Integrating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Training and Technology

The article being reviewed was written by S. G. Benson and S. P. Dundis and was published in 2003 in the Journal of Nursing Management, 11, pgs 315 to 320.  It explores the integrating of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with training and technology, its role in business and other organizational settings. It has and continues to be used to understand human behavior. It is studied in various disciplines—in business, in the social sciences, in adult learning, and in education.  If employers, educational institutions, families—in fact, everyone—were to adhere to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—the great motivator—more progress would be made in all of life’s arenas.    For example, if employers do not even pay certain of their employees what is now known as a living wage, so that they can obtain adequate housing, food, good water and other basic physiological needs, they will probably not be motivated to work as hard and well as they might be able to if they had the means to take good care of their bodies.

The next rung on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, called the safety needs, states that individuals need to feel safe, secure, appreciated and needed.  Workers will perform better if they know their jobs are secure, if they are needed, if their work is appreciated and if their stress level is not too high.  However, all too often just the reverse happens and motivation, morale, and calibre of work suffer.  Therefore, in this time of so many health care changes and requirements for quality improvement, it is of utmost importance that managers understand how to” motivate the staff and leaders motivate the entire organization”(p.316).

Once the basic and safety needs have been met, individuals can move on to the third stage, which is referred to as belonging/social needs.  In this stage, individuals look for friendships, love, belonging, and secure relationships.  Benson and Dundis speak of Maslow’s model in terms of four levels, but many authors depict Maslow’s diagram with five steps.  Benson and Dundis do not mention the popular fourth step, the self-esteem level, which is really a great motivator, because virtually everyone wants and needs some level of self-esteem, from the minimum wage employee to a senator. While not mentioning self-esteem as a level, they do, however, discuss it in their article.  Benson and Dundis do mention the last level, the self-actualization level, the point where one can “be all that one can be” (ibid.).

Benson and Dundis realize that feeling socially uncomfortable in the workplace can be quite an ordeal, yet this is something that is increasingly happening in the highly pressured work environment.  Therefore, Benson and Dundis say that although Maslow recommended training to only the levels of security and self-actualization, it should also be extended to social belongingness and self-esteem because, along with its technical part, it also has an important social result.  It provides employees the opportunity to get to know each other that is so often impossible at work.  However, more and more of this training is taking place electronically and many employees bemoan the lack of face-to-face communication that it brings.  They also experience stress when they are unable to keep up with all the technological advances.  Technological education is, however, provided to counter this and should be embraced by employees, if possible, because “technology provides everyone that has access to it, unlimited means of learning, exploring, and developing; a way to become self-actualized” (p.319).


Benson, S. G. And Dundis, S. P.  Understanding and motivating health care employees: Integrating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, training and technology.  Journal of Nursing Management, 2003, 11, 315 – 320.