Motivation within a creative environment
A Siemens case study

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Page 4: Hierarchy of needs

One of the most famous theorists on motivation is Abraham Maslow. In 1954 he developed a 'hierarchy of needs'. This he represented as a triangle. The most basic needs are at the bottom. The more complex needs are at the top.

  • At the bottom of the hierarchy are the basic needs which drive people to work. This includes the need for food, water, warmth, shelter and clothing.
  • Once these needs are met, individuals then want safety and security. This includes physical security at work. It also includes safe working practices, job security and financial security.
  • Social needs are all about groups and belonging. Socialising with a group of friends or with work colleagues fulfils social considerations. In addition, employees like to feel part of an organisation.
  • Self-esteem needs might include the rewards from a workplace. It might include a benefits package or even status within the workplace.
  • Self-fulfilment is about working to one's full potential. This would involve doing something challenging, creative or interesting.


Siemens provides the opportunity for employees to fulfil their higher-order needs. For skilled, creative workers, like engineers, these are likely to be of great importance. Esteem is about having self-respect and the respect of others. Feeling that one's work is making a difference can improve self-esteem.

Recognition of an employee's achievements by the employer also helps to meet esteem needs. For example, Siemens runs schemes in which suggestions and projects for improvements are rewarded. This could be financially, either individually or as part of a team, or in terms of peer or management recognition of their achievements.

Developing people

Self-actualisation is concerned with workers fulfilling their potential. Engineering work allows employees to do this by enabling them to get involved and take responsibility for their own jobs.

An engineering environment generates excitement and challenges. Individuals can seek to make improvements and changes.

Original solutions and ideas are required to solve problems on a regular basis. These appeal to the higher needs of employees. It is also possible to use technology to identify new ways of working and new processes.

Siemens offers engineering staff training and development opportunities. This links with self-actualisation as it helps engineers to extend their capabilities which may lead to a progression up the career ladder. Training and development also helps individuals to meet the changing demands of the business' global markets.

Siemens | Motivation within a creative environment