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Portal talk:Sustainability/Intro

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I took me more than a few weeks to write this proposal. On the other hand we had and still have a pandemic that screws things up. I wrote the proposed text in German and had it translated by Google. While I reviewed it afterwards it may be better to have "a native" looking over it. Stay healthy! Wilhelm


The illustration on top of this page intro relates the concept of sustainable development to basic human needs. It does so from a psychological perspective based on the theory of human motivation by Abraham Maslow (1943). Linking sustainable development to psychology is up to date and necessary (see references below). However, the theory of needs by Maslow may not be best suited to do so.

I see two possible flaws and respective improvements here:

(1) Maslow based the hierarchy of needs on research done with successful, wealthy people. But the concept of sustainable development, I believe, is most tangible when related to a concept of needs closer to the live of individuals who are having a hard time. I am thinking about the basic human needs addressed by the ILO Core Labour Standards or the UN Sustainable Development Goals (no. 8).

Keeping the psychological perspective on this topic is nevertheless central. I agree with Maslow that people and society with them need to feel safe and to have enough food in order to fully develop higher motives. That I would keep upright.

(2) The hierarchy of needs by Maslow comprises the category "love and belonging". But even in a sustainable society there will be individuals who feel lonely and disliked. I see a blurring of the concept of sustainable development here, it sounds like "creation of a perfect world". The theory of basic psychological needs by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan (see below) could be better suited, maybe.

I have to admit that I still don't know exactly how I'm going to implement this, but I wanted to address it, especially since I am planning to make some major changes, especially I intend to replace the above illustration.

(There is more to write about the psychology of sustainability beyond "needs," but that doesn't affect any existing content.)

I look forward to your feedback on my proposal; I will now wait a few weeks and then be bold :-) and begin with the revision. Wilhelm (talk) 20:36, 23 January 2020 (UTC)


Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior (Perspectives in social psychology). New York: Plenum.

Aguinis, H. & Glavas, A. (2012). What We Know and Don’t Know About Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review and Research Agenda. Journal of Management, 38(4), 932–968. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206311436079

Hahn, T., Figge, F., Aragón-Correa, J. A. & Sharma, S. (2017). Advancing Research on Corporate Sustainability: Off to Pastures New or Back to the Roots? Business & Society, 56(2), 155–185. https://doi.org/10.1177/0007650315576152

Kuntner, W. & Weber, W. G. (2018). Tensions within sustainability management: a socio-psychological framework. Journal of Global Responsibility, 9(2), 193–206. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGR-09-2017-0051

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–396. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0054346

Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. (2000). The darker and brighter sides of human existence: Basic psychological needs as a unifying concept. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 319–338. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_03