Maslow and Collaboration

Steve has reminded me that he posted here on Maslow with collaboration and I think it compliments my post well.

The point of this being that for example:

  • people won’t be interested in collaboration when they don’t have a stable PC
  • people won’t be interested in knowledge management when they are running out of email quota every day
  • people won’t be effective coaches when they are so overloaded with email that they don’t have time to think
  • people won’t be interested in sharing when their PC is infected with malware or viruses

If you forgive the simplistic nature of the example,  hopefully you can see the power of the model.  It goes further through, again some simple examples:

  • once a person has a working PC, Internet connection, storage space, virus and malware protection they will take it for granted and not consider it of value (unless you take it away) so you need to move up the hierarchy and provide higher value services.  But don’t move up until you have satisfied more basic needs!

Also from Steve’s original post:


  1. Nice concept!

    But, Umm…Don’t you mean “Maslow & Collaboration 2.0” Stu?

    Some people might dissagree that you need a PC at all to collaborate, although I would be the last to say they didn’t help. 🙂


  2. Hi Stuart, thanks for your post and it was good to see your excellent blog. I suppose what Steve was looking at was specifically the technical elements, of course you are absolutely correct that all collaboration is people driven. It doesn’t look like I’m quoting steve when I look at this post, must make that clearer!.


  3. This idea of a Maslow hierarchy for cyberspace fits in with my ideas of cyberecology (cyberspace ecology). The present credit and real economy crisis is partly due to a break in confidence and related to the imbalance in the security/freedom matrix. We are dangerously close to a collapse of our belief in cyberspace, too many viruses, malware and social engineering going on, a well directed message with enough believable links could topple the whole system, cause a run on the banks and worse. We need new legal concepts about clipping and clicking, about law and order in cyberspace, about the ecology of this digital world which is now not the shadow, but the real thing that runs our lives. Barlow (John Perry) and myself discussed all this in 1990 (and wrote a book about it, with people like Lanier and Leary, but sorry to say nothing much happened since. Business and money took over, the new edge died!
    I am sorry that most of my writing is in Dutch, but look at and my blog


  4. @luc sala
    Hi Luc, Excellent comment, I don’t think many of us conciously think about the base levels of Maslow’s hierarchy with respect to our use and assumptions about the internet today. I wonder if the malware exposure will result in us becoming less confident and motivated with respect to the internet? I wonder if our perceptions change compared to the physical world.


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