Publication Date

Spring 4-2024


School of Business


Business Administration


humanitarian aid, humanitarian retention, nonprofit retention, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


Human Resources Management | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Other Business


In the socially impactful realm of humanitarian business, job dissatisfaction has led to high turnover and low retention, causing many organizations to struggle and sometimes fail. To increase motivation and satisfaction, the differences between general motivation theories and common humanitarian motivations should be analyzed. These analyses can then be applied to increase retention. While most general motivation theories like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs point to internal or personal needs being met, humanitarian employees are mainly motivated altruistically. Therefore, this research will demonstrate that altruistic motivations have a greater role in humanitarian retention than traditional motivation theories. Existing human resource policies stemming from general motivation theories can be strengthened using new initiatives that target altruism, ultimately decreasing turnover.