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Activity 3: Money and Motivation

Activity 3: Money and Motivation
Activity 3: Money and Motivation

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Handout 2, Economic Adaptation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, for all participants.
  • Write the following list of needs on newsprint, and post:
    • Self-Actualization (Personal Growth and Fulfillment)
    • Self-Esteem (Self-Respect, Recognition)
    • Social (Love, Affection, Belonging)
    • Safety (Shelter, Health Care, etc.)
    • Physiological (Food, Water, Air, etc.)

Description of Activity

In a groundbreaking 1943 paper, Dr. Abraham H. Maslow investigated different human needs as motivators for particular actions and approaches to life. Distribute Handout 2, Economic Adaptation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Share this excerpt from Maslow’s paper:

Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal. Also no need or drive can be treated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives.

Allow five minutes for comment and questions.

Ask participants to consider the motivators that Maslow identifies. Call attention to the posted newsprint. Distribute self-adhesive note pads. Ask participants to write as many examples as possible of how money has served one of the needs, writing one per note. Ask them to stick notes on the newsprint next to the appropriate motivator. The examples should be specific (for example, the note “health insurance” posted next to “Safety.”) Allow about ten minutes for participants to populate the chart, and then ask:

  • How does Maslow’s model differ from Hurst’s argument that all people require purpose in their work to be happy? Are the two compatible or not?

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