing family would be able to give her the other needs she craves to reach self-actualization.

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example of case study hierarchy of needs

Case Study Of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the road.

In Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel, “The Road”, a man and his young son find themselves on a journey fighting for survival through a dark and desolate world. With no identity or any hope in the future, the characters are faced with many compromising decisions. Two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the physiological and safety levels provide the most motivation and validation for the characters’ actions throughout the novel.

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Rear Window Sociology

Society is fooled into believing in the applied connection among people. Benedict Anderson’s idea of imagined communities emphasizes that, “… the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (5). Members of neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries feel a sense of unity with other members for living in the same place or maybe having the same basic values, but true unity comes from understanding the similarities among each other, considering the impact a person can have on another, and caring about lives. Recognizing the importance of lives being socially intertwined is necessary to sustain a considerate society.

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Poverty In The Great Gatsby

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More about Case Study Of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

Korean President Roh Suicide From Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Perspective Case Study

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is the peak of experience when a person reaches understanding and harmony with his/herself and the surrounding people. It means that self-actualized people are usually reality-oriented – they can distinguish between real thing and the fraudulent ones (Montana and Charnov 240).

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They are also problem-centered which means that they realize the existing problems and try to find possible solutions. Most importantly, they can easily establish the connection the external environment and feel comfortable when staying along.

All these attributes are applicable to Roh Moo-Hyun, the former South Korean president who died because of head injuries (CNN n. p.). The president was suspected of committed suicide, which implies that some of his hierarchy needs were far from fulfillment.

An in-depth consideration of the case proves the fact that Roh was not in harmonic relations with the surrounding people. He stated that he lost his face and he was afraid of disappointing people. This means he was not confident enough in himself; the president was not a fully self-actualized person. Moreover, the absence of belonging, confidence, and security is the major contributing facto to suicide.

The president, therefore, was deprived of feeling to be appreciated and accepted by others. The accusations of bribery made Roh feel ignored because he did not feel recognition and return for his actions and deed. Therefore, the top ladder of hierarch was unavailable for him because the individuals fail to acquire a sense of personal achievement, satisfaction, and growth.

Judging from the above-presented considerations as well as from the saying in the notes made before his death, Roh Moo-Hyun was at the bottom of psychological needs. Though Maslow’s model is a limited, it places Ron at the third level of accomplishment, which means that he has not reached self-esteem needs and self-actualization.

However, it should also be admitted that some of the previously three established layers are not reached to a full extent either which especially concerns motivation and experience. These conditions are crucial for working effectively (Montana and Charnov 240). Specifically, the concept of belonging and love is also closely associated with work motivation and has much in common with interpersonal satisfactions.

Due to the fact that the lowest layers are more perceived as discouraging factors, individual’s attachment to these behavioral patterns create no ground for goal-oriented behavior.

While evaluating the case in more detail, it can be stated that Moo-Hyun was significantly embarrassed by the convictions. This was especially seen in his saying, “nothing is left in my life but to be a burden to others”. He did not feel any support and encouragement he need badly.

In contrast to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Lasswell’s value categories imply that “psychological pain of being preoccupied with deprivations concerning one value would provoke a shift to preoccupations with other values” (Ascher and Hirschfelder-Ascher 26). As a result, if a person encounters a specific psychological problem, it is often difficult to understand the veritable source of the problem.

Before considering the disparities and similarities between two existing models, it should be noted that Lasswell’s conception is more applied to politicians who, according to the theorist’s study, have a strong feeling of insecurity and damaged self-esteem that is compensated, or “sublimated” by their desire to acquire power contributing to social development and public life. In this respect, the presidents’ influential position failed to contribute to his security and, as a result, the lack of security is substituted by a distress and self-hating.

While comparing these arguments with Maslow’s concepts, it should be stated that Maslow’s focus on the pyramid of needs where one need should be satisfied before moving on to another one. Lasswell’s argument is more concerned with shifting needs where values can be interchangeable and are presented in the form of matrix.

This means that it is not necessarily to acquire security, for example, for achieving self-esteem (Ascher and Hirschfelder-Ascher 27). Referring to the case under consideration, one might assume that Roh dissatisfaction with life could be due to a number of reasons that were disguised by his fear of being despised by people. Therefore, accusations of bribery might not be the actual reason for committing suicide.

In addition, displacement of value categories can be recognized because it explains the shifts in instincts. Pursuing particular values that are unacceptable to a person can lead to self-disgust, depression, and other emotional displays (Ascher and Hirschfelder-Ascher 27). These switches, or sublimations, are often explained by a transformation of less appropriate impulses into more relevant one.

Lasswell’s value category also explains the shifts in the president behavior and his inclination to self-hating. This can happen when one identification is displayed to another, alternative of identification. For instance, the ignorance of self-hatred can be considered a reason for rejecting leading to a distress, just like it happened to Mr. Moo-Hyun.

Despite the existing differences between two theoretical frameworks, there are certain similarities that must be mentioned. To begin with, both theirs largely rely on Freud’s conception of sexual impulses (Montana and Charnov 240). Considering Maslow’s model, sex, along with food, shelter, and water, is considered the basic physiological need of the individuals.

However, unlike Freud that considers sexual desires and impulses as the leading one in human life, Maslow just perceives this as one of physiological needs for an individual to feel comfortable (Montana and Charnov 240).

Similarly to Maslow, Lasswell’s value categories are also linked to sexual impulses being the triggers and original motivators. Sexual nature of identified values can contribute to shifting from one moral value to another.

Another similarity between two models lies in enumeration of needs a person should satisfy on the way to become as full-fledged personality. Hence, according to Maslow’s theory, a person has physiological, social, and psychological sets of need to be accomplished. Lasswell also mentions these three types of needs a person should satisfy, but they are not prioritized as it is provided by Maslow.

In conclusion, though Maslow’s hierarchy of need has a number of problems and misconceptions in terms of motivation and experience, it explains why the president of South Korea committed suicide. His needs are posited in the middle of the hierarchy before the self-esteem needs, which is typical of politicians who often fail to acquire this quality.

