This, below, is one of my earliest posts from 2002.
I’ve made countless references to Maslow ever since I noticed that Pirsig’s levels of “value” (absolute quality or goodness) appeared to mirror it and recently since Foucault seemed to reinforce this impression. I always warmed to Maslow since pre-MBA management training days so I thought I’d better check out how good my memory was with a Google search. As usual I have unashamedly rolled several different theories together in my head – better to build and synthesise than to discard one theory in favour of another. Quite frankly IMHO, Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs can be (and often is) re-stated in words and varying levels of granularity that make Hertzberg’s (binary) Motivators and Hygiene Factors, McGregor’s (binary) Theories X and Y, and Ouchi’s Theory Z all just special cases of Maslow’s more general case. Most criticisms of Maslow can similarly be countered by judicious choice of words, and by remembering to treat his pyramid as an analytical framework, rather than some prescriptive methodology. These theories come predominantly from “management science” domains, but Pirsig and Foucault seem to say they represent something pretty fundamental about human social organisation and values – or even, dare I say, of any higher order intelligent beings natural or artificial.
Bearing in mind my original declaration of consciously viewing information and knowledge from a “human intent” perspective, then perhaps it becomes apparent why I see these drivers as one fundamental part of any knowledge model.