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Cross Cultural Application Of Maslows Hierarchy Of Needs Commerce Essay

Surveies have proposed that the effectual usage of human capital is likely the most of import determiner of organizational public presentation ( Adler, 1991 cited in Fey 2005 ) . This has prompted administrations to seek for ways to actuate their employees to work to their full potency and to guarantee optimum organizational public presentation. Once of the most cited and discussed theories of motive is Abrahams Maslow ‘s Hierarchy of demands, which is same as with other popular motive theories, Maslow ‘s theoretical account was based on research carried out on persons from the United States ( Fatehi, 1996, Gibson 1994 ) . While it is sensible to presume that this theory can assist directors in America, the inquiry arises as to its pertinence to international direction. The purpose of this essay is to turn to that inquiry utilizing America and China as instance surveies. This essay is structured into three parts, the first portion of this essay would dwell of an overview of the assorted theories of motive, the 2nd portion would look at Hofstede ‘s cultural dimensions of individuality and Bolshevism while the concluding portion would analyze the pertinence and deductions of utilizing Maslow ‘s Theory of Motivation within individualistic and collectivized civilizations ( America and China severally ) .


Harmonizing to Bateman and Snell ( 2007 ) motive refers to forces that energize, direct and prolong a individual ‘s attempts.

Theories of Motivation

There are two groups under which motive theories are classified viz. : ‘content theories and ‘process ‘ theories. Contented theories, besides known as the ‘need theories ‘ are concerned with the internal factors that motivate an person. These theories suggest that single demands keeps altering and that to actuate persons, it is of import to take into consideration these demands and carry through them. Noteworthy among the content theories is Maslow ‘s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, Herzberg ‘s Hygiene Theory and McClelland ‘s Learned Need Theory. On the other side, the procedure theories of motive are concerned with the how people initiate, direct and maintain their motives. These theories see motive as a rational cognitive procedure. Examples include Adams equity theory ( 1963 ) , which assumes that people expect a balance to be between their parts and their results. They compare their fortunes with other similar people and if there is any unfairness ( if it is to their disadvantage ) they adapt their behavior to decrease that unfairness. Vroom ‘s Expectancy Theory ( 1964 ) is besides portion of the procedure theories.

Maslow Hierarchy of Need Theory:

Maslow ‘s theory suggests that people will fulfill basic-level demands before seting behavior to fulfill higher-level demands. Once a lower demand is satisfied, it ceases to be a incentive and the single advancements to the following demand in hierarchal order.

Beginning: Maslows Hieracy of Needs ;

Such demands have been recognized by Maslow and in their hierarchal order, include physiological demands, safety demands, societal demands, self-pride, and self-actualization. In Maslow ‘s theoretical account, persons at the beginning desire to satisfy physiological demands. Physiological demands are the cardinal homo demands which are necessary to keep life and consist of nutrient, vesture and shelter. Other desires present little motive pending the satisfaction of these basic demands. Equally shortly as physiological demands are satisfied, safety becomes the following demand. Safety characterizes the demand to be liberated of the fright of bodily injury, the privation to see freedom from deficiency of cardinal physiological demands and the desire for self-defense. Subsequently, the societal demand arises as the main demand to be satisfied. The societal demand represents endeavoring for important relationships with other people. Once the demand for important relationship is fulfilled, the single begins to seek more personal acknowledgment and desires esteem or acknowledgment from other people. The satisfaction of this demand produces feelings of assurance, prestigiousness, power, and control. After fulfilling the demand for self-esteem, self-actualization becomes the chief demand. Self-actualization represents the desire to take full advantage of one ‘s abilities and be what one is able to be ( Maslow, 1970, Hersey, 1996, Gambel and Cianci, 2003 ) .

Cultural Dimensions

Culture can be defined as ”a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together represent a design for life ” ( Hill, 2009 p. 89 ) . Harmonizing to Hofstede ( 1984 ) , there are five dimensions of civilization viz. : power distance, uncertainness turning away, individuality vs. Collectivism, Masculinity vs. Femininity.

Power distance relates to the manner a society trades with the fact that people are unequal in rational and physical capablenesss. The uncertainness turning away dimension relates to the extent to which different civilizations socialised their members to accepting uncertainness and equivocal state of affairss ; Harmonizing to Hofstede, members of high uncertainness turning away civilizations place a premium of occupation security, benefits and show a strong opposition to alter while the opposite applies to members of civilizations with low uncertainness turning away. Individualism and Collectivism refers to relationship between the person and his chaps. In individualistic civilizations, bonds between persons are loose and freedom an single accomplishment are valued while in civilizations where Bolshevism is emphasized, bonds are tight and persons are supposed to look out for the involvement of others before his ain. Hofstede ‘s maleness versus muliebrity dimension refers to the distribution of functions between genders in a peculiar civilization. ( Hofstede, 1984, Hill, 2009 ) .

