Maslow’S General Components And Job Characteristics


According to Maslow (1943), employees motivate by some general components to meet basic human needs. As a result, he described his theory as a hierarchy identifying five types of human needs. Physiological needs and safety needs are external, while social needs, self-esteem needs and self-actualisation can be achieved internally.

The first human need is physiological needs. It is required for human survival. General components of the first stage are primary needs such as food, water, sleep, shelter. In order to meet the physiological needs, employees receive salary and other benefits from the organisation. Skill variety of employee is a key factor because it determines the level of salary of an employee (Mittelman 1991). As a result, human resource managers provide jobs to employees focusing on skill variety that is intrinsically worthwhile to motivate employees. Managers can create a work environment where they can allocate tasks ensuring skill variety. As a result, it will increase employees’ work effort by motivating them towards the success of the organisation (Shuck & Wollard 2010).

When the physiological needs are relatively satisfied, employees drive themselves towards safety needs. The general components in this level are security, stability and protection from fear. It generally describes the economic safety of an employee in terms of personal, property, health and well-being (Tay & Diener 2011). When an employee enjoys considerable autonomy in the organisation, it is possible to meet the safety needs because they perceive higher job security. Consequently, it increases job satisfaction and changes the outlook of the employees towards the organisation.

When the first two needs are achieved, employees engage themselves in social needs which denotes love, affection and belongingness. According to Rivera (2006), employees in this phase involve themselves in the jobs that increase the amount of respect from peers, affection from customers and liking from boss. It reduces employee turnover and rate of absenteeism of an organisation by developing a culture of trust and honesty. The culture is linked to task significance, where employees can understand the impact of their jobs on colleagues and the whole organisation. Human resource managers can identify this stage by closely monitoring the employees’ performance. (Villarica 2011). Managers also provide feedback on the performance that would motivate the employee to carry on performing and understand the mistakes.

After fulfilling the first three needs, next need is self-esteem needs. At this point, employees desire for achievement, adequacy, competency. A job should have the characteristics of task identity and significance in this stage (Wahba & Bridwell 1976). It portrays a clear direction to the employees regarding their contribution towards the organisation and their accomplishments in the job. Employees want to be accepted and valued by others at this point because employees can apply some decisions to accomplish the work and become responsible for their own decisions. It is therefore related to autonomy of job characteristics as employees enjoy a certain level of freedom in decision making (Kremer & Hammond 2013).

The self-actualisation is the last phase of the hierarchy. The general components at this stage refers to an employee’s potentiality at a maximum level. It is related to skill variety as the potentiality depends on the usage of employees’ skills and abilities through creative working in an organisation. Besides, a leader naturally enjoys substantial level of autonomy over others. Challenging job and extraordinary achievement in work represents autonomy at this stage. However, a study shows that the job characteristics for self-actualisation does not exist in real business world because there is no perfect human being (Sze 2015). It is therefore very difficult for human resource managers to align the job characteristics for engaging employees in this stage.

There are some issues related to Maslow’s hierarchy and job characteristics model. For example, identifying the needs of each employee are always complex and every employee may not experience the human needs in the same order as Maslow described. Therefore, describing job characteristics for each level can also be different. Peer pressure and inferiority complex play a vital role in job characteristics (Heylighen 1992). Thus, strong peer pressure and inferiority complex may demotivate employees. Moreover, when needs of a stage are fulfilled, employees follow the needs of next stage as a motivating factor and job characteristics related to the previous needs no longer exist. (Kaplan 2012)


Engagement is an opportunity for employees to connect with the organisation and improve the motivation level. Motivation has two prime components – organisation and manager. Motivation with organisation is related to values, respect, leadership, trust, work environment; motivation with manager denotes feedback, treated fairly, working relationship. It is therefore believed that when employees’ needs fulfil at work, they experience a positive behavioural and affective processes (Denning 2012). A motivated employee is engaged to work an extra level to meet the organisation’s goals.