Friday, June 18, 2010

Organisational application of Maslow's hierarchy of needs

I was recently reminded of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and realised it can be applied quite effectively to the organisational sphere in many areas.

For example to customers:
The physiological aspects are represented by the basic performance of a product or service - does the product work?
The safety needs correspond to the reliability and security of the product – will it let me down or cause harm?
The belonging needs relate to the social aspects of products of service – is this the brand that everyone is wearing?
Esteem often relates more to the transaction itself than the product – did the sales assistant treat me with respect? However, esteem can also be product related – will people admire me when I buy this product?
Self-actualisation occurs when a product or service allows the buyer to be creative or fulfil capabilities.

Alternatively it can also be applied to employees:
The physiological needs are salary and wages;
Safety is job security;
Belonging means being accepted in the workplace and being part of a team;
Esteem involves being respected by management and colleagues; and
Self-actualisation is achieved when the employee's abilities are fully utilised.

For any effective organisation, the aim is to meet the needs in order, from lowest to highest.

Thus, for a supplier, the organisation would first ensure that a fair price was being paid for the supplies; then offer security to the supplier in the form of long-term contracts; then make the supplier part of the team and involve them in discussion and planning. Treating the supplier with respect and concern is also important. Finally, using the skills and knowledge of the supplier to create higher end-value completes the process.

Many organisations would benefit from looking at what level they are currently meeting various stakeholders needs and committing to strategies to ensure higher needs are met.

The benefit to meeting those higher needs, quite simply – satisfied, loyal customers; engaged and committed employees; proactive and innovative suppliers which will result in improved profits.

Ivy Business Consulting can assist with strategy development to meet the higher needs.

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