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A guideline for "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" in the Global Construction Industry (July 27, 2023)

Abraham Maslow coined the term "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" as a psychological theory in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation." This theory proposes that humans possess inherent needs organized in sequence, starting with fundamental physiological needs at the base and advancing to more complex psychological needs at the pinnacle. According to Maslow, individuals are driven to satisfy these needs in a particular order, whereby higher-level needs become significant only after lower-level needs are achieved.


"Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" applies to various industries, including the Construction Industry in the global aspect. The purpose of incorporating the Hierarchy of Needs in the construction industry is to create a human-centric approach that goes beyond the physical aspects of construction.


Considering workers', managers', and clients' psychological and emotional well-being is critical. By considering this psychological framework, construction stakeholders can foster a positive and fulfilling construction experience while creating a more holistic and supportive environment that enhances the overall success of projects and promotes the well-being of those involved.


Physiological needs at a construction site refer to the basic biological requirements that workers must have to maintain their physical well-being and perform their tasks effectively. These needs are crucial for workers' health, safety, and overall productivity.

Construction workers require a safe and hazard-free working environment. This includes measures to prevent accidents and injuries, such as proper scaffolding, secure footing, and appropriate signage for potential dangers. Construction work can be physically demanding, and workers need adequate rest breaks to prevent exhaustion and fatigue. Providing designated rest areas with seating, shade, and access to drinking water allows workers to recharge during their shifts. Proper sanitation facilities, including clean and accessible restrooms, and access to clean drinking water are essential to maintaining hygiene and the overall well-being of workers. Regular cleaning and maintenance of these facilities are crucial to ensure a healthy working environment. Ensuring that workers have access to proper nutrition can positively impact their performance and overall health. Providing access to food vendors or designated eating areas during work breaks can be beneficial.


For construction projects that require overnight stays or extended work hours, workers may need access to appropriate accommodation facilities. Ensuring that these facilities meet basic comfort and safety standards is essential. Immediate access to first aid and medical assistance is crucial in case of injuries or medical emergencies.


Safety needs at a construction site are critical to ensuring the well-being and protection of workers from potential hazards and risks. From the perspective of construction workers, safety needs encompass various aspects that contribute to a secure working environment.


Construction workers require appropriate personal protective equipment to safeguard themselves from potential dangers. This includes items such as hard hats, safety goggles, ear protection, gloves, respiratory masks, high-visibility vests, and steel-toed boots, depending on the nature of the tasks they are performing.

Workers need to be educated on potential hazards at the construction site and how to identify and address them. Properly placed safety signage throughout the construction site informs workers about potential risks and safety guidelines.

Falls are a common cause of injuries at construction sites. Implementing fall protection measures, such as guardrails, safety nets, and harness systems, is crucial for workers who work at heights. Ensuring the stability and proper setup of scaffolding and ladders is essential to prevent accidents and falls while working at elevated levels.

Construction sites often involve the use of heavy machinery and equipment. Workers must receive appropriate training to operate machinery safely, and strict protocols should be in place to prevent accidents involving these machines.

Construction workers need to be aware of electrical hazards and proper procedures for working with electrical equipment to avoid electrocution and electrical accidents. Proper procedures for material handling and storage reduce the risk of injuries caused by falling objects or improper lifting techniques.


Workers should be familiar with emergency procedures, evacuation routes, and the location of first aid stations in case of accidents or other emergencies. Ensuring safe access to and exit from work areas, including clear pathways and proper lighting, helps prevent accidents during movement around the construction site.

On the other hand, as a construction manager, team leader, or company owner, your role is vital in the purpose of achieving the goals of the "Hierarchy of Needs". You are playing a key role in addressing and fulfilling the needs of these individuals.


Here's how a construction manager can contribute to meeting the Hierarchy of Needs:


Physiological and Safety Needs:

Construction managers are responsible for ensuring that workers' physiological and safety needs are met on the construction site. This includes providing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), implementing safety protocols, organizing toolbox talks, maintaining a clean and safe working environment, and ensuring access to essential facilities like clean drinking water, restrooms, and first aid stations. Depending on the scale of the project, construction managers usually delegate their workload by dividing the construction teams into groups and assigning a head of department (superintendent or specialists) for each work package to be delivered.


Belongingness and Social Needs:

A construction manager can foster a positive work culture that encourages teamwork, open communication, and a sense of fellowship among workers. By promoting a supportive and inclusive environment, construction managers can help fulfil the belongingness and social needs of the workforce, leading to increased job satisfaction, a productive work environment, and better collaboration.


Esteem Needs:

Recognizing and acknowledging the efforts and achievements of construction workers is essential in fulfilling their esteem needs. Construction managers can provide positive feedback, praise exceptional work, and offer opportunities for skill development and career advancement to boost workers', engineers', and architects' self-esteem and confidence.


Self-actualization:

While it may be challenging to directly address self-actualization needs within the construction industry, construction managers can provide opportunities for personal growth and development. This can involve supporting workers', engineers', or designers' pursuit of additional training or certifications, encouraging innovation and creative problem-solving, and fostering an environment that values continuous improvement.

Overall, a construction manager's role is not only about managing the technical aspects of a project but also about understanding and addressing the human aspect of construction. By prioritizing the well-being of workers, submanagers, and clients, and creating an environment that supports personal and professional growth, construction managers can contribute significantly to achieving the Hierarchy of Needs within the construction industry. This, in turn, can lead to successful projects, satisfied stakeholders, and a positive impact on the community so it helps you grow your reputation as a great leader in business.


originally published on July 27, 2023


Kindest Regards,

Ari Zingillioglu

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