When you come to think about pyramids there usually are two that readily spring to mind. One of these are the Pyramids of Giza. The other is Maslow’s Pyramid, which represents the hierarchy of human needs.

The Pyramids of Giza have been around for ages, and it seems like they are here to stay for centuries to come. On the other hand, the foundations of Maslow’s Pyramid have just been shaken a bit.

Check out: Deconstructing the Pyramid Theory of Motivation






  • foosball table
  • pinnacle – a high, pointed piece of rock
  • tangible – clear and definite; real
  • skew – make biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading
  • appal – greatly dismay or horrify
  • incentive – a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something
  • penny – a small sum of money
  • bolt – move or run away suddenly in an attempt to escape


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What is Maslow’s Pyramid? What’s at the bottom of it and what’s at the top?
  • What did managers forget about when adapting the pyramid for the business world? How do they see it?
  • Why does David think Maslow’s theory doesn’t usually apply to the world of professional work? What should the managers be primarily concerned about?
  • What did David learn from the study on engaged companies that she’d conducted?
  • What is David’s conclusion about Maslow’s Pyramid?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

The ________ REAL is that human needs can’t be neatly arranged into a pyramid. Motivation isn’t simple, and it’s certainly not ________ LINE. Different people are motivated by different things,” David writes. “I understand why we’ve latched onto the hierarchy of needs. A motivation checklist would be nice. But we’re not working with a fixed or universal process. There are many factors that ________ CONTRIBUTION to ________ ENGAGE, including teams, autonomy, interesting work, ________ RECOGNISE, and individual development. So don’t let the basics of compensation and benefits drive your people strategy or the way you lead. Your ________ EMPLOY deserve much more than a pyramid.”


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

David conducted a recent study ________ engaged companies in ________ she asked employees ________ makes them feel engaged. She found that only 4 percent of respondents mentioned pay. “Instead, they highlighted feeling autonomous and empowered, and ________ sense of belonging on their teams. We all know people ________ trade high salaries and even safety ________ love, esteem, and self-actualization ________ work–the accountants who become high school teachers, or the journalists who move ________ war zones with pennies in their pockets,” David writes.


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