Monday, April 13, 2009

NEED FOR ACHIEVEMENT AND NEED FOR AFFILIATION: THE EXTENT TO WHICH AN INDIVIDUAL MAY HAVE BOTH SIMULTANEOUSLY

Need for achievement is the desire to accomplish difficult tasks and to meet standards of excellence. Need for affiliation is the desire to be with others and have harmonious and satisfying relationships.
 

Both, need for achievement and need for affiliation, can be very important for any individual. They can work as a guiding force in a person’s life in many ways. A need for achievement gives an incentive to have a sense of accomplishment and a need for affiliation drives a person to be with different kind of people and have many different kinds of relationships. Both help in gaining a sense of satisfaction in their own way.

There are, of course, individual differences when it comes to both need for achievement and need for affiliation. People may be high, low, or even medium in both the needs.

People who are high on need for achievement choose tasks that are moderately difficult for them. They are persistent and do not give up till they have a sense of accomplishment. They are intrinsically motivated. They do things for a sense of pleasure and satisfaction and not for extrinsic rewards like money.

They also prefer to have accurate feedback about themselves. They are clear about their strengths and weaknesses. They attribute their performance to themselves rather than circumstances. They like to take responsibility for their success as well as their failures. They prefer to be alone or with like minded people. They also like to face challenges in their life.

People who are high on need for affiliation like to spend time with others. They like to be with others. They like to form friendships and more and more intimate relationships. They try to seek out pleasure by being in the company of others.

They have a desire for acceptance and approval from others. They have a need to be liked by others. They choose work that enables them to be with more and more people and that requires social interaction. They also tend to conform to others.

Having a look at the characteristics of people who are high on need for achievement and people who are high on need for affiliation, there seems to be quite a contrast between the two. They are seemingly opposite.

Researchers suggest that need for achievement and need for affiliation are inversely proportional in an individual. This means that if a person is high on need for achievement, then he/she is low on need for affiliation and vice versa.

This, to quite an extent, is reflected by the characteristics of both high on need for achievement and affiliation. People who are high on need for achievement are introverted and basically self-involved. They are usually aloof and prefer to be alone. They may also lack in some social skills, especially the skill of cooperation. On the other hand, people who are high on need for affiliation like to be surrounded by people. They are extroverted and highly sociable. They also seem to have good people skills. Obviously, a person cannot exactly be self-involved and sociable at the same time.

Need for achievement and need for affiliation may also quite possibly work as a hindrance for each other. They may come in between one another and thus negatively effect each other.

For a person who is high on need for achievement, the desire to affiliate may cause a distraction from his/her work and accomplishments. Likewise, for a person who is high on need for affiliation, the desire to achieve success in work may put him/her away from his close relationships.This shows that the researchers may be right and that need for achievement and need for affiliation are not only inversely proportional but they rather should be inversely proportional.

All this gives an indication that need for achievement and need for affiliation are quite unrelated. But an in-depth look at need for affiliation shows that this may not exactly be true. Among all the basic reasons for different people to affiliate, one of them is to have positive stimulation and one is to compare themselves with others.

People affiliate to have interesting and lively interactions that create some sort of positive stimulation. People who are high on need for achievement prefer to be with like-minded people. This enables them to generate positive stimulation, which suggests a desire to affiliate among people who are high on need for achievement.

People affiliate to compare themselves with others to know exactly where they belong in a particular task. This reduces uncertainty among them and they are able to get some kind of feedback about themselves.

Those who are high on need for achievement also require some feedback about themselves from time to time. This shows some kind of relation between need for achievement and need for affiliation. Thus, people who are high on need for achievement can also have a need to affiliate.

There is a lot of subjectivity when it comes to human nature. Each individual differs from the other in their own right. Everyone has their own perceptions and perspectives. The desire to accomplish difficult tasks and to meet standards of excellence are qualities of those of who have a need to achieve. Each person has their own perception of task difficulty and each person might have their own standards of excellence. In this way, a person who is high on need for affiliation might also be high on need for achievement from his/her own perception and perspective.

Need for achievement and need for affiliation are more of common social needs of humans rather than being just personality traits. Everybody, to whatever extent, has the need to achieve and affiliate. There seems to be no reason at all why an individual may not be high on both need for achievement and need for affiliation.

But, as mentioned above, one may come in the way of the other. However, this does not mean that a person cannot be high on both the needs. One of the needs may suffer because of the other or probably even both may suffer, but it does not rule out in any way that a person can be high on both.

Human beings have a tendency to act according to the situation. A person may behave in a certain way in one situation and behave differently in another situation. This makes it difficult to predict the behaviour of an individual. It is quite possible that in one situation a person can be high on need for achievement and in another situation that same person can be high on need for affiliation.

An individual overall has a number of personality traits. Usually some of them are dominant and some are not. The same can be possible when it comes to need for achievement and need for affiliation. It can be that a person is high on both, but either one of them is dominant.

For instance, in an individual need for achievement may be dominant and need for affiliation may be the subordinate. Or need for affiliation may be dominant and need for achievement may be the subordinate. Thus, a person may be high on both the needs but he/she may be a little bit higher in one them. They may not be necessarily inversely proportional. There might only be a slight difference in the degree of either one of them.

Need for achievement and need for affiliation, at first might seem to be quite unrelated. But, a closer look at the two gives a different perspective. They both can be very much related and it is quite possible that an individual may be high on both need for achievement and need for affiliation.



PS: To read more about need-for-achievement and need-for-affiliation refer to my article, Need for Achievement and Need for Affiliation: Personality Factors

24 comments:

Deepika Gupta said...

i need both.... Achievement and affiliation :)
good one!! very deeply u think

timethief said...

I'm impressed by the quality of the contents and the writing in your posts. It also gave me food for thought.

