Maslow's Essay

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Abraham H Maslow was a psychologist who developed a theory that sought to explain human behaviour in terms of basic needs for survival and growth. (www.enotes.com. 2002). This paper will define Maslow’s theory (a ‘hierarchy of needs’) and explain how differences in priorities influence and inform upon consumer behaviour.
Maslow developed his ‘hierarchy of needs’ in an attempt to describe patterns of human behaviour, and to try to understand the processes behind the actions of consumers. In essence, his theory centres on the idea of ‘motivation’, which he sees as a driving force in a person’s movement from one level of need priorities to the next.

The above diagram, though not of Maslow’s own design, suggests
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(The Psychology of Abraham Maslow. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1970.)

When looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, it is important to understand that at any point in time you can temporarily regress back to any level within the hierarchy no matter what qualification or status you are. (B.Poston. An Exercise in Person Exploration: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). If a lower level set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritise those needs by focusing their attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level.(The Psychology of Abraham Maslow. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1970.) It leaves the individual no option but to look for substitutes to satisfy there reprioritised needs. This can happen due to unforeseen circumstances such as an economic downturn resulting in a loss of employment. Therefore the affected individual’s attitude towards their current situation will likely contribute towards a shift in their need priorities.

There are aspects to this theory that go unnoticed. For instance, when specifying the differences in consumers ‘need priorities’ that evidently affect the consumer behaviour of individuals. The term ‘need priorities’ refers to a consumers desire to have something, for example, the need for food to live. (mason.gmu.edu. 2004). Consumers will prioritise their needs in preference of which one they want first. Maslow first