Notebook, 1993-

Return to - Notes for a Perspective on Art Education

Notes from: "Affiliation, Social Context, Industriousness, and Achievement", by Ronald Gallimore. In Handbook of Cross-Cultural Human Development, edited by Ruth H. Munroe, Robert L. Munroe, Beatrice B. Whiting, Garland STPM Press, New York & London, 1981.

Affiliation, Social Context,
Industriousness, and

The better known theories treat industriousness as a quality of the individual. For example, individuals with need for achievement or n Ach (McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1953) are presumed to work hard for self-produced rewards such as feelings of personal mastery. But there are other reasons a person may work hard. "Nowhere is the importance of affiliative values more evident than in the incredible energy which Hawaiians will expend in preparing a lauau with friends, or helping a friend repair his home, or car, etc . . . . Nothing is more incorrect than the stereotype of the "lazy" Hawaiian; they are an industrious and willing people, but their commitments are always more firm and productive if the goal is an intensification of human relationships rather than an accumulation of personal wealth or some individual achievement." (Gallimore & Howard, 1968, p. 10) The Japanese and Hawaiian data show that individuals may be motivated to work hard and achieve for a variety of reasons, social as well as personal. The view that individual need for achievement is only one of many possible antecedents of achievement and industriousness is held, among others, by McClelland (1975)--with whom the concept of n Ach is most closely identified. Implication? A person may be low in need for achievement and yet still be highly industrious and achieving. He/she may be motivated to work and achieve because of social rewards, affiliation opportunities, power, fear of failure, delusions of persecution, and so on. A person may have low achievement motivation (low n Ach) but be motivated to achieve; this sentence is contradictory only if the term achievement motivation is given surplus meaning. It can be a mischievous term because it is so easily overgeneralized to include all motivations to achieve. The quotation from the Japanese and Hawaiian studies also indicate that affiliation behavior and motivation are among the potential antecedents of industriousness and achievement. The opportunity to interact with others and the approval of family/peers can have a significant impact. In cultures which make affiliation and social rewards contingent on hard work and achievement, such factors may be relatively more important than individual need for achievement. As this review will demonstrate, the amount of industriousness and achievement may not be less for being encouraged and sustained by affiliation variables; some studies suggest affiliation opportunities and rewards may be more significant in Western societies than the traditional emphasis on individual need achievement would indicate. pp. 690-1

Hotly debated for the past decade has been the issue of social context versus "internalized" state or trait explanations of personality or complex behavior. After reviewing nearly five decades of personality research, Mischel (1968) concluded that the search for "situation-free" theories of personality ought to be abandoned; he suggested there was little evidence that traits or "underlying dispositions" alone can account for complex behavior. Rather, he argued that social factors exert a strong influence on such behaviors as industriousness, achievement, affiliation, introversion, aggression, etc . . . . More recently, the social setting personality agument has given way to an interactionist consensus (Bandura, 1977, Magnusson & Endler, 1977; Mischel, 1977). For example, Bandura conceives behavior to be the product of a continuous, reciprocal interaction between person and environment. The environment influences behavior, and behavior influences an individual's environment. In such a model, behavior construed as industriousness is assumed to be a joint product of environmental variables and internal processes . . . . In some instances, persons who otherwise show little sign of achievement or industry might be induced to work and strive for a reward, much as peer approval or money (Atkinson & Feather, 1966, pp. 317-318) Others may work hard in the absence of socially mediated incentives: "After individual learn to set standards for themselves and to generate self-reactions, they can influence their behavior by self-produced consequences. The development of self-reactive functions thus gives humans a capacity for self-direction." (Bandura, 1977, p. 142). "To begin with, one would be hard put to find any situations that lack external inducements for behavior. The physical and social structures of situations, the materials they contain, the expectations of others, and a host of other stimulus determinants all exert a substantial influence on behavior . . . . The activation and persistence of behavior is therefore best understood as a continuous interaction between personal and situational sources of influences." (Bandura, 1977, pp. 108-109). Cultural differences in the relative importance of internal versus external sources of behavior determination are likely to be more a matter of degree than kind. Some discussions attribute variations in industriousness and achievement to differences in social values. Social values are said to define and implement motivated behavior (Rosen, 1956); variables that impel the individual to achieve do not specify the activities through which excellence may be achieved (Rosen, 1956). Although psychological factors may be similar, in one culture school achievement is valued, in another canoe building; what people will work at follows accordingly. But these accounts do not explain how values regulate behavior. There are two mechanisms identified at present. First, people differ in the values they place on money, approval, material possessions, social status, exemption from restrictions, etc. These represent prized incentives which can motivate activities required to secure them; disvalued incentives do not. The higher the incentive value, the higher the level of performance (Watson, 1971). A second mechanism was described by Bandura--value can be invested in activities themselves as well as in extrinsic incentives: "As we have seen, the value does not inhere in the behavior itself but rather in the positive and negative self-reactions it generates. Evaluative self-reinforcement thus provides a second mechanism by which values influence conduct. The evaluative standards represent the values; the anticipatory self-pride and self-criticism for actions that correspond to, or fall short of, adopted standards serve as the regulatory influences. (Bandura, 1977, pp. 139-140) pgs. 690-69l

Industriousness and achievement can be distinguished as means and ends, respectively. Many achievements are the product of skill, creativity, and good fortune as well as industry and effort . . . . In most studies achievement is defined in terms of short-term performance on a task or relatively longer period of work, such as production rates and school achievement scores. These various forms of task and work achievement depend partly or largely on, or are assumed to depend on, individual industriousness; often the operational definition of achievement is directly related to attentiveness and effort expenditure. In some cases it may appear that hard work is its own reward and presumptuous to describe the endproduct as an achievement . . . . pp. 691-92

Among the Japanese, the pursuit of purely personal, individual satisfaction is likely to be viewed as a "sign of excessive immoral egoism" (DeVos, 1968, p. 359). The rewards by Japanese families and society are more important sources of motivation. pg. 692-93

Unlike what she or he does in Western society, traditional man typically does not separate "tasks from personal relationships. In such societies it is common for working parties, sewing bees, and other task-oriented groups to work willingly because of the inherent social rewards in being together." (Graves & Graves, 1974). This quotation from Graves and Graves' study of Polynesians in New Zealand summarizes a view held by many social scientists who have contrasted traditional with industrial societies. The emphasis is not on individual motives or needs, which have been featured in the preceding section. Rather, it is the structure, organization, and dynamic of work situations to which are attributed major variations in individual industriousness and achievement. p. 698.

A review of the developmental literature confirms the generalization that firstborns are more achieving, affiliative, and conforming (Sutton-Smith & Rosenberg, 1970). That these consequences can be attributed to the special relationships between firstborn and parents is also apparently supported, although there is continuing controversy about birth order as a possible artifact: "The firstborns' continuing need for reassurance and guidance appears to evoke contradictory behavior from the parents. The chid seeks help but performs well. The parent gives help but is critically expectant of an even higher level of performance (Sutton-Smith & Rosenberg, 1970, p. 107). As noted earlier, an affiliation/achievement connection is suggested by Sutton-Smith and Rosenberg; affiliative skills are used in service of achievement. Of course, most of the studies cited by Sutton-Smith and Rