October 2, 2016


Achievement motivation theory

The Achievement motivation theory relates personal characteristics and background to a need for achievement and the associated competitive drive to meet standards of excellence.

According to theoretical research by Murray (1938), McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowel (1953), and McClelland (1961), achievement motivation or need for achievement is influenced by a combination of internal factors including personal drives and external or environmental factors including pressures and expectations of relevant organizations and society. Related to an individual’s need for achievement and overall motivation is the individual’s need for power and need for affiliation.

Achievement motivation theory

Understanding and explaining individuals’ achievement motivation is important within organizations where such characteristics are strongly associated with ongoing organizational success, most notably in the sales function. Staffing the organization with individuals having backgrounds and personal characteristics that are suggestive of a high need for achievement becomes an important consideration.

While many factors are potentially influential and interact, e.g. an individual’s values (e.g. valuing the accomplishment of tasks over personal relationships), culture and educational background, providing appropriate external support in the form of organizational systems, structures, and culture (e.g. including opportunities for promotion, recognizing and rewarding successes, ensuring performance feedback, and matching individual control with role responsibilities and role importance) becomes just as important as the organization’s assessing and nurturing an individual’s personal drives.

As a company you may offer several motivation and achievement opportunities, but it depends on the individual to acquire it as well. Similarly, if the individual is motivated by achievements, but you are neither offering rewards, recognition or remuneration as an incentive then there is nothing to motivate the employee or offer an achievement to him.

As an employee moves up the ladder he feels that he has achieved something and this motivates him to achieve even more. But moving up the ladder is a slow process and hence as a company, there should be various add ons offered by you so that the employee stays motivated.

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