Motives and Goals

Research in the domain of motives has had two major methodological and theoretical schools, which address the study of this broader question in quite different ways. The first school, the need approach to motivation, begins with the assumption that people are often unaware of the fundamental forces that motivate their behavior. The second major school, the goal approach, attempts to understand explicit motives and interests as the means to reach a deeper, underlying understanding of motivation. Need theorists believe that motivation is not accessible through conscious processes and that it should be interpreted through expert analysis of material generated by a person without their knowledge of what is being assessed. In contrast, goal theorists have no qualms about assessing goals using conscious processing.

The need approach to motivation is clearly connected historically to the use of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which was initially developed by Murray (1938). Following the belief that individuals are unaware of their motives and unable to report accurately on them, the TAT was designed as a projective technique under the belief that "when a person interprets an ambiguous social situation he is apt to expose his own personality as much as the phenomenon to which he is attending" (p. 531). These observations together form the theoretical basis of the TAT, where participants are asked to take the part of story-writers and create stories on the basis of ambiguous pictures. Although the traditional TAT paradigm is the one most commonly associated with the assessment of Murray's needs, several alternative routes to the assessment of Murray's needs have been developed. For instance, Schmalt (1999) developed a "semipro-jective" grid technique in which individuals are asked to rate what characters in TAT-like pictures are thinking or feeling from a fixed set of options.

The second school of thought within the domain of motivation is that of the goal approach, which begins by asking individuals what they are typically trying to do in their everyday lives. Whereas theorists working within the need approach to motivation state that behavior is determined largely by discrepancies between actual states and unconscious motives, goal theorists believe behavior is largely influenced by discrepancies that are consciously accessible (Emmons, 1986, 1989). Further, whereas needs are conceptualized as broad, decontextualized, and fundamental constructs (Winter, John, Stewart, Klohnen, & Duncan, 1998), goals are assumed to vary hierarchically in their level of abstraction, ranging from specific and short-term goals such as "what I'm currently concerned with doing" (Klinger, 1975; Little, 1983), to more-enduring midlevel constructs such as personal strivings that reflect "what I'm typically trying to do" (Emmons, 1986) and finally to more broad and long-term life goals such as establishing a career or finding a relationship partner

(Roberts & Robins, 2000). Each of these levels is associated with a slightly different method, although generally these methods are idiographic, allowing respondents to give open-ended responses to the instructions and rely on conscious acknowledgement of one's aspirations.

Consistent with Fiske's (1971) argument that method can have a profound effect on construct validity, one of the long-standing controversies within the field of motivation is whether implicit or explicit methods of assessing motivations assess the same constructs. McClelland, Koestner, and Weinberger (1989) argued that measures such as the TAT and questionnaire measures such as the Jackson PRF are measures of distinct constructs, labeled implicit needs and self-attributed needs, respectively. Presumably, implicit measures should predict operant behaviors that are relatively uncontrolled by the environmental, such as job level attained in organizations and behavior occurring under natural conditions (McClelland, 1980). Self-attributed motives should be more predictive of respondent behaviors, such as school grades, personality, and intelligence tests, where the behavior is elicited and constrained by environmental stimuli.

In a meta-analysis of the literature on achievement motivation comparing the utility of self-attributed ratings of motives to implicit measures of motives, Spangler (1992) found support for this hypothesis. Implicit measures were more predictive of outcomes when attaining the outcomes involved challenges or incentives that were intrinsic to the task, such as moderate risk and time pressures, whereas self-attributed measures were more predictive of performance in tasks that involved social incentives, such as challenging goals set up by the experimenter or norms that encouraged achievement. Interestingly, implicit motives were also found to decrease in their relation to task performance when the number of social incentives involved with the task was high. Consistent with the interpretation of implicit needs as somewhat akin to intrinsic motivation, Spangler suggested that social incentives may conflict or otherwise suppress the effect of implicit needs on performance.

