Maslow's Eupsychian Management LO13176
Fri, 11 Apr 1997 01:24:55 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13166 --

Tom Petzinger wrote

> I was stunned at how wide-ranging and visionary this work [Maslow's
>"Eupsychian Management"] is, drawing from Maslow's studies of the
>Blackfoot Indians, the nascent Civil Rights movement, notions of quality
>management (long before TQM) and even the principle of continuous
>improvement (long before kaizen reached the U.S.). >


> I was wondering
> if anyone on the list is acquainted with "Eupsychian Management," and can
> share any thoughts, recollections or speculations about the extent, if
> any, of Maslow's influence in the field of management or leadership.

I'm not familiar with this particular work, but Maslow is a fascinating
person to me. If I recall, he was fairly influential in the 50s and 60s,
particularly as human relations theory evolved. As I understand his
background, he is considered less of a management person (though much of
his work was later used in this area, and he even wrote some specifically
about this) and is noted among the founders of the transpersonal field
(e.g., his work with transcendence and peak experiences).

There is a tendency, though, to associate him with motivation theory based
on his hierarchy of needs; however, he initiated this work and first wrote
of it in terms of values--as in, what do people most value/need in their
lives. I'm not sure, but I think it was only when the ideas were grasped
by management practices that they became "motivators."

I've found his more interesting work occurred after he developed the
hierarchy which most of us are familiar with, ending with the level of
self-actualization. It is that level which many/most of our institutions
have looked towards (particularly education and business; I know, many
will argue that they haven't even gotten this far along the hierarchy!).
He evidently considered his more important work to have occurred as he
worked on the final level--self-transcendence. The other levels are
physical, social, and ego-based; it is this final level that transcends
the ego. Would be interesting to see how we might be structuring work if
we were looking at this as the potential, rather than self-actualization!
I think some of the LO work embraces this idea.

I don't know for sure how extensive his influence has been of current
writers, researchers, and practitioners, but as widely read as some of his
work has been, I'd guess quite a bit. Just more instances of how little
(any?) of what we know today as tqm, or even the learning organization, is
actually new or different than what many others, over the centuries, have
tried to have recognized in practice (I recently ran across something that
accused Senge of being a "fraudulent thinker" because he doesn't cite the
social history or radical thought which influenced his 5th Discipline
work). All the more reason we continue to study, observe, read, and
dialogue with both the old and the new, in multiple disciplines.


Terri Deems

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