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Does Maslow’s hierarchy of needs apply to all cultures?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Basis of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
  3. Description of each of the needs.
  4. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a universal theory.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. References.

Motivating employees is one of the primary responsibilities of a manager in any organization. It is critical in the management practice to understand what motivates people. Motivation is defined as ?a psychological process through which unsatisfied wants or needs lead to drives that are aimed at goals or incentives? (Hodgetts and Luthans, 2000, p.372). The human motivation process is universal but it is important to understand that the content of the process and the goals that are followed by individuals will be influenced by their culture. Nowadays, thanks to the globalization process, the cultural diversity of employees in organizations is increasing. What motivates people in one country is not obliged to work in another one. So in order to increase performance in the workplace, managers face the need to understand the different cultures and their needs.

[...] Moreover, self-actualization does not have the same meaning for Chinese people as in Western cultures. In China, ?self actualisation is in the service of the community?.[3] Nevis decided to review Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to reflect Eastern culture's needs. In the Chinese situation, there are four levels of needs. The first one and so the lowest-level need is belonging in a social sense, the second needs to be fulfilled are physiological needs, then the security need and finally self-actualization but according to the Chinese meaning. [...]


[...] Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is so acceptable for individualist cultures such as the US or every Anglo culture. But regarding other cultural contexts, it does not seem to make sense. Indeed, this model is too narrow to be applied globally. Other theories such as Hofstede's cultural dimensions, analysed previously, seems to be better to understand international workers' motivations. Understanding the motivators of a culturally diverse workforce is one of the major challenges facing international managers today. International managers have to take into account cultural differences between their employees in designing an HR policy such as monetary incentives, job design, performance appraisal and feedback. [...]

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