I am an introverted and intuitive type who has learned to be communicative although it's not my natural inclination. Although I can work cooperatively with others I prefer to work alone and if that's not an option then I prefer to work in a small group rather than a larger one.

My need for achievement has always been higher than my need for affiliation. Some people are energized when they are in the company of others. I'm not. If I'm in the company of others for an extended period of time I feel very drained and very tired.

Thanks for the good read. You helped me gain deeper comprehension of my own personality traits and those of others as well.

Luscious Sealed Lips said...

Interesting analysis.

Kisses.

Saif said...

@ Deepika
Yeah, I kind of have an idea about that :D :)...
... it requires quite an effort to strike a balance between the two :)

... and thanks for the compliment :)



@ timetheif
Thanks a lot for the appreciation. Its nice to receive a comment from you.

Well yeah, as I said in my post that either one of them is dominant and the other is the subordinate. In your case, need for achievement is dominant and need for affiliation is the subordinate. Its also nice that you realize this, because many people are unable to do so.

I'm glad that my post has helped you in some way. :)



@ Luscious Sealed Lips
I'm glad to know that you felt like that. :)

shalini said...

I liked the way you analyzed the researches and your own thoughts and observations.....Its good to know how both the needs are intertwined in an individual and an individual's personality decides which need is dominant in him and also how he maintains a balance between the two.

Melinda said...

Very interesting post--and I am so glad I stopped by. I will add this blog to my favorites.

I think that the need for achievement and the need for affiliation can definitely go together--but not always and I think that it depends on the type of person one is (and as you aptly pointed out, there are many individual differences in perception, experience, values, etc).

I think people who tend to fall into both categories are those who seek achievement for approval purposes rather than intrinsic value. Approval seeking can definitely go along with the need for affiliation.

So, I think there is another type of person whose need to achieve is not based on approval but on self-fulfillment. This type of person is not prone to seek approval for achievement--that intrinsic value is enough in and of itself.

Very interesting!

Melinda

Saif said...

@ Shalini
You have noticed some of the finer points of my post. I'm glad that you did such an in-depth reading and did a really good analysis of my post ... this is what anyone would want. :)



@ Melinda
Thanks a Lot!

You have put forward a very interesting point that the people who fall in both the categories are those who seek achievement for approval purposes. I won't say that all of them who fall in both categories do so, there might be some or most of them, but not all ... but yes, it has made me think at a bit deeper level about both need for achievement and need for affiliation and the relation between the two.

Tausif said...

Interesting stuff. Would be interesting to also read studies about people that desire neither affiliation nor achievement.

sudhir kekre said...

gr8 job saif. i liked this post than the previous one. the previous one was a bit way too off the mark for me. :)
Nevertheless a brilliant blog.

Sara said...

This is very interesting! Even though I'm a Digital Media Engineering major, I've always been interested in psychology and have had many thoughts about various topics that I couldn't organize because I don't have the basis to do that. So, thank you for sharing this on your blog =)

Saif said...

@ Tipu Bhai (Tausif)
Well, people who are low on both need for achievement and need for affiliation are probably those who have depression or other psychological problems that are related to hopelessness and lack of enthusiasm.

btw ... what I wrote about people being high on both need for achievement and need for affiliation and that need for achievement and need for affiliation being related, is not any study ... its my own view and my own analysis :)



@ Sudhir
Nice to know that you liked this post :)



@ Sara
I'm really glad that you liked this post and that my blog is very much related to your interests :)

Sara said...

Oh please update soon! I'd really like to read more of your stuff! =)

Sheeba Riyas said...

A very common yet often unrecognized fact. I could never have said it in a better tone!

I have come across people who have taken the need for affiliation to extreme levels. Their desperation can lead them to the wrong people and circumstances, if they do not know where to strike a balance.

I would not say the same for those who have the need for achievement as I have witnessed some magnificent feats being conquered by ordinary souls who refused to part with their dreams.

Yes, I do feel that I am reading my own thoughts too! :)

Saif said...

@ Sheeba
Yeah, there is a tendency for some people to go to extreme levels in either need for affiliation or need for achievement. This is what that makes it difficult to strike a balance between the two and, usually, the person ends up being high on only one of them rather than both.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog.got you through blogger community on orkut.you write really well.So much new to learn here.Gr8 work.
TC.

Poonam said...

Nice blog.got you through blogger community on orkut.you write really well.So much new to learn here.Gr8 work.
TC.

Saif said...

@ Poonam
It's really nice to know that you feel like that. Hope to see you more often on my blog :)

Kristen Brown said...

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Thanks and good luck! Kristen Brown

Anonymous said...

i find it interesting that few of the bloggers comment on selves in such a situation...the 'emotional hijacking' blog left me in tears and brought me to this site also...I am an extrovert w/ a fantastic,loving, supportive husband who wants nothing more than to stay married and see me get well.

Psychotic .. said...

True. Makes a lot of sense. You elaborate very nicely and with a smooth flow :)




P.S. Murray SHOULD read this :D

Saif said...

@ Psychotic
Nice to know that you felt that way ...

Anonymous said...

Oh, i can relate to it so much. Don't know if it makes sense to write here, but many a times i used to wonder, what is it that drives people, keeps people going.
Sometimes, i have really pondered over it deeply & i have analysed a lot my own thought process also.

Anonymous said...

Great article! Very clearly explained, could correlate with my own personality.

Sfundo said...

REALY ENJOYED THIS SITE IM A PERSON WITH HIGH NEED FOR AFFILIATION. I LIKE TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS EVERY TIME. AG HIGH NEED FOR ACHIEVEMENTS IS NOT MY STYLE BECAUSE I LIKE TO SOCIALISE WITH PEOPLE...

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