Impossibility to receive support and fear to lose trust and sense of belonging made him to give motivation. Such a situation was the contributing factor for suicide. In addition, the accusation of bribery served as the reason for losing feelings of confidence and security, which are the most crucial for people dealing with politics.

Works Cited

Ascher, William and Barbara Hirschfelder-Ascher. Revitalizing Political Psychology: the Legacy of Harold D. Lasswell. NY: Routeledge, 2005. Print.

CNN, Former S. Korean President Roh Commits Suicide. May 2009. Web.

Montana, Patrick J., and Bruce H. Charnov. Management. US: Barron’s Educational Series, 2008. Print.

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IvyPanda . "Korean President Roh Suicide From Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Perspective." June 23, 2022.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Korean President Roh Suicide From Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Perspective." June 23, 2022.

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Korean President Roh Suicide From Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Perspective'. 23 June.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow believed that physiological and psychological needs motivate our actions

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

example of case study hierarchy of needs

Different Types of Needs

The expanded hierarchy of needs, frequently asked questions.

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known  theories of motivation . Maslow's theory states that our actions are motivated by certain physiological and psychological needs that progress from basic to complex.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow first introduced the concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper, titled "A Theory of Human Motivation," and again in his subsequent book, "Motivation and Personality." This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.

While some of the existing schools of thought at the time—such as  psychoanalysis  and  behaviorism —tended to focus on problematic behaviors, Maslow was more interested in learning about what makes people happy and what they do to achieve that aim.

As a  humanist , Maslow believed that people have an inborn desire to be self-actualized, that is, to be all they can be. To achieve this ultimate goal, however, a number of more basic needs must be met. This includes the need for food, safety, love, and self-esteem.

Maslow believed that these needs are similar to instincts and play a major role in motivating behavior . There are five different levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, starting at the lowest level known as physiological needs. 

Click Play to Learn More About Maslow’s Pyramid

This video has been medically reviewed by David Susman, PhD .

Physiological Needs

The physiological needs include those that are vital to survival. Some examples of physiological needs include:

In addition to the basic requirements of nutrition, air, and temperature regulation, physiological needs also include shelter and clothing. Maslow included sexual reproduction in this level of the hierarchy as well, since it is essential to the survival and propagation of the species.

Security and Safety Needs

At the second level of Maslow’s hierarchy, the needs start to become a bit more complex. At this level, the needs for security and safety become primary.

People want control and order in their lives. Some of the basic security and safety needs include:

Finding a job, obtaining health insurance and health care, contributing money to a savings account, and moving to a safer neighborhood are all examples of actions motivated by security and safety needs.

Together, the safety and physiological levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs make up what is often referred to as "basic needs."

Social Needs

The social needs in Maslow’s hierarchy include love , acceptance, and belonging . At this level, the need for emotional relationships drives human behavior. Some of the things that satisfy this need include:

In order to avoid  loneliness , depression , and anxiety, it is important for people to feel loved and accepted by others. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an important role, as does involvement in groups—such as religious groups, sports teams, book clubs, and other group activities.

Esteem Needs

At the fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy is the need for appreciation and respect . Once the needs at the bottom three levels have been satisfied, the esteem needs begin to play a more prominent role in motivating behavior.

At this level, it becomes increasingly important to gain the respect and appreciation of others. People have a need to accomplish things, then have their efforts recognized. In addition to the need for feelings of accomplishment and prestige, esteem needs include such things as  self-esteem  and personal worth.

People need to sense that they are valued by others and feel that they are making a contribution to the world. Participation in professional activities, academic accomplishments, athletic or team participation, and personal hobbies can all play a role in fulfilling the esteem needs.

People who are able to satisfy esteem needs by achieving good self-esteem and the recognition of others tend to feel confident in their abilities. Conversely, those who lack self-esteem and the respect of others can develop feelings of inferiority .

Together, the esteem and social levels make up what is known as the "psychological needs" of the hierarchy.

Self-Actualization Needs

At the very peak of Maslow’s hierarchy are the self-actualization needs. Self-actualizing  people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested in fulfilling their potential.

"What a man can be, he must be," Maslow explained, referring to the need people have to achieve their full potential as human beings.

Maslow’s said of self-actualization: "It may be loosely described as the full use and exploitation of talents, capabilities, potentialities, etc. Such people seem to be fulfilling themselves and to be doing the best that they are capable of doing. They are people who have developed or are developing to the full stature of which they capable."

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Progressing Through the Pyramid of Needs

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Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often displayed as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid of needs are made up of the most basic needs while the most complex needs are at the top.

Once lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs. As people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social.

At the top of the pyramid, the need for personal esteem and feelings of accomplishment take priority. Like  Carl Rogers , Maslow emphasized the importance of self-actualization, which is a process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve individual potential.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be separated into two types of needs: deficiency needs and growth needs.

While the theory is generally portrayed as a fairly rigid hierarchy, Maslow noted that the order in which these needs are fulfilled does not always follow this standard progression.

For example, he noted that for some individuals, the need for self-esteem is more important than the need for love. For others, the need for creative fulfillment may supersede even the most basic needs.

Criticisms of Maslow’s Theory

Maslow's theory has become wildly popular both in and out of psychology. The fields of education and business have been particularly influenced by the theory. But Maslow's concept has not been without criticism. Chief among the long-held objections are:

Some of the more recent critiques suggest that Maslow was inspired by the belief systems of the Blackfoot nation, but neglected to acknowledge this. Maslow's studied the Northern Blackfoot tribe as an anthropologist. However, this foundational basis disappeared over time, causing him to misuse the concepts he was originally there to assess.

Impact of Maslow's Hierarchy

Regardless of these criticisms, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs represented part of an important shift in psychology . Rather than focusing on abnormal behavior and development, Maslow's humanistic psychology was focused on the development of healthy individuals.

There has been relatively little research supporting Maslow's theory, yet the hierarchy of needs is well-known and popular both in and out of psychology. And in a study published in 2011, researchers from the University of Illinois set out to put this hierarchy to the test.

What they discovered is that, while the fulfillment of the needs was strongly correlated with happiness , people from cultures all over the world reported that self-actualization and social needs were important even when many of the most basic needs were unfulfilled.

Such results suggest that while these needs can be powerful motivators of human behavior, they do not necessarily take the hierarchical form that Maslow described.

