Need for Achievement Motivation

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David McClelland’s Theory of Achievement Motivation
David McClelland (believes that the need for achievement is a distinct human motive that can be distinguished from other needs. One characteristic of achievement motivated people is that they see to be more concerned with personal achievement than with the rewards of success. He believes that they do not reject rewards but the rewards are not essential as the accomplishment itself.
Both McClelland and Atkinson’s achievement and motivation theory was based on a personality characteristic that manifested as a dispositional need to improve and perform well according to a certain standard of excellence In order to assess people’s need for achievement, they used a projective instrument called the Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT) that elicits unconscious processes. In this instrument, people are asked to write a story describing the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of a person in an ambiguous picture or drawing (for example, a child sitting in front of a violin). The stories are then coded for achievement-related content including indicators of competition, accomplishments, and commitment to achieve. This technique, labeled the Picture Story Exercise (PSE), was used in numerous studies that tested the relations of nAch with various indicators of performance.
McClelland, David C. "The American Psychologist." July 1985.
Reviews research that demonstrates the importance of motivation, incentive value, and probability of success, independently measured, for predicting achievement performance and the frequency with which affiliation acts are performed. Both theory and research lead to the following conclusions: (1) motive strength, particularly in relation to the strength of other motives in the person, is the more important determinant of operant act frequency; (2) incentive value is the more important…...

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