Fundamental Flaw In Maslow's Pyramid

Hierarchy of Needs
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Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany

Fundamental Flaw In Maslow's Pyramid

As convincing as Maslow looks at first sight, there is a fundamental error in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. His pyramid is driven by self-actualization, i.e. egocentrism. But MEANING matters more.
"The man who has a why to live bears almost every how." as the Austrian psychologist Victor Frankl emphasized. But meaning takes place on every stage of the pyramid or not. The pyramid suggests that meaning increases the closer you come to the top and this is just not the case. “Only in the degree man fulfills meaning, to this very degree he fulfills himself: Then individual fulfillment is reached on its own – as an effect of self actualization, and not as its aim.”

For example, a teacher might be paid less than a manager, nevertheless he will regard his work not as less meaningful. A manager might receive an extraordinary high payment, nevertheless he will suffer from burn-out, if he is working hard, but does not find anymore meaning in what he is doing.

It is not the task of managers to create meaning for people but it is their responsibility to enable as many persons as possible to find meaning by fulfilling their task by way of designing organization.
The hypocrisy of managers is to pretend that they create value to their customers, but treating their own people in an inconsistent, unaccountable way, making it hard for them to find meaning.

 

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