Recently, research has attempted to form a more complete picture of the associations between motive measures by looking simultaneously at the measures used by need and goal theorists. Emmons and McAdams (1991) examined the relations between the Jackson PRF, personal strivings, and TAT measures for the assessment of the achievement, affiliation, intimacy, and power motivations. The authors found modest relations between matching TAT and striving categories for achievement, intimacy, and power motives, indicating that, to some extent, these methods may be measuring the same underlying construct. On the other hand, the self-reported PRF was related to matching dimensions of personal strivings for power and achievement measures, but was irregularly related to the TAT motives. For instance, self-reported dominance was related positively to TAT achievement, but was unrelated to TAT power. The authors concluded that personal strivings may lie somewhere between self-attributed motives and implicit motives in that strivings appeared to relate to the TAT and PRF better than these scales relate to each other.

However, a second study looking at motives for power, affiliation, and achievement (King, 1995) failed to replicate Emmons and McAdams' (1991) findings. King (1995) failed to find direct relationships between the TAT and a battery of other motive measures, including the PRF as well as strivings, reported wishes, and early memories coded using Winter's (1991) running text system. This study also failed to find relationships between the PRF and strivings measures of power or affiliation motives. The lack of relationship between the PRF and TAT motives conformed well to Spangler's (1992) finding of an average correlation between TAT and self-attributed motives of r = .09 across 36 studies, which suggests that implicit and self-attributed motives are not independent, but are very nearly so. Although clearly more research needs to be done, it seems reasonable to conclude from these studies that the degree of commonality between implicit and explicit methods of assessing motives is not high.

The controversy over implicit and self-attributed needs has fostered an environment in which very few researchers have combined motive measures with personality measures from the other three domains of personality (i.e., trait, ability, or narra-

tive). In their attempt to integrate the domains of traits and motives, Winter et al. (1998) suggested that implicit motives and personality traits generally interact in their prediction of life outcomes. More specifically, they hypothesized that motives represent a person's fundamental goals and desires, whereas traits channel the expression of these motives toward specific paths. In looking at extraversion in combination with affiliation and power motivation in two samples of women, the authors found extraverts preferred volunteer work, combined family and work roles more frequently, and had more stable romantic relationships—but only if they were also high in affiliation motivation. Similarly, extraverts rated work relationships as more important than introverts, but only if they also were high in power motivation. In some cases, crossover interactions were found, where extraverts had more satisfying relationships than introverts when both were high in affiliation motivation, but the reverse was true when both were low on the motive. Winter and his colleagues had hypothesized this last interaction by considering the introverted, low-affiliation individuals as most effective at working alone and unconcerned about the opinions of others, whereas introverted high-affiliation individuals desired friendship and affection but were ineffective at maintaining it because of their awkwardness in interpersonal situations. It is interesting to note that for all of the life outcomes the authors investigated, main effects between traits and motives were rare, and the importance of the constructs would be missed if considered separately.

Although some studies exist examining the relationship between different motive measures, we found surprisingly few studies that have looked at the simultaneous interplay of motive and other personality constructs in the prediction of other outcomes. We suggest that not examining motives in combination with other domains results in a failure to fully understand the importance of motives, or worse, it may lead to erroneous conclusions about what motives are and do. For instance, early research on achievement motivation was stymied for decades by the empirical finding of negative relationships between the motive and variables such as popularity (Boyatzis, 1973). Given the current theorizing concerning trait-motive relationships, this can now be understood as a by-product of an achievement-extraversion interaction, which explains how extraverts and introverts differentially handle their level of achievement motivation (Winter et al., 1998).

The domain of motives, much like the domain of traits, is marked by the use of distinct methods that do not converge as highly as one would like. In part, this divergence is consistent with the theoretical underpinnings of the two approaches. Researchers who adopt the implicit motive approach are skeptical of cognitive appraisals of needs. In contrast, researchers who use the self-attributed approach find this less problematic. It is clear from the studies using these two approaches that they both bring independent complementary predictive variance to the research endeavor. Furthermore, when combined with methods and constructs from the trait domain, we find clear predictions of important life outcomes (Winter et al., 1998).

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