Maslow's hierarchy of needs model - the difference of the Chinese and the Western pyramid on the example of purchasing luxurious products


Essay, 2008

16 Pages, Grade: 97 %


Excerpt

Table of contents

Abstract

Explanation Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

What kind of promotion appeals to higher order needs and to which need exactly?

Has the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to be modified for other cultures, as it is based on ‘Western’ values and on research conducted in ‘Western’ markets?

Asian hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also not applicable to Mid-eastern cultures

Special focus on Chinese hierarchy of needs as an example of a developing country

Chinese culture

What does this mean for a company when promoting and advertising in a developing country such as China?

References

Figures and Tables

Figure 1: Maslow’s original five stages hierarchy of needs

Figure 2: Schuette & Cirliante’s comparison of the Western and Eastern hierarchy of needs

Figure 3: Arab Hierarchy of needs

Figure 4: Chinese Hierarchy of needs

Figure 5: Chinese Consumer Pyramid

Figure 6: Indian child dressed in Fendi Bib worth $

Table 1: Examples for promotions at a particular need of Maslow’s hierarchy

Table 2: Summary of the four Chinese classes

Table 3: Average income in the US

Abstract

This report will analyse the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and its impact on promotion and advertising, but also if this model is applicable on other cultures. The author will give examples of promotions in western countries and to what exact stage those promotions are targeted.

Furthermore the author will show different hierarchy of needs models in order to explain that the human needs vary in different parts of the world. Whilst in westernized countries the ‘Esteem’ and ‘Belonging/Love’ needs are mainly targeted with promotion and advertising, in developing countries a different approach in terms of promotion and advertising is more appropriate.

The higher-order needs for the general Asian culture are ‘Status’, ‘Admiration’ and ‘Affiliation’ whereas the higher-order needs for the Arab culture are ‘Esteem’, ‘Social needs’ and ‘Self-actualization’.

In this paper the author will focus on China as an example of a developing country.

The author will discuss the difference of the Chinese and the Western pyramid on the example of purchasing luxurious products.

As a conclusion the author will give suggestions to companies of what to take into account when promoting in developing countries.

Explanation Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Figure 1: Maslow’s original five stages hierarchy of needs

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Business balls, 2008)

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model describes the human motivation. In his model he divided people’s desires into a hierarchy of five needs. The structure of his pyramid starts from the bottom and proceeds upwards. It represents the priority of human needs which determine human behaviour (Stratton, 1994). Physical needs represent the lower-order needs whilst socio-psychological needs represent the higher order needs. Schiffman and Kanuk (1994) assume that dissatisfaction is a strong motivator for behaviour in Maslow’s model (Schiffman & Kanuk, 1994).

As soon as an individual fulfils the needs at each level, he or she reaches higher levels. Once the fundamental physiological, safety and social needs have been satisfied, the higher order needs become relevant. The first higher order need is need for esteem. This need describes the desire for self-esteem, self-respect and the esteem to others. The second higher order need is self-actualization. The self-actualization stage can, according to Maslow, only be reached when all other needs of the lower stages are satisfied. Self-actualization needs can be explained as desires that make the fullest use of one’s potential and personal development (Frey, 2003).

According to Maslow only if the lower needs are satisfied, a higher need can become active. He argues that as soon as the needs are satisfied they are not motivating any more (Frey, 2003).

What kind of promotion appeals to higher order needs and to which need exactly?

Maslow’s motivation model is applied in promotion and advertising techniques with different products and services targeted at addressing particular needs of the model (Grid Arendal, 2005).

However, most promotion in western countries appeals to the second highest ‘Esteem’ stage and the third highest ‘Belongingness and Love needs’ stage. The highest one, ‘self-actualization’, is rarely addressed. This is the reason as only about 2 % of the western population are self-actualizers (Grid Arendal, 2005).

Table 1: Examples for promotions at a particular need of Maslow’s hierarchy

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Business balls, 2008)

It can be said that in developed countries the cycle of marketing and consumption satisfies most the belongingness/love and esteem needs. As more parts of humanity live in material comfort nowadays more than ever before, our health, the quality of air, the water and the food we consume is fading. Societies in industrialised and developed countries are usually disconnected from the environment and not engaged in the rational pursuit of the most basic needs (Grid Arendal, 2005).