Overview of Individualism and Collectivism


Amongst individualistic societies, Hofstede ( 1984 ) suggests that persons desire and derive a high quality of life as a consequence of success achieved by his or her attempts entirely. Achievement, self-actualization, and self-respect describe an individualistic society and moreover typify self-esteem and self-actualization in Maslow ‘s hierarchy of demands. One conserves self-respect and separates work and private life in an individualistic society. In the work organisation, finishing the occupation undertaking will come before developing relationships.


Hofstede ( 1980 ) suggests that Bolshevism can be described by a tight societal model where differences exist between in-groups and out-groups. Persons expect to be cared for by their chaps, which can dwell of relations, kins, or organisations in exchange for absolute commitment. Hofstede ( 1982 ) besides points out that single are born into a corporate society. Consequently, Hofstede ( 1984 ) suggests that in a leftist society, a high quality of life is defined more in footings of the household and near relations than the person. In footings of the work environment, persons from leftist civilizations do non divide their private lives from their occupations, relationships take precedency over occupation undertakings and importance is placed on the development of relationships as a demand to work together efficaciously.

American and Chinese Culture

To better understand the extent to which assorted factors motivates persons from different civilizations, it of import to look at their national civilization. The national civilization of America and China shall be discussed briefly utilizing Hofstede ‘s ( 1984 ) theoretical account. Despite the short approach of this theoretical account, it is still widely used because it provides informations on features of civilization based on a big figure of respondents from assortment of states.

Dimension America China

Power Distance 40 80

Individuality 91 20

Uncertainty Avoidance 46 40

Masculinity 62 66

Beginning: Hofstede, G ( 1983 ) , ‘ The Culture Relativity of Organisational Practices and Theories ‘ , Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.14 ( 4 ) pp.75-89

American Culture

Hofstede argues that, “ the ordination of demands in Maslow ‘s hierarchy represents a value pick Maslow ‘s value pick. This pick was based on his mid-twentieth century U.S. in-between category values ” ( 1984, p. 396 ) . Maslow ‘s hierarchy was developed during an epoch when the American civilization stressed single accomplishment. The rapid growing of this state, which was facilitated by strong accent on instruction, lifestyle and calling chances, influenced the preparation the demands demonstrated on Maslow ‘s theoretical account ( Gambel and Cianci, 2003 ) . Hamden, Turner and Trompenaar ( 1993 ) argue that the American civilization places a batch of accent on doing the single ego reliant as against being influenced by his or her external environment or others. Nevis ( 1983 ) besides states that the American civilization over the old ages has developed from premises that stress the independency of the person. It can be confirmed from the research done the Maslow ‘s Theory was based on individuality that was prevalent in the American society. The inquiry hence arises as to whether this theory can be applied to civilizations that are high on the Bolshevism dimension.

Chinese civilization

Lit et Al ( 2002 ) province that research on cultural surveies identify household oriented Bolshevism as a cardinal Chinese cultural features. Harmonizing to Triandis ( 1996 ) , the Chinese are collectivized persons. Similarly, Smith and Bond ( 1993 ) points out that a batch of research have discovered that the Chinese topographic point a batch of accent and importance on household values and hierarchy. This feature is besides noticed in the work environment ; Chinese concern patterns are influenced by family-oriented Bolshevism and the construction of their administrations supports the leftist nature ( Nevis 1983, Li et Al, 2000 ) . These factors suggest that a Chinese hierarchy of demands would differ significantly from Maslow ‘s original theoretical account.

The chief issue refering Maslow ‘s Theory and its ability to use to Chinese civilizations is the facets of ego realization and the demand for societal belonging. Other demands such as physiological and safety demands are basic demands that are present in any civilization, although it may non be sought after in the sequence proposed by Maslow. However, his hierarchy of demands topographic points the demand for societal belonging as being desired after physiological and safety demands are met. While self realization is the ultimate demand. While these may be applicable in the American society, such can non be said refering the Chinese. Bing a collectivized civilization, one of the chief focal points of persons in such societies is to look out for the well being of their immediate household and dealingss. Such features are acquired from immature as the persons watch the manner their chaps interact. It is hence non a demand that they aspire to or want but instead 1 that is already embedded in their environment. This demand hence, can non be used as a incentive for persons from leftist civilizations particularly China.

Another job with the application of this theory in leftist civilizations is the importance Maslow topographic points of self realization. Self realization is seen as the main desire of persons. While this is possible in civilizations that are extremely individualistic, the same does n’t use to collectivist civilizations. As demonstrated in the literature on leftist civilizations, the facet of ego is non emphasized while communal thought is promoted in topographic point of individualistic behaviors. In civilizations such as China, the demand for Self-actualisation as proposed by Maslow may non be at all.

The deduction of this is particularly of import for directors who are working in transverse cultural environment. When utilizing Maslow ‘s theory of motive, it should be clear as to who such motives are targeted to. Generalizing this theory as being applicable to persons from diverse civilizations may non be in the best involvement of direction as they may non accomplish their purpose of actuating their employees to full potency. Although Maslow ‘s Hierarchy of Need theory is an of import part that can assist directors in actuating their employees, it should be handled carefully when covering with persons from diverse backgrounds.

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