In 1970, Maslow built upon his original hierarchy to include three additional needs at the top of his pyramid, for a total of eight:

A Word From Verywell

Whether you accept Maslow's hierarchy of needs or not, his theory shines a light on the many needs we have as human beings. And even if we don't all place these needs in the same order, keeping them in mind when interacting with others can help make our interactions more caring and respectful.

The basis of Maslow's theory is that we are motivated by our needs as human beings. Additionally, if some of our most important needs are unmet, we may be unable to progress and meet our other needs. This can help explain why we might feel "stuck" or unmotivated. It's possible that our most critical needs aren't being met, preventing us from being the best version of ourselves possible. Changing this requires looking at what we need, then finding a way to get it.

Self-actualization is at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This need refers to the desire to reach our full potential. According to Maslow, this need can only be met once all of the other needs are satisfied. Thus, it comes after physiological needs, safety needs, the need for love and belonging, and esteem needs.

Some criticize Maslow's hierarchy of needs on the basis that our needs don't always exist in a pyramid format, or that one need is more important than another. There's also a concern that his idea of self-actualization cannot be tested. Others suggest that Maslow's theory is weak because it was based on research that was misattributed or lost the original concept being studied.

There are five levels in Maslow's pyramid. The bottom two levels are physiological needs and safety needs which, together, make up basic needs. Next are social and esteem needs—also referred to as psychological needs. Self-actualization needs are at the top level of Maslow's pyramid. Someone who is self-actualized is said to be at (or in the pursuit of) their full potential.

Lester D, Hvezda J, Sullivan S, Plourde R. Maslow's hierarchy of needs and psychological health . J Gen Psychol . 1983;109(1):83-85. doi:10.1080/00221309.1983.9711513

Taormina RJ, Gao JH. Maslow and the motivation hierarchy: Measuring satisfaction of the needs , Am J Psychol. 2013;126(2):155-77. doi:10.5406/amerjpsyc.126.2.0155

Wang JL, Zhang DJ, Jackson L. Influence of self-esteem, locus of control, and organizational climate on psychological empowerment in a sample of Chinese teachers . J App Soc Psychol . 2013;43(7):1428-1435. doi:10.1111/jasp.12099

Noltemeyer A, James A, Bush K, Bergen D, Barrios V, Patton J. The relationship between deficiency needs and growth needs: The continuing investigation of Maslow's theory . Child Youth Serv . 2021:42(1):24-42. doi:10.1080/0145935X.2020.1818558

Wahba MA, Bridwell LG. Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory .  Organiz Behav Human Perform. 1976;15:212–240.

Agrawal KG, Sharma BR. Gratification, metamotivation, and Maslow . Vikalpa . 1977;2(4):265-72.

Feigenbaum KD, Smith RA. Historical narratives: Abraham Maslow and Blackfoot interpretations . Humanistic Psychol . 2020;48(3):232-43. doi:10.1037/hum0000145

Smith RA, Feigenbaum KD. Maslow's intellectual betrayal of Ruth Benedict? . J Humanistic Psychol . 2012;53(3):307-21. doi:10.1177/0022167812469832

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By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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How to Write a Case Study: A Breakdown of Requirements

It can take months to develop a case study. First, a topic must be chosen. Then the researcher must state his hypothesis, and make certain it lines up with the chosen topic. Then all the research must be completed. The case study can require both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as interviews with subjects. Once that is all done, it is time to write the case study.

Not all case studies are written the same. Depending on the size and topic of the study, it could be hundreds of pages long. Regardless of the size, the case study should have four main sections. These sections are:

1. Introduction

2. Background

3. Presentation of Findings

4. Conclusion

The Introduction

The introduction should set the stage for the case study, and state the thesis for the report. The intro must clearly articulate what the study's intention is, as well as how you plan on explaining and answering the thesis.

Again, remember that a case study is not a formal scientific research report that will only be read by scientists. The case study must be able to be read and understood by the layperson, and should read almost as a story, with a clear narrative.

As the reader reads the introduction, they should fully understand what the study is about, and why it is important. They should have a strong foundation for the background they will learn about in the next section.

The introduction should not be long. You must be able to introduce your topic in one or two paragraphs. Ideally, the introduction is one paragraph of about 3-5 sentences.

The Background

The background should detail what information brought the researcher to pose his hypothesis. It should clearly explain the subject or subjects, as well as their background information. And lastly, the background must give the reader a full understanding of the issue at hand, and what process will be taken with the study. Photos and videos are always helpful when applicable.

When writing the background, the researcher must explain the research methods used, and why. The type of research used will be dependent on the type of case study. The reader should have a clear idea why a particular type of research is good for the field and type of case study.

For example, a case study that is trying to determine what causes PTSD in veterans will heavily use interviews as a research method. Directly interviewing subjects garners invaluable research for the researcher. If possible, reference studies that prove this.

Again, as with the introduction, you do not want to write an extremely long background. It is important you provide the right amount of information, as you do not want to bore your readers with too much information, and you don't want them under-informed.

How much background information should a case study provide? What would happen if the case study had too much background info?

What would happen if the case study had too little background info?

The Presentation of Findings

While a case study might use scientific facts and information, a case study should not read as a scientific research journal or report. It should be easy to read and understand, and should follow the narrative determined in the first step.

The presentation of findings should clearly explain how the topic was researched, and summarize what the results are. Data should be summarized as simply as possible so that it is understandable by people without a scientific background. The researcher should describe what was learned from the interviews, and how the results answered the questions asked in the introduction.

When writing up the report, it is important to set the scene. The writer must clearly lay out all relevant facts and detail the most important points. While this section may be lengthy, you do not want to overwhelm the reader with too much information.

The Conclusion

The final section of the study is the conclusion. The purpose of the study isn't necessarily to solve the problem, only to offer possible solutions. The final summary should be an end to the story.

Remember, the case study is about asking and answering questions. The conclusion should answer the question posed by the researcher, but also leave the reader with questions of his own. The researcher wants the reader to think about the questions posed in the study, and be free to come to their own conclusions as well.

When reading the conclusion, the reader should be able to have the following takeaways:

Was there a solution provided? If so, why was it chosen?

