Are We Moving Up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

In my last post, I began exploring the concept of developing for the sake of developing. Whether it is art or technology…

If I were to ask the average person on the street if they have enough time in their life I am not sure that I could find a single person to admit that they do. However, over the past century, we have invented innumerable tools and technologies that save us time. Everything from the washing machine to e-Commerce.

So why do we feel like there still is not enough time in the day?

I suspect that it is because we are filling our days and nights moving up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

I do not have exact numbers, though I know they are only a Google search away, it seems that the vast majority of people in developed countries no longer spend time fretting about having their physiological needs met. And even though we are just coming out of a global recession, in the bigger scheme of things, our recessions tend to be a blink of an eye. At our darkest economic hours, we still have safety nets in place, whether through government help or our various nonprofits. As a culture, we do think about the safety of our body and wealth but more and more we have the ability to either tie our wealth to our creativity or carve out time to explore our passions.

What I am suggesting is that our vast and immediate ways for communications have pushed us up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. People spend hours on Facebook staying connected to family and friends. Strong intimate relationships are being formed through sites such as eHarmony.com, and people are collaborating to create without regard to “revenue models.”

My question is, as we move up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, how do the powers that used to control our daily activities shift? For decades employees of corporations have fought for their rights and there is no longer any loyalty to a company like there was just a couple of generations ago. More and more people have the tools at hand to start their own company and support not only their financial needs but their creative needs. How does this change how corporations compete for the best talent and how that talent is treated?

How does leadership change? I have read that we are moving from a male-dominated command and control style of leadership to a feminine style of nurturing feelings and needs. I have also heard people revolt against such an idea claiming that they are at the job to get a job done, not for self-actualization. Is that true anymore or do we need to consider our employee’s self-actualization needs?

All of these questions, this huge power shift, simply because we are now connected.