The video on Maslow’s hierarchy suggests that every individual has levels of need. These needs require that lower and more fundamental needs be achieved first before higher needs are achieved.
The good thing about ranking of needs is that individuals are motivated to move from basic needs to higher needs, providing a clear map for personal growth. In many business settings, these hierarchy of needs can also be used in product design and marketing.
One of the drawbacks of Maslow’s theory is that it assumes people are homogeneous across cultures and ages in their needs. In reality I have seen some people preferring to do certain things that are way up the ladder of Maslow’s hierarchy of need than the ones that are basic. The same applies to some people who you know are way up there the ladder but are still motivated by lower needs, per Maslow’s ranking.
Consider the following examples:
· Some individuals may prefer going on an expensive vacation while not paying their mortgage or rent.
· Buying an expensive sports car while you don’t have a house.
· A political figure who is rich and has seemingly self-actualized, but is still motivated by security and moves around with bodyguards.
· Although identity is cited as a basic need, the Palestinian people who may be in self-actualization mode may still be motivated by self-identity more than any need above the hierarchy.
· Each time I visit Africa, I talk to young people there most of whom are not gainfully employed. But these people can do anything to get an expensive smart phone even though they cannot afford to buy themselves clothes to wear.
In conclusion, it appears that it is a challenge to stratify people’s needs in clear ranking one after the other. It appears to be too simplistic. Human needs and lives are more complicated than that. The same product or service can satisfy people differently or several needs can be satisfied by the same product at once. The model also seems to not pay attention to cultural differences. Maslow may have been looking at a particular set of culture at a particular time.