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Abraham Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs

Claudia Hammond examines the Hierarchy of Needs, part of psychologist Abraham Maslow's theory of motivation: only when basic needs are met can humans aspire to higher achievements.

Claudia Hammond presents the history of psychology series which examines the work of the people who have changed our understanding of the human mind. This week she examines the work of Abraham Maslow who, in the mid-twentieth century, developed a theory of human motivation which was particularly influential in management.

In his 1954 book, Motivation and Personality, Maslow explained his Heirarchy of Needs: how only when basic physiological needs, and those of safety and security, are met can humans aspire to be motivated by higher goals such as status and self-respect. And he maintained that only a small number of exceptional people - he gave Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt as examples - are capable of reaching the highest level of motivation, and are driven by the desire to accomplish all they are capable of.

Maslow was also a pioneer, with Carl Rogers, of Humanistic Psychology - a response to the sharply opposing schools of psychoanalysis and behaviourism which dominated psychology at the time.

Claudia Hammond visits Brandeis University outside Boston, where Maslow was the founding Professor of Psychology, to speak to some who knew him, and hears from psychologists and management experts how his influence persists. Contributors include Margie Lachman - Professor of Psychology at Brandeis University, Lawrence Fuchs - emeritus Professor of American Civilization and Politics at Brandeis (who died last month), and Warren Bennis - Professor of Management and Organization at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Producer: Marya Burgess.

Available now

28 minutes


  • Fri 19 Apr 2013 11:00