Maslow's theory of personality rests on several basic assumptions regarding motivation. First, Maslow (1970) adopted a holistic approach to motivation: That is, the whole person, not any single part or function, is motivated.
Second, motivation is usually complex, meaning that a person's behavior may spring from several separate motives. For example, the desire for sexual union may be motivated not only by a genital need but also by needs for dominance, companionship, love, and self-esteem. Moreover, the motivation for a behavior may be unconscious or unknown to the person. For example, the motivation for a college student to make a high grade may mask the need for dominance or power. Maslow's acceptance of the importance of unconscious motivation represents one important way hi which he differed from Gordon Allport (Chapter 13). Whereas Allport might say that a person plays golf just for the fun of it, Maslow would look beneath the surface for underlying and often complex reasons for playing golf.
A third assumption is that people are continually motivated by one need or another. When one need is satisfied it ordinarily loses its motivational power and is
Part III Humanistic/Existential Theories then replaced by another need. For example, as long as people s hunger needs are frustrated, they will strive for food; but when they do have enough to eat, they move on to other needs such as safety, friendship, and self-worth.
Another assumption is that all people e\'erywhere are motivated by the same basic needs. The manner hi which people in different cultures obtain food, build shelters, express friendship, and so forth may vary widely, but the fundamental needs for food safety, and friendship are common to the entire species.
A final assumption concerning motivation is that needs can be arranged on a hierarchy (Maslow, 1943, 1970).
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