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Management Theory of Abraham Maslow

Jeanne Dininni

Can Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs help you build a better business?

The Abraham Maslow business theory provided the basis for an entirely new management model which has since become known as "enlightened management."

Along with several other, more employee-focused theories of management that began to emerge at about the same time, Maslow's management theory changed the way business owners viewed their employees. Instead of asking, "What can my employees do for me?" they began to ask, "What can I do for my employees to help them better meet the needs of the company?"


Maslow's management theory is illustrated by a pyramid, divided horizontally into 5 sections, each one representing one of the basic human needs that motivate our actions. The needs are, from most basic (base of the pyramid) to most fully realized (top of the pyramid) physiological, safety, social, ego and self-actualization needs. As lower level needs are met, the employee grows freer to focus on the higher motivational levels, such as pursuing status, recognition and excellence, as well as self-fulfillment. Some advantages your company will enjoy when your employees move beyond the lower-level needs and begin progressing toward self-actualization are these:

1. Better employee focus and performance;

2. Greater "ownership" of task and project outcomes;

3. Improved attitude and loyalty; and

4. Increased motivation and engagement.


Take a leadership course which includes Maslow management theory

Many leadership development courses and training programs are based on Abraham Maslow management theory. If you own your own company, the principles set down by the father of enlightened management will only help you gain greater insight into the most important aspects of motivating your employees to make your company successful.

Train your managers to effectively incorporate Abraham Maslow business theory into your business

Various training programs can help you prepare your managers to confidently implement Maslow's behaviorist management theory in your workplace.

Hire a consultant who will incorporate Abraham Maslow theory into the approach used

A good management consultant can guide you in finding the best way to use the Maslow business management model to motivate your employees--including your managers. An experienced leadership consultant can also advise your managers on how best to implement the principles of Maslow on management with their teams.

  • Maslow's business theory has stood the test of time. While Maslow made various changes to his model over the years, increasing its original 5 need levels to 7, then later 8; his changes have made the model even more useful. Like Maslow, don't be afraid to experiment with his behaviorist management theory, adapting it to your own company's unique employee dynamics. This is the best way to really put it to work for your business.
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Jeanne Dininni