Human Needs Theory by John Burton

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There is no doubt human needs are a critical means of understanding the human behavior and social interactions that exist in our societies. Each has needs, which they strive to satisfy through different means. Understanding people and what drives them to act in different ways has been widely studied. The social systems must be responsive to the personal needs. When the social setting is not responsive, there are forces that lead to instability and factors that force changes to happen. Consequently, these might lead to issues of violence or conflict. From another perspective, human needs are the deterrent forces in the description of how we behave and communicate in the society. Our individual needs determine the actions and deeds we participate in despite the gender, ethnic background, color or chaste. There are various approaches that have been used to analyze and explain human needs. John Burton’s approach perceives human needs as the driving force in every human being’s life, and their influence on conflicts and how they are resolved and managed. The Human needs theory developed by Burton is essential in different aspects in understanding and engaging in conflict resolution in organizations and societies. Despite this, it has been criticized by other scholars on its capacity to manage conflict. The intent of this paper is to address the theory of human needs as discussed by John Burton. Understanding the human needs theory requires indulging in the question if conflicts at all levels of the society are caused by inherent aggressiveness that is as a result of the development and existence of the fittest struggles? Burton also adds the question, if conflicts are as a result of the development of inappropriate social institutions and customs, which sensibly would be perceived to be within the control of human capacities? Synthesis of these questions shows that if inherent aggressiveness is the issue, then we have no option, but to live with conflicts....
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