Was the solution supported with solid evidence?

Did the personal experiences and interviews support the solution?

The conclusion should also make any recommendations that are necessary. What needs to be done, and you exactly should do it? In the case of the vets with PTSD, once a cause is determined, who is responsible for making sure the needs of the veterans are met?

English Writing Standards For Case Studies

When writing the case study, it is important to follow standard academic and scientific rules when it comes to spelling and grammar.

Spelling and Grammar

It should go without saying that a thorough spell check should be done. Remember, many case studies will require words or terms that are not in standard online dictionaries, so it is imperative the correct spelling is used. If possible, the first draft of the case study should be reviewed and edited by someone other than yourself.

Case studies are normally written in the past tense, as the report is detailing an event or topic that has since passed. The report should be written using a very logical and clear tone. All case studies are scientific in nature and should be written as such.

The First Draft

You do not sit down and write the case study in one day. It is a long and detailed process, and it must be done carefully and with precision. When you sit down to first start writing, you will want to write in plain English, and detail the what, when and how.

When writing the first draft, note any relevant assumptions. Don't immediately jump to any conclusions; just take notes of any initial thoughts. You are not looking for solutions yet. In the first draft use direct quotes when needed, and be sure to identify and qualify all information used.

If there are any issues you do not understand, the first draft is where it should be identified. Make a note so you return to review later. Using a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets is very valuable during this stage of the writing process, and can help keep you and your information and data organized.

The Second Draft

To prepare the second draft, you will want to assemble everything you have written thus far. You want to reduce the amount of writing so that the writing is tightly written and cogent. Remember, you want your case study to be interesting to read.

When possible, you should consider adding images, tables, maps, or diagrams to the text to make it more interesting for the reader. If you use any of these, make sure you have permission to use them. You cannot take an image from the Internet and use it without permission.

Once you have completed the second draft, you are not finished! It is imperative you have someone review your work. This could be a coworker, friend, or trusted colleague. You want someone who will give you an honest review of your work, and is willing to give you feedback, whether positive or negative.

Remember, you cannot proofread enough! You do not want to risk all of your hard work and research, and end up with a final case study that has spelling or grammatical errors. One typo could greatly hurt your project and damage your reputation in your field.

All case studies should follow LIT – Logical – Inclusive – Thorough.

The case study obviously must be logical. There can be no guessing or estimating. This means that the report must state what was observed, but cannot include any opinion or assumptions that might come from such an observation.

For example, if a veteran subject arrives at an interview holding an empty liquor bottle and is slurring his words, that observation must be made. However, the researcher cannot make the inference that the subject was intoxicated. The report can only include the facts.

With the Genie case, researchers witnessed Genie hitting herself and practicing self-harm. It could be assumed that she did this when she was angry. However, this wasn't always the case. She would also hit herself when she was afraid, bored or apprehensive. It is essential that researchers not guess or infer.

In order for a report to be inclusive, it must contain ALL data and findings. The researcher cannot pick and choose which data or findings to use in the report.

Using the example above, if a veteran subject arrives for an interview holding an empty liquor bottle and is slurring his words; any and all additional information that can be garnered should be recorded. For instance, what the subject was wearing, what was his demeanor, was he able to speak and communicate, etc.

When observing a man who might be drunk, it can be easy to make assumptions. However, the researcher cannot allow personal biases or beliefs to sway the findings. Any and all relevant facts must be included, regardless of size or perceived importance. Remember, small details might not seem relevant at the time of the interview. But once it is time to catalog the findings, small details might become important.

The last tip is to be thorough. It is important to delve into every observation. The researcher shouldn't just write down what they see and move on. It is essential to detail as much as possible.

For example, when interviewing veteran subjects, there interview responses are not the only information that should be garnered from the interview. The interviewer should use all senses when detailing their subject.

How does the subject appear? Is he clean? How is he dressed?

How does his voice sound? Is he speaking clearly and making cohesive thoughts? Does his voice sound raspy? Does he speak with a whisper, or does he speak too loudly?

Does the subject smell? Is he wearing cologne, or can you smell that he hasn't bathed or washed his clothes? What do his clothes look like? Is he well dressed, or does he wear casual clothes?

What is the background of the subject? What are his current living arrangements? Does he have supportive family and friends? Is he a loner who doesn't have a solid support system? Is the subject working? If so, is he happy with the job? If he is not employed, why is that? What makes the subject unemployable?

Case Studies in Marketing

We have already determined that case studies are very valuable in the business world. This is particularly true in the marketing field, which includes advertising and public relations. While case studies are almost all the same, marketing case studies are usually more dependent on interviews and observations.

Well-Known Marketing Case Studies

DeBeers is a diamond company headquartered in Luxembourg, and based in South Africa. It is well known for its logo, "A diamond is forever", which has been voted the best advertising slogan of the 20 th century.

Many studies have been done about DeBeers, but none are as well known as their marketing case study, and how they positioned themselves to be the most successful and well-known diamond company in the world.

DeBeers developed the idea for a diamond engagement ring. They also invented the "eternity band", which is a ring that has diamonds going all around it, signifying that long is forever.

They also invented the three-stone ring, signifying the past, present and future. De Beers was the first company to attribute their products, diamonds to the idea of love and romance. They originated the idea that an engagement ring should cost two-months salary.

The two-month salary standard is particularly unique, in that it is totally subjective. A ring should mean the same whether the man makes $25,000 a year or $250,000. And yet, the standard sticks due to DeBeers incredible marketing skills.

The De Beers case study is one of the most famous studies when it comes to both advertising and marketing, and is used worldwide as the ultimate example of a successful ongoing marketing campaign.

Planning the Market Research

The most important parts of the marketing case study are:

1. The case study's questions

2. The study's propositions

3. How information and data will be analyzed

4. The logic behind what is being proposed

5. How the findings will be interpreted

The study's questions should be either "how" or "why" questions, and their definitions are the researchers first job. These questions will help determine the study's goals.

Not every case study has a proposition. If you are doing an exploratory study, you will not have propositions. Instead, you will have a stated purpose, which will determine whether your study is successful, or not.

