The Missing Pieces in Maslow’s Need Hierarchy as per The Key
In his discussion on consciousness, William James (1890) anticipated the model later proposed by Maslow, describing the different constituents of the empirical self on “a hierarchical scale, with the bodily ‘me’ at the bottom, the spiritual ‘me’ at the top, and the extra-corporeal material selves and the various social selves in-between. The Key feels the prototype is more relevant for consumers and brands while Maslow’s pyramid is more relevant for employees and organisations.

Examining the different selves, James also described the existence of instinctive impulses acting as functional means to attain personal goals that fall within bodily, social or spiritual self-seeking and progress endeavours. But the needs still had a hierarchy.

The psychological definition of a need is that it is a trait that impels an individual to pursue a goal through an action that also gives purpose, meaning and direction for the behavior of the individual. The Key believes that needs as defined by Maslow could be split into ‘having’ and ‘being. As it happens, Maslow considered ‘having’ as the lower order need or materialistic while the three upper stages reinforce the concept of ‘being’ i.e. they are non-materialistic and holistic in nature.

The Key however does not believe in this concept of the hierarchical development of needs since it has been demonstrated that individuals can simultaneously desire and search for more than one need at a time and may well prioritize them differently and within each life stage.

An epitome of no-hierarchy-no-order of human needs is Mr Rajat Gupta. He is an American businessman and philanthropist who served a two-year term in U.S. federal prison for insider trading. Whether or not he received any tangible benefit from Raj Rajaratnam in return for the profitable insider information that he relayed to Rajaratnam is not what is germane here. Having achieved everything of Maslow’s highest order of needs, Mr Gupta did leak confidential company information thereby reversing Maslow’s need order.

We’re taught that we’re thinking creatures that feel. The truth is we’re feeling creatures that think. And we do not think in a linear manner. We feel cold, so we reach out for the blanket. Lack of a blanket does not prevent us from feeling other needs and desires – of ‘having’ or ‘being’

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