Self-Actualization Needs

How Self-Actualization Needs Enhance Work Motivation

Self-actualization is a person’s desire to reach his or her full potential— Abraham Maslow
  • Self-Actualization Needs are the need for full development of one’s potential. Challenging job assignments, discretion over work activities, promotion opportunities and encouraging creativity can fulfill these needs.

This need structure is of the highest order, becoming prominent when all other needs are satisfied. It involves one’s desire to reach fullest potential (Hersey, Blanchard, 1977). Furthermore, this potential is only feasible based on awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.

Douglas (1980) characterized self-actualized employees as those finding meaning and personal growth in work; they actively seek new responsibilities, and work becomes play.

Further, these people reinforce self (intrinsic reinforcement) rather than seeking reinforcement from others (extrinsic reinforcement). Extrinsic reinforcement characterizes people at the esteem levelOpens in new window.

Self-actualized people will accomplish, tell the leader what is required, and then go on with responsibilities. They are dependent, interdependent, and independent according to their own direction and as the situation demands. A worker at this level strives to help self and others in the environment without being told to do so.