Updated Maslow

People increasingly value seemingly irrational things. A product’s price is often outweighed by sustainable and ethical efforts in its manufacturing. When applying for a new job, the salary may come second to the mission of the company you’re applying to.

Although it may seem to be completely against our instincts, it probably happened to every one of us at some point in our lives that we decided to pursue something bigger than ourselves. Take, for example, parents, as their own interests are often far less important to them compared to ensuring the health and well being of their child.

There is no need to introduce A.H. Maslow to the readers of TDLY magazine. Being one of the most eminent psychologists of modern times and the author of the famous ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ pyramid, he is one of the most cited psychologists in introductory psychology textbooks.

However, as researched by Koltko-Rivera in 2006, the version of the hierarchy depicted below is inaccurate according to Maslow’s later description of the theory. In 1969, Maslow himself amended his model from 1943. Yet, his later descriptions never earned the appropriate attention of the academic community and so the complete theory is not commonly taught even nowadays.

traditional maslow

As a reminder, the theory says that a person’s motivation alters based on the stage on the pyramid he or she currently is. The rules are that we go from the bottom to the top and in that given order. According to Maslow’s amendments, however, there is not self-actualisation right at the top of the pyramid as self-transcendence should be placed even higher. Contrary to self-actualisation level which stands for the fulfilment of personal potential, self-transcendence represents a person’s need to further something beyond himself or herself and to experience a communion with something above oneself.
updated maslow hierarchy

This “new” perspective may help to shed some light on altruism, religion, terrorism and social movements in general. In fact, the application ranges across all social studies. In terms of business, for example, it clarifies that a brand’s social responsibility activities may not only positively impact a brand’s image but also fulfil the CEO’s self-transcendence needs. Moreover, it may fulfil customers’ self-transcendence needs as by purchasing a particular brand, they also support some cause (e.g. charitable). For instance, Steve Job’s passion for technology or Elon Musk’s devotion to environmentalism, enabled them to authentically build the brands of Apple and Tesla on these foundations which consequently transcended to both consumers and the employees of the companies by fulfilling their self-transcendence needs.