Discussion: What Is Your Why?

“Education can become a self-fulfilling activity, liberating in and of itself”
—Abraham Maslow

In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory of motivation referred to as the hierarchy of needs. Levels 1-4 of the hierarchy pertain to achieving “deficit” human needs such as food, water, shelter, financial security, love, and respect. Maslow argues that when all of “deficit” needs are met, humans become motivated to pursue self-actualization (i.e., fulfillment of one’s potential), which is considered a “being” need. In the quote above, Maslow refers to achieving self-actualization through education. Certainly, your motivation to obtain a degree may come from the intrinsic motivation to fulfill your potential or to expand your knowledge in a subject that interests you. However, unless you are independently wealthy, you probably have more practical reasons for pursuing a degree. For example, you might be extrinsically motivated to obtain a degree because you know it will lead to a promotion and better pay, which would help you meet the “deficit” needs in Maslow’s hierarchy.

In this discussion, you will examine your motivations for pursuing a degree, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and other theories of motivation. As you do so, keep in mind that human motivation is culturally bound, therefore, it can be difficult to generalize theories of motivation across cultures.

To Prepare
  • Review this week’s Learning Resources on intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
  • Reflect on your motives for enrolling at Walden and consider how your motives might change as you progress in your studies.  Identify intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that will keep you motivated to complete your degree.
  • Review the resources on culture and motivation. Think about how culture affects motivation.
  • Identify, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, any D-needs and B-needs that could be motivating your behavior to achieve a graduate degree. Determine whether culture plays a role in your motivation to complete your degree.
By Day 4

Post a response to the following:

Describe motivational factors that led you to enroll at Walden and that keep you enrolled. Then explain how these motivational factors might change as you progress from your first days at Walden to your first or second year. Finally, identify at least one intrinsic and one extrinsic motivation that could help keep you motivated to complete your degree. Be sure to address what role culture plays in your motivation to complete your degree.

Note: Support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and any additional sources you identify using both in-text citations and references. It is strongly recommended that you include proper APA format and citations.

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