How the information will be analyzed will depend on what the topic is. This would vary depending on whether it was a person, group, or organization. Event and place studies are done differently.

When setting up your research, you will want to follow case study protocol. The protocol should have the following sections:

1. An overview of the case study, including the objectives, topic and issues.

2. Procedures for gathering information and conducting interviews.

3. Questions that will be asked during interviews and data collection.

4. A guide for the final case study report.

When deciding upon which research methods to use, these are the most important:

1. Documents and archival records

2 . Interviews

3. Direct observations (and indirect when possible)

4. Indirect observations, or observations of subjects

5. Physical artifacts and tools

Documents could include almost anything, including letters, memos, newspaper articles, Internet articles, other case studies, or any other document germane to the study.

Developing the Case Study

Developing a marketing case study follows the same steps and procedures as most case studies. It begins with asking a question, "what is missing?"

1. What is the background of the case study? Who requested the study to be done and why? What industry is the study in, and where will the study take place? What marketing needs are you trying to address?

2. What is the problem that needs a solution? What is the situation, and what are the risks? What are you trying to prove?

3. What questions are required to analyze the problem? What questions might the reader of the study have?

4. What tools are required to analyze the problem? Is data analysis necessary? Can the study use just interviews and observations, or will it require additional information?

5. What is your current knowledge about the problem or situation? How much background information do you need to procure? How will you obtain this background info?

6. What other information do you need to know to successfully complete the study?

7. How do you plan to present the report? Will it be a simple written report, or will you add PowerPoint presentations or images or videos? When is the report due? Are you giving yourself enough time to complete the project?

Formulating the Marketing Case Study

1. What is the marketing problem? Most case studies begin with a problem that management or the marketing department is facing. You must fully understand the problem and what caused it. That is when you can start searching for a solution.

However, marketing case studies can be difficult to research. You must turn a marketing problem into a research problem. For example, if the problem is that sales are not growing, you must translate that to a research problem.

What could potential research problems be?

Research problems could be poor performance or poor expectations. You want a research problem because then you can find an answer. Management problems focus on actions, such as whether to advertise more, or change advertising strategies. Research problems focus on finding out how to solve the management problem.

Method of Inquiry

As with the research for most case studies, the scientific method is standard. It allows you to use existing knowledge as a starting point. The scientific method has the following steps:

1. Ask a question – formulate a problem

2. Do background research

3. Formulate a problem

4. Develop/construct a hypothesis

5. Make predictions based on the hypothesis

6. Do experiments to test the hypothesis

7 . Conduct the test/experiment

8 . Analyze and communicate the results

The above terminology is very similar to the research process. The main difference is that the scientific method is objective and the research process is subjective. Quantitative research is based on impartial analysis, and qualitative research is based on personal judgment.

Research Method

After selecting the method of inquiry, it is time to decide on a research method. There are two main research methodologies, experimental research and non-experimental research.

Experimental research allows you to control the variables and to manipulate any of the variables that influence the study.

Non-experimental research allows you to observe, but not intervene. You just observe and then report your findings.

Research Design

The design is the plan for how you will conduct the study, and how you will collect the data. The design is the scientific method you will use to obtain the information you are seeking.

Data Collection

There are many different ways to collect data, with the two most important being interviews and observation.

Interviews are when you ask people questions and get a response. These interviews can be done face-to-face, by telephone, the mail, email, or even the Internet. This category of research techniques is survey research. Interviews can be done in both experimental and non-experimental research.

Observation is watching a person or company's behavior. For example, by observing a persons buying behavior, you could predict how that person will make purchases in the future.

When using interviews or observation, it is required that you record your results. How you record the data will depend on which method you use. As with all case studies, using a research notebook is key, and will be the heart of the study.

Sample Design

When developing your case study, you won't usually examine an entire population; those are done by larger research projects. Your study will use a sample, which is a small representation of the population. When designing your sample, be prepared to answer the following questions:

1. From which type of population should the sample be chosen?

2. What is the process for the selection of the sample?

3. What will be the size of the sample?

There are two ways to select a sample from the general population; probability and non-probability sampling. Probability sampling uses random sampling of everyone in the population. Non-probability sampling uses the judgment of the researcher.

The last step of designing your sample is to determine the sample size. This can depend on cost and accuracy. Larger samples are better and more accurate, but they can also be costly.

Analysis of the Data

In order to use the data, it first must be analyzed. How you analyze the data should be decided upon as early in the process as possible, and will vary depending on the type of info you are collecting, and the form of measurement being used. As stated repeatedly, make sure you keep track of everything in the research notebook.

The Marketing Case Study Report

The final stage of the process is the marketing case study. The final study will include all of the information, as well as detail the process. It will also describe the results, conclusions, and any recommendations. It must have all the information needed so that the reader can understand the case study.

As with all case studies, it must be easy to read. You don't want to use info that is too technical; otherwise you could potentially overwhelm your reader. So make sure it is written in plain English, with scientific and technical terms kept to a minimum.

Using Your Case Study

Once you have your finished case study, you have many opportunities to get that case study in front of potential customers. Here is a list of the ways you can use your case study to help your company's marketing efforts.

1. Have a page on your website that is dedicated to case studies. The page should have a catchy name and list all of the company's case studies, beginning with the most recent. Next to each case study list its goals and results.

2. Put the case study on your home page. This will put your study front and center, and will be immediately visible when customers visit your web page. Make sure the link isn't hidden in an area rarely visited by guests. You can highlight the case study for a few weeks or months, or until you feel your study has received enough looks.

3. Write a blog post about your case study. Obviously you must have a blog for this to be successful. This is a great way to give your case study exposure, and it allows you to write the post directly addressing your audience's needs.

4 . Make a video from your case study. Videos are more popular than ever, and turning a lengthy case study into a brief video is a great way to get your case study in front of people who might not normally read a case study.

5. Use your case study on a landing page. You can pull quotes from the case study and use those on product pages. Again, this format works best when you use market segmentation.

6. Post about your case studies on social media. You can share links on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Write a little interesting tidbit, enough to capture your client's interest, and then place the link.

7 . Use your case study in your email marketing. This is most effective if your email list is segmented, and you can direct your case study to those most likely to be receptive to it.