Consumer culture in the developed countries replaced the basic human needs with unhealthy but satisfying replacement luxuries such as fast food, large homes, imposing vehicles, etc. However, in poor developing countries, “... people are still deeply connected to the environment because their survival depends on what they can grow and harvest” (Grid Arendal, 2005).

Has the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to be modified for other cultures, as it is based on ‘Western’ values and on research conducted in ‘Western’ markets?

Hofstede (1980) argues that Maslow’s hierarchy does not apply to non-Western people. His explanation for this is that culture affects need patterns. In his opinion self-actualization needs represent a culturally driven concern for independent individuals’ personal growth and development which is part of the individualistic orientation of low context countries such as the United States. Therefore he critiqued the importation of American theories of motivation to countries that have a different cultural background than the American culture (Murphy-Berman & Berman, 2001).

Indeed, there are several studies evident that Maslow’s hierarchy is not applicable in Asian as well as Arab countries.

Asian hierarchy of needs

Schuette & Cirliante (1998) argue that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model is inapplicable for Asian countries. Their suggestion is that the two lower level needs are the same but the three highest levels emphasize the importance of social needs. As soon as an Asian individual is accepted by a group, the ‘affiliation needs’ are satisfied. The next level is called ‘admiration needs’. This can be satisfied with acts within a group that command respect. At the top of the Asian hierarchy is status, the esteem of society as a whole. The quest for status leads to ‘luxury badging’. This is a term that describes the consumers who buy luxury products and brands that others will notice. This explains why there is such an increase in sales of luxury goods in China and other Asian countries such as Vietnam. The author will discuss this aspect in more detail at a later stage in this report.

Figure 2: Schuette & Cirliante’s comparison of the Western and Eastern hierarchy of needs

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Schuette & Cirliante, 1998, p.93)

As seen in figure 2, status is the highest level need for Asians. The following stage is Admiration which means to receive respect of others through acts. Affiliation refers to the acceptance of an individual as a member of a group. With the highest need status comes to some degree also the conspicuous consumption. An example for this is Singapore where people refer to the 4 C’s of success. People are regarded as being successful if they satisfy the following C’s: Career, Condominium, Car and Club membership (Weiermair & Mathies, 2001).

Schuette & Ciarlante discuss that it is debatable whether for Asian consumers the stage ‘self-actualization’ as a personally directed need exists. Instead “the desire to enhance an individual’s image and position through contributions to society” may be a socially directed need (Schuette & Cirliante, 1998).

The idea that personal needs are the highest level of needs, which is common in western and individualistic cultures, would be neither accepted nor regarded positively by others of collectivistic cultures such as Asia. Individual countries characteristics such as the emphasis on achieving, independence, autonomy and freedom is visibly absent from Asian cultures. In Asia, socially directed needs are considered as the highest level (Weiermair & Mathies, 2001).

Furthermore, Schuette & Ciarlante argue that Westerners have a positive attitude towards leisure, whereas Asians generally have a negative attitude toward leisure. This has three reasons according to the authors. Firstly, Asians place different priorities on values such as hard work, respect for learning and the need for an orderly society and harmony. Westerner’s values are self-reliance, personal achievement and freedom of expression. Secondly, Asian culture emphasizes social needs rather than personal needs as motivations of behaviour. Thirdly, in the Western view there is a linear relationship between work, leisure and fulfilment in life, whereas for Asian cultures the direct relationship between work and fulfilment is achieved through hard work (Manrai & Manrai, 1995).

According to Schuette & Ciarlante (1998) motivations for Asians towards for example leisure activities are group engagement, learning, and status elevation. The group engagement would refer to the collectivistic nature and family orientation of Asians whereas the learning would act as motivator as it stresses the importance of self-improvement through education, which is stressed by Confucianism.

[...]

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Details

Title
Maslow's hierarchy of needs model - the difference of the Chinese and the Western pyramid on the example of purchasing luxurious products
College
University of Western Sydney  (Sydney Graduate School of Management)
Course
Promotion & Advertising Overseas
Grade
97 %
Author
Year
2008
Pages
16
Catalog Number
V121926
ISBN (eBook)
9783640265152
ISBN (Book)
9783640407651
File size
846 KB
Language
English
Tags
Maslow, Chinese, Western, Promotion, Advertising, Overseas
Quote paper
Nina Rakowski (Author), 2008, Maslow's hierarchy of needs model - the difference of the Chinese and the Western pyramid on the example of purchasing luxurious products, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/121926

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