Esteem Needs

The next need to emerge in the hierarchy is the need for self-respect and the esteem of others. Esteem should be "stable [and] firmly based," by which Maslow meant that it should result from our actual abilities and achievements. Reputation based on false premises would not meet this need.

We can interpret achievement strivings as manifestations of the esteem needs since society honors those who achieve. Many successful entrepreneurs, for example, whose physiological, safety, and love needs are sufficiently met, turn their motivation career success. Maslow's hierarchical conception also suggests that people who feel unloved, perhaps sensing parental rejection, will continue to function at the third level of the hierarchy and will not be motivated by esteem needs.

When these needs are not met, we feel inferior. Maslow (1943) noted that Adler, who wrote so much about feelings of inferiority, paid more attention to the esteem needs than did Freud. If the needs are met, we feel "self-confidence, worth, strength, capability and adequacy of being useful and necessaiy in the world" (in Lowry, 1973, p- 162). Research supports this idea; undergraduates who scored high on a measure of self-actualization (the Personal Orientation Inventory, described later) also scored higher on a measure of Physical Self-Presentation Confidence than those less self-actualized (Ryck-man et al., 1985).

Although esteem needs are the highest of Maslow's deficiency motivations, they are still only the fourth of five developmental steps. The highest level, self-actualization, is so different from the others that it stands alone as a nondeficiency motive.

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