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Abraham Maslow developed an extension to the motivation studies field. The fundamental concept of Maslow's work was that people worked to fulfill needs, as one need is fulfilled another need arises.

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The works of Maslow have been enshrined in a pyramid structure often dubbed 'Maslow hierarchy of needs' as shown below:

The 'Maslow hierarchy of needs' begins at the bottom. The first reason we come to work is to make sure our basic living needs are met, this is in the sense that we have money for food, heating, lighting, shelter. Once we have achieved this need, Maslow argued that we all then want to  have a sense of security at work to ensure that we can safely maintain our basic needs. The next stage to this is a need to have a sense of belonging, this where an individual wants to feel that they belong  in a job, this would cover a sense of being needed in a team effort, being appreciated by those people who work around you. Once a sense of belonging is established, we then develop a need for having our egos/self esteem pampered, where we develop high levels of self respect and stand out as individuals. The final step which is rarely achieved is self actualisation where an individual feels they have pushed themselves to the their personal limit and capabilities.   

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The biggest problem with the model presented by Maslow that it assumes that everyone will want to achieve each step in exactly the same manner. Although we all come to work to maintain our basic needs, we are not all motivated in the same manner, some of us like the social belonging, some of enjoy the pushing ourselves as far as possible, etc. Maslow's work does offer an interesting slant to the field of motivational studies.

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(c)  Est 08/00 - Last Updated 28/05//2001