Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow postulated the most quoted theories relating to motivation of humans being at the work place through outlining the characteristics of needs. In his theory, Maslow was of the view that the needs of each human being occur in a hierarchy owing to the importance attached to each of the category. His theory was displayed through indication of the specific needs in an ascending order. From the chart, it is visible that when one level of need is fulfilled, the category of needs stops being a motivator and the individual moves to a higher category in the chart. The needs are outlined follows in a descending order.


The need to go beyond self-interest for the good of others is referred to as transcendence. As the highest of needs, Maslow posited its existence after all the other needs had been documented as suggested by Geller (2001). The movie ‘Sam I Am’ is characterized by transcendence is most instances. From the onset, Sam sacrifices heavily in order to keep his daughter happy. He is the only dad at the park and school functions. Similarly, he is furious when Rita objects to his offer to pay the bill notwithstanding the fact that Rita earns more than him. At his lawyer’s office, Sam forgets his woes and empathizes with the wailing woman who seeks to revoke custody of her son.

Sam’s friends are also transcended by offering to top-up his ability to pay for Lucy’s shoes. Rita, who is known for her hunger for success decides to represent Sam pro bono, and it is evident that, at one point, she pleads Sam not to give up. Annie is overwhelmed by the prospects of Lucy falling into foster care and agrees to testify in favor of Sam’s ability despite the fact that she has been indoors for over a quarter century.

Differences in the capacities at the work place present the best of opportunity to sacrifice on behalf of peers. The varied needs are at the workplace including social, financial and professional challenges present opportunities for workmates to assist one another.


As outlined by Galindo (2003), the need to achieve one potential crops up after a couple of other need are fulfilled. The tendency to beat all barriers and rise to the top is referred to as self-actualization. As observed from the DVD, it is clear that Sam’s dream has always been to be allowed to make coffee at Starbucks. As a result, it is the basis of his efforts at the work place. In her place, Rita has a burning desire to become the best lawyer and become rich. As a result, her friends are baffled when she announces that she is representing Sam pro bono. She also strives to be a better mother to her son who has grown distant from his parents.

The work place is complicated by the fact that competition comes in the way of self-actualization. As a result, it is imperative that fairness prevails in order to quench the thirst in relation to promotions and other related rewards.

Aesthetic needs

As posited by Adair (2007), the search for beauty and form is referred to as aesthetic needs. Human beings sometimes fall into ‘sickness’ which can only be relieved by beauty and circumstances which poses certain aesthetic characteristics. Sam and Lucy are fond of making ‘orgami’ birds when confronted with distressing circumstances. Similarly, Sam is determined to make Lucy happy by availing attractive presents to her during her birthdays. Similarly, Sam attaches significant importance to how his food is presented in the hotel owing to the fact that he knows that ‘the customer is always right’. Rita on the other hand is a favorite of parties to celebrate success in her career.

The workplace should be an interesting place to be in, for both the workers and clients. As a result, it is imperative that the management present an interesting scenario to keep the workers motivated.

Need To Know and Understand

Individuals develop this needs whereby they desire to augment their knowledge capacity for their own good. Taking care of little Lucy is major challenge to Sam since he has no prior information. However, Annie is helpful and advises him on how and when to feed the infant. As she grows older, Lucy is full of questions regarding the world and asks mountains of questions to her ever-patient father. Rita goes into the pains of explaining the legal intricacies to Sam who is unaware of the meaning of the proceedings. Sam is distraught that his daughter is not learning at the normal rate. As an explanation, Lucy explains that she does not want to appear smarter than her dad does. However, he is very receptive when she advises him on the correct pronunciation of the vocabulary.

At the work place, it is however different form the scenario of Sam. Knowledge and skills are crucial to achievement of goals. As a result, ample training is required for each job category in addition to the mental capacity to perform the functions.

Esteem needs

The need for a positive image and respect underlining respect by others is a major motivator to individuals. Self-esteem affects the way we relate with others and how others view us. This makes a major contribution to our relationship with peers and the people we are in contact with. Similarly, Rita’s effort to brush away Sam backfire when Sam confronts her infont of her friends, and she ends up representing him pro bono, as a gesture of good faith owing to Sam’s situation.

However, the need to protect ones self-image turns against Sam when he bows to pressure from the prosecution and needs consenting that he is not capable of providing the best for Lucy. This comes after Annie and the psychologist (shrink) bow down to pressure from questions by both sides of the counsel. As a result, the prosecution wins the case. On another occasion, Sam is at loggerheads with Rita after his proposition to foot the bill.

Fulfillment of self-esteem needs is challenging owing to the realities involved. Therefore, each worker has to be aware of the situation of his or her workmates in order to avoid raising sensitive issues.

Belongingness and love needs

Human beings are social beings. As a result, each individual seeks to become and remain part of a group. The search for acceptance by others motivates each individual to contribute to the activities of the group in order to promote cohesion (Adair, 2007).

Sam’s four friends are committed to the video-night as a way of keeping together. As a result, when Sam fails to show, they punctually show up at his door. Similarly, Sam’s efforts are evidently geared towards maintaining his friendship and togetherness with Lucy and he does not allow his handicap to come in the way. Lucy on her part prefers to appear ‘not brighter’ than Sam as a way of remaining on the same level, a gesture which Sam disapproves of. When Lucy is taken into foster care, Sam cannot help but change residence to be close to his daughter.

The work place is bound to find ways of fulfilling this need. Concern for workmates is necessary as a gesture of togetherness. In this accord, George agrees to testify in favor of Sam at the trial in addition to appreciating Sam’s efforts through a promotion when he needed one.

Safety needs

Safety needs, also referred to as security needs address the search for circumstances that are free of danger (Nelson & Campbell, 2007). In the work place, job security is an example of a safety need. Each individual is concerned about the terms of their employment and are always in search of an assurance by their employer that heir services are constantly needed.

Sam was worried that Lucy was not getting the best she deserved owing to his disability. As a result, he was always on his toes making sure that he worked hard in spite of the fact that he had to take her with him to work. Fortunately, Annie, who has been indoors for 28 years, accepted to baby-sit Lucy as Sam went to work. When the custody hearings start, Sam is so worried of losing Lucy that he seeks the help of an attorney. His attorney, Rita, is on the verge of a breakdown from worry that her son does not love her and that she is not sufficiently mothering him.

Safety needs are fulfilled through reassurance in both words and actions at the work place. As observed, Rita promises to represent Sam and she puts her best foot forward to do so. George also keeps his promise of promoting Sam to enable him make coffee and Sam is elated to be able to foster the customer satisfaction.

Physiological needs

Physiological needs are the most basic of needs. As a result, they are located at the bottom of the chart representing the most crucial of all motivating factors. Human beings cannot survive without physiological needs, since they are composed of life-sustaining needs. Such needs include food, sex and air as posited by Griffin & Moorhead (2009).

As observed from the movie, Sam, Rita and most of the other individuals were involved in some form of income generating activity. The main struggle was to ensure that their check at the end of the month was sufficient to cater for their needs. One of Sam’s friends was willing to contribute to the cost of Lucy’s shoe but reserved some money for his needs. In spite of the physical and emotional stress involved, the social worker was determined to cater for all her duties however unpleasant their outcome was. In the workplace, it is necessary engage in activities that accrue sufficient wages at the end of the period to enable one to afford the basic needs of life.

The work place is full of pressure from client and as observed from the movie, Rita as always on the rush to such an extend that’ she barely chewed her food. At one point in time, Sam helped himself to a customer’s order. As a result, it is imperative that the workplace has a schedule that recognizes the existence of these needs as a means of improving productivity of the workforce.

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