OtherPapers.com - Other Term Papers and Free Essays

Critically Evaluate Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as Way of Understanding Employees' Motivation in Contemporary Chinese Business

Essay by   •  November 24, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,271 Words (6 Pages)  •  2,272 Views

Essay Preview: Critically Evaluate Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as Way of Understanding Employees' Motivation in Contemporary Chinese Business

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

As the globalization is stepping up, Chinese business is facing all kinds of opportunities. However, at the same time, challenges also appear for Chinese employers to cope with. Giving the fact that a suitable method of administration can bring a large profit, it is important for Chinese employers to learn to motivate their employees so that they can acquire higher revenue. Although as some economists argued that there is not any clear evidence to support the order of the hierarchy of needs and it is unsuitable to be applied in a collectivistic nation like China, Maslow's hierarchy of needs can certainly provide guidance for Chinese employers to satisfy their employees' needs and it is a necessary way of understanding the employees in contemporary Chinese business, if it desires to be the top around the world.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs itself is an extraordinary theory. It is always described as a pyramid, in which the most significant needs, which are called physiological needs, are at the bottom and then safety needs, love and belonging, esteem and finally, self-actualization is at the highest level (Steere, 1988).In the field of business, this hierarchy clearly points out employees' different needs that they are working for, which can provide managers with more knowledge of how to motivate their employees. This theory, according to Neher (1991), was universally accepted and considered as a useful theory, even after Maslow's death 20 years.

Although Maslow's theory has had a significant influence on the management for several decades, it still has several weaknesses. First of all, as Maslow is an outstanding psychologist, his original aim to put forward this theory was to deal with psychological problems, rather than to cope with business problems, which means that this theory is not developed for business solely (Salas, 2008). As a result of this, Maslow's theory can just play the role as a consult for the employers, rather than fully to be applied in business. Secondly, some professors state that Maslow's hierarchy of needs should be considered again because it is hard to find out any evidence to support the order of the hierarchy. For example, human may suffer from starvation for the lack of other needs in the hierarchy (Wahba et al, 1976), shared the same concern by a Chilean economist Manfred.

Finally, the root reason for its weakness is the background of its development. Maslow's theory is based on the U.S. in that Maslow developed and tested his theory solely in American society and that just did research on very limited population, including some successful individuals and healthy university students (Ahmad, 2009). This weakness of original data can contribute to the unreliability of Maslow's hierarchy because the U.S. is a highly individualistic nation whilst China is a typically collectivistic nation (Fatehi, 1996 as cited in Gambrel and Cianci, 2003). In China, which has held the collectivistic culture since thousands of years ago, Chinese employees are more likely to be motivated if the goal of work emphasizes on the whole society, rather than employees their own (Schwartz, 1999 as cited in Jaw et al, 2007).

However, apart from these weaknesses, Maslow's hierarchy of needs can still be considered as a great way of understanding employees' motivation. As China Daily (2010) reported that a younger generation were not willing to sacrifice themselves to help achieve their employers' goals and that they were always changing their jobs. This report reflected that this new generation were much more individualistic than the generations before, which means that many of them pay more attention to self-actualization. This is a strong evidence to support that self-actualization is more essential than the other needs in the hierarchy. Moreover, this generation are increasingly taking up more percentage of the employees in Chinese society now. As a result, with more young people taking up more positions in Chinese business in the future, Maslow's theory must be more significant. Furthermore, Maslow pointed out that several needs are connected to each other, which means human may need more than one need at a time.

For instance, Foxconn can be a typical example as Maslow's theory's terrible application in contemporary application in China. In this case, eighteen employees attempted to suicide and eventually fourteen people died and all of them are around twenty years old. Several factors drive them to die, including payment, working environment and relationship with



Download as:   txt (8.6 Kb)   pdf (113 Kb)   docx (12.1 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on OtherPapers.com