8. Use your case studies in your newsletters. This can be especially effective if you use segmentation with your newsletters, so you can gear the case study to those most likely to read and value it.

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Study Design 101

Case Report

An article that describes and interprets an individual case, often written in the form of a detailed story. Case reports often describe:

Case reports are considered the lowest level of evidence, but they are also the first line of evidence, because they are where new issues and ideas emerge. This is why they form the base of our pyramid. A good case report will be clear about the importance of the observation being reported.

If multiple case reports show something similar, the next step might be a case-control study to determine if there is a relationship between the relevant variables.


Design pitfalls to look out for

The patient should be described in detail, allowing others to identify patients with similar characteristics.

Does the case report provide information about the patient's age, sex, ethnicity, race, employment status, social situation, medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, previous treatments, past and current diagnostic test results, medications, psychological tests, clinical and functional assessments, and current intervention?

Case reports should include carefully recorded, unbiased observations.

Does the case report include measurements and/or recorded observations of the case? Does it show a bias?

Case reports should explore and infer, not confirm, deduce, or prove. They cannot demonstrate causality or argue for the adoption of a new treatment approach.

Does the case report present a hypothesis that can be confirmed by another type of study?

Fictitious Example

A physician treated a young and otherwise healthy patient who came to her office reporting numbness all over her body. The physician could not determine any reason for this numbness and had never seen anything like it. After taking an extensive history the physician discovered that the patient had recently been to the beach for a vacation and had used a very new type of spray sunscreen. The patient had stored the sunscreen in her cooler at the beach because she liked the feel of the cool spray in the hot sun. The physician suspected that the spray sunscreen had undergone a chemical reaction from the coldness which caused the numbness. She also suspected that because this is a new type of sunscreen other physicians may soon be seeing patients with this numbness.

The physician wrote up a case report describing how the numbness presented, how and why she concluded it was the spray sunscreen, and how she treated the patient. Later, when other doctors began seeing patients with this numbness, they found this case report helpful as a starting point in treating their patients.

Real-life Examples

Hymes KB. Cheung T. Greene JB. Prose NS. Marcus A. Ballard H. William DC. Laubenstein LJ. (1981). Kaposi's sarcoma in homosexual men-a report of eight cases. Lancet. 2(8247), 598-600.

This case report was published by eight physicians in New York city who had unexpectedly seen eight male patients with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). Prior to this, KS was very rare in the U.S. and occurred primarily in the lower extremities of older patients. These cases were decades younger, had generalized KS, and a much lower rate of survival. This was before the discovery of HIV or the use of the term AIDS and this case report was one of the first published items about AIDS patients.

Wu, E. B., & Sung, J. J. Y. (2003). Haemorrhagic-fever-like changes and normal chest radiograph in a doctor with SARS. Lancet, 361(9368), 1520-1521.

This case report is written by the patient, a physician who contracted SARS, and his colleague who treated him, during the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong. They describe how the disease progressed in Dr. Wu and based on Dr. Wu’s case, advised that a chest CT showed hidden pneumonic changes and facilitate a rapid diagnosis.

Related Terms

Case Series

A report about a small group of similar cases.

Preplanned Case-Observation

A case in which symptoms are elicited to study disease mechanisms. (Ex. Having a patient sleep in a lab to do brain imaging for a sleep disorder).

Now test yourself!

1. Case studies are not considered evidence-based even though the authors have studied the case in great depth.

a) True b) False

2. When are Case reports most useful?

a) When you encounter common cases and need more information b) When new symptoms or outcomes are unidentified c) When developing practice guidelines d) When the population being studied is very large

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Case Study On Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

Type of paper: Case Study

Topic: Development , Students , Life , Love , Theory , Human , Education , People

Published: 01/21/2020



Abraham Maslow came up with a theory that dwelt on the critical aspects of psychology and development. The 1943 paper enacted a title that was synonymous of the theme, theory of human motivation (Maslow, 1943). The theory revolved around the empirical analyses of human innate curiosity. The hierarchy developed into a critical substance that denoted a trend of human development. The values and tenets established into a pyramidal presentation from the basal margin to the apex. The physiological needs come at the bottom of the pyramid. It denotes human survival needs and everyone must fulfill them. They include air, water, as well as food. Meeting them ensures continued survival of the person to meet other needs in the hierarchy. Safety need come second. This level ensures perpetuation of the physical needs in the first level. It emerges in personal, financial, health, and insurance securities. The third level contains love, and belonging needs. After becoming physically fit and safe, the individual strives to get love and belonging. The child strives to belong to the parents and guardians while adults try to form meaningful friendships and intimacies. The next level becomes evident in issues of esteem. Everyone establishes means, and ways of getting self-respect and esteem. This level determines the inferiority and superiority complexes of people. The last level denotes a zone of self-actualization. This establishes a creation of full potential realization. According to Maslow, this zone determines the ability of one to achieve and master their true potentials (Maslow, 1954). In my case, the need for belonging and love is suitable in my life in many ways. I grew up in a happy family where my mother and father loved me unconditionally. I had a good belonging at childhood. Today, I find it easy to form friendship and belong. I find it lonely to stay without people more than a day. I value sharing my joy and sadness with the people around me for protection. My self-esteem has encountered an array of challenges over my high school life. I have struggled to earn the respect of other people by doing my best in school. I also try to value other people around me so that they do the same to me. I have come to realize that not everyone will do the same things I do. Therefore, I have learnt to appreciate everyone as they are. My self-esteem is rarely affected because I have learnt to accept certain conditions as they are and I work to improve on what I can.

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper. pp. 91. Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96. Retrieved from Wahba, M. A., & Bridwell, L. G. (1976). Maslow Reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 15(2), 212-240. Do: 10.1016/0030-5073(76)90038-6

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Explained

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory by Abraham Maslow , which puts forward that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

Key Takeaways: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

What Is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

In order to better understand what motivates human beings, Maslow proposed that human needs can be organized into a hierarchy. This hierarchy ranges from more concrete needs such as food and water to abstract concepts such as self-fulfillment. According to Maslow, when a lower need is met, the next need on the hierarchy becomes our focus of attention.

