Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the well-known pyramid, outlining what every human needs to survive and thrive in society. The foundation is built on your basic needs of food, water, shelter, safety, and then additional layers are added on—things like belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The idea is that to move on to the next layer, your needs in an area must be more or less satisfied. Thus, someone without shelter is unable to find belonging, someone without belonging can’t realize self-esteem, and so on.
That got us curious: could we apply the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy to business? If so, how does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs relate to organizational culture and employee experience? With that, our research program was born. It turns out that Maslow laid an excellent foundation for further research and work on corporate culture in the 21st Century. Our preliminary findings, based on focus groups with mid and large-size organizations, explore how leaders are addressing employee needs and how Maslow reinvented can help organizations realize self-actualizing leaders and build self-actualizing organizations.