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Abraham Maslow is considered along with Erich Fromm to have laid the foundations of humanistic psychology. Traditional views of psychology focused on individuals with problems. Maslow’s work focused on the health personality. Maslow’s views of “self-actualization” are similar to concepts like Carl Rogers’ “self-realization,” Fromm’s unfolding of human power or “aliveness”, and Victor Frankel’s “will to meaning” (Du Bois 2002, 10). Maslow’s focus on life enhancement stems from his beliefs about knowing and how we acquire knowledge. Humanism and traditional science must be blended, “We need to reconceptualize science and formulate a humanistic science that embraces both ways of knowing” (Du Bois 2002, 11). It is a blend of these ways of knowing that serves as a foundation of Maslow’s theories and concepts from his hierarchy of needs and motivation to self-actualization.

Maslow’s theories of motivation are particularly useful when applied to the organizational setting. Maslow theorized that individuals were motivated by the fulfillment of certain needs. These needs he constructed to be pyramidal in significance and achievement. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs consists of higher and lower orders. Lower order needs at the base of the pyramidal hierarchy include physio


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Maslow. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:40, October 22, 2014, from
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