These are the five categories of needs according to Maslow:


These refer to basic physical needs like drinking when thirsty or eating when hungry. According to Maslow, some of these needs involve our efforts to meet the body’s need for homeostasis ; that is, maintaining consistent levels in different bodily systems (for example, maintaining a body temperature of 98.6°).

Maslow considered physiological needs to be the most essential of our needs. If someone is lacking in more than one need, they’re likely to try to meet these physiological needs first. For example, if someone is extremely hungry, it’s hard to focus on anything else besides food. Another example of a physiological need would be the need for adequate sleep.

Once people’s physiological requirements are met, the next need that arises is a safe environment. Our safety needs are apparent even early in childhood, as children have a need for safe and predictable environments and typically react with fear or anxiety when these are not met. Maslow pointed out that in adults living in developed nations, safety needs are more apparent in emergency situations (e.g. war and disasters), but this need can also explain why we tend to  prefer the familiar  or why we do things like purchase insurance and contribute to a savings account.

Love and Belonging

According to Maslow, the next need in the hierarchy involves feeling loved and accepted. This need includes both romantic relationships as well as ties to friends and family members. It also includes our need to feel that we belong to a social group. Importantly, this need encompasses both feeling loved  and  feeling love towards others.

Since Maslow’s time, researchers have continued to explore how love and belonging needs impact well-being. For example, having social connections is related to better physical health and, conversely, feeling isolated (i.e. having unmet belonging needs) has negative consequences for health and well-being.  

Our esteem needs involve the desire to feel good about ourselves. According to Maslow, esteem needs include two components. The first involves feeling self-confidence and feeling good about oneself. The second component involves feeling valued by others; that is, feeling that our achievements and contributions have been recognized by other people. When people’s esteem needs are met, they feel confident and see their contributions and achievements as valuable and important. However, when their esteem needs are not met, they may experience what psychologist Alfred Adler called “feelings of inferiority.”


Self-actualization refers to feeling fulfilled, or feeling that we are living up to our potential. One unique feature of self-actualization is that it looks different for everyone. For one person, self-actualization might involve helping others; for another person, it might involve achievements in an artistic or creative field. Essentially, self-actualization means feeling that we are doing what we believe we are meant to do. According to Maslow, achieving self-actualization is relatively rare , and his examples of famous self-actualized individuals include Abraham Lincoln , Albert Einstein , and Mother Teresa .

How People Progress Through the Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow postulated that there were several prerequisites to meeting these needs. For example, having freedom of speech and freedom of expression or living in a just and fair society aren’t specifically mentioned within the hierarchy of needs, but Maslow believed that having these things makes it easier for people to achieve their needs.

In addition to these needs, Maslow also believed that we have a need to learn new information and to better understand the world around us. This is partially because learning more about our environment helps us meet our other needs; for example, learning more about the world can help us feel safer, and developing a better understanding of a topic one is passionate about can contribute to self-actualization. However, Maslow also believed that this call to understand the world around us is an innate need as well.

Although Maslow presented his needs in a hierarchy, he also acknowledged that meeting each need is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon. Consequently, people don’t need to completely satisfy one need in order for the next need in the hierarchy to emerge. Maslow suggests that, at any given time, most people tend to have each of their needs partly met—and that needs lower on the hierarchy are typically the ones that people have made the most progress towards.

Additionally, Maslow pointed out that one behavior might meet two or more needs. For example, sharing a meal with someone meets the physiological need for food, but it might also meet the need of belonging. Similarly, working as a paid caregiver would provide someone with income (which allows them to pay for food and shelter), but can also provide them a sense of social connection and fulfillment.

Testing Maslow’s Theory

In the time since Maslow published his original paper, his idea that we go through five specific stages hasn’t always been supported by research . In a 2011 study of human needs across cultures, researchers Louis Tay and Ed Diener looked at data from over 60,000 participants in over 120 different countries. They assessed six needs similar to Maslow’s: basic needs (similar to physiological needs), safety, love, pride and respect (similar to esteem needs), mastery, and autonomy. They found that meeting these needs was indeed linked to well-being. In particular, having basic needs met was linked to people’s overall assessment of their lives, and feeling positive emotions was linked to meeting the needs of feeling loved and respected.  

However, although Tay and Diener found support for some of Maslow’s basic needs, the order that people go through these steps seems to be more of a rough guide than a strict rule. For example, people living in poverty might have had trouble meeting their needs for food and safety, but these individuals still sometimes reported feeling loved and supported by the people around them. Meeting the previous needs in the hierarchy wasn’t always a prerequisite for people to meet their love and belonging needs.

Maslow’s Impact on Other Researchers

Maslow’s theory has had a strong influence on other researchers, who have sought to build on his theory. For example, psychologists Carol Ryff and Burton Singer drew on Maslow’s theories when developing their theory of eudaimonic well-being . According to Ryff and Singer, eudaimonic well-being refers to feeling purpose and meaning—which is similar to Maslow’s idea of self-actualization.  

Psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary built on Maslow’s idea of love and belonging needs. According to Baumeister and Leary, feeling that one belongs is a fundamental need, and they suggest that feeling isolated or left out can have negative consequences for mental and physical health.  

Additional References

Modell, Harold, et al. " A Physiologist's View of Homeostasis ." Advances in Physiology Education , vol. 39, no. 4, 1 Dec. 2015, doi:10.1152/advan.00107.2015

Holt-Lunstad, Julianne, et al. " Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review ." Public Library of Science | Medicine , 27 July 2010, doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

Tay, Louis, and Ed Deiner. " Needs and Subjective Well-Being Around the World ." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , vol. 101, no. 2, 2011, pp. 354-365., doi:10.1037/a0023779

Ryff, Carol D. " Eudaimonic Well-Being, Inequality, and Health: Recent Findings and Future Directions ." International Review of Economics, vol. 64, no. 2, 30 Mar. 2017, pp. 159-178., doi:10.1007/s12232-017-0277-4

Pillow, David R., et al. " The Need to Belong and Its Association With Fully Satisfying Relationships: A Tale of Two Measures ." Personality and Individual Differences , vol. 74, Feb. 2015, pp. 259-264., doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.031

example of case study hierarchy of needs

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Case Studies

Case studies are a popular research method in business area. Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment, situation or organization.

According to its design, case studies in business research can be divided into three categories: explanatory, descriptive and exploratory.

Explanatory case studies aim to answer ‘how’ or ’why’ questions with little control on behalf of researcher over occurrence of events. This type of case studies focus on phenomena within the contexts of real-life situations. Example: “An investigation into the reasons of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 – 2010.”

Descriptive case studies aim to analyze the sequence of interpersonal events after a certain amount of time has passed. Studies in business research belonging to this category usually describe culture or sub-culture, and they attempt to discover the key phenomena. Example: “Impact of increasing levels of multiculturalism on marketing practices: A case study of McDonald’s Indonesia.”

Exploratory case studies aim to find answers to the questions of ‘what’ or ‘who’. Exploratory case study data collection method is often accompanied by additional data collection method(s) such as interviews, questionnaires, experiments etc. Example: “A study into differences of leadership practices between private and public sector organizations in Atlanta, USA.”

Advantages of case study method include data collection and analysis within the context of phenomenon, integration of qualitative and quantitative data in data analysis, and the ability to capture complexities of real-life situations so that the phenomenon can be studied in greater levels of depth. Case studies do have certain disadvantages that may include lack of rigor, challenges associated with data analysis and very little basis for generalizations of findings and conclusions.

Case Studies

John Dudovskiy


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  1. Examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: A Guide and How-To

    When looking at physiological needs, Maslow's hierarchy discusses the need for your basic survival needs. These are the needs that contribute to your ability to survive. For example, the need to breathe, drink, eat and dress are physiological needs. This also coincides with your need to bathe and experience general cleanliness.

  2. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    Examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs In general, a person's motivation lies in the level of the hierarchy that they are currently pursuing. Here are some situations that are examples of this. For example, if a person is lost in the woods, they are likely looking to fulfill their physiological needs.

  3. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

    Examples of belongingness needs include friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection, and love. 4. Esteem needs are the fourth level in Maslow's hierarchy and include self-worth, accomplishment, and respect.

  4. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    The higher needs at the top of the hierarchy were most important for the development of personality; however, these higher needs could not be satisfied until the lower needs, or deficiency needs ...

  5. PDF How to write a case study

    This guide explains how to write a descriptive case study. A descriptive case study describes how an organization handled a specific issue. Case studies can vary in length and the amount of details provided. They can be fictional or based on true events. Why should you write one? Case studies can help others (e.g., students, other organizations,

  6. 9 Real Life Examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    The Five Basic needs from bottom to top are: 1. Physiological Needs: Food, water, shelter, sleep, excretion, etc. 2. Safety Needs: A sense of security of the self, job security, health security, safe environment, etc. 3. Belongingness and Love Needs: Strong bonds, love relationships. 4. Esteem Needs: Self-confidence, respect, good reputation, etc.

  7. Case Study: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    Abraham Maslow is a famous psychologist known for creating Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The sections of his hierarchy are divided up into five groups. These sections include: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self actualization.

  8. Maslow Case Study

    Maslow Case Study 15 1) Cindy's first year of life was a very trying one, and according to Maslow, the primary needs on her hierarchy were not being sufficiently met. The first need is to have physiological needs satisfied for sheer survival purposes, such as receiving adequate food, water, elimination and sleep.

  9. Case Study Of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs

    The first type of Maslow's hierarchy is psychological need such as air, food, shelter, water. The second type is safety needs such as security from outside threats and freedom from fear. The third type is belongings need such as friendship, trust and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love.

  10. Korean President Roh Suicide From Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is the peak of experience when a person reaches understanding and harmony with his/herself and the surrounding people. It means that self-actualized people are usually reality-oriented - they can distinguish between real thing and the fraudulent ones (Montana and Charnov 240).

  11. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

    Some examples of physiological needs include: Food Water Breathing Homeostasis In addition to the basic requirements of nutrition, air, and temperature regulation, physiological needs also include shelter and clothing.

  12. (PDF) Application of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in a Historical

    This paper explores the application of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs at the individual level through case studies of four prominent historical figures. Through this analysis, it was found...

  13. How to Write a Case Study: A Breakdown of the Requirements

    First, a topic must be chosen. Then the researcher must state his hypothesis, and make certain it lines up with the chosen topic. Then all the research must be completed. The case study can require both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as interviews with subjects. Once that is all done, it is time to write the case study.

  14. [CAIIB 2022] Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs with Case Study

    This is an important video for all CAIIB Aspirants. This covers Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in detail along with a detailed Case Study.Join my BFM Case Studi...

  15. Case Report

    An article that describes and interprets an individual case, often written in the form of a detailed story. Case reports often describe: Unique cases that cannot be explained by known diseases or syndromes. Cases that show an important variation of a disease or condition. Cases that show unexpected events that may yield new or useful information.

  16. Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs Case Study

    The physiological needs come at the bottom of the pyramid. It denotes human survival needs and everyone must fulfill them. They include air, water, as well as food. Meeting them ensures continued survival of the person to meet other needs in the hierarchy. Safety need come second.

  17. Physiological Needs: Examples

    Physiological needs are the most basic things that everyone needs in order to survive. Things like access to food, water, sleep, medical care, and air are all physiological needs. It is important ...

  18. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Explained

    Watch this video if you want to understand Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how the theory of motivation applies to the workplace using McDonald's as an example. SUBSCRIBE:...

  19. PDF What is a case study?

    Examples of case studies Example 1: nurses' paediatric pain management practices One of the authors of this paper (AT) has used a case study approach to explore nurses' paediatric pain management practices. This involved collecting several datasets: 1. Observational data to gain a picture about actual pain management practices. 2.

  20. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Explained

    Maslow postulated that there were several prerequisites to meeting these needs. For example, having freedom of speech and freedom of expression or living in a just and fair society aren't specifically mentioned within the hierarchy of needs, but Maslow believed that having these things makes it easier for people to achieve their needs.

  21. Case Studies

    This type of case studies focus on phenomena within the contexts of real-life situations. Example: "An investigation into the reasons of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 - 2010." Descriptive case studies aim to analyze the sequence of interpersonal events after a certain amount of time has passed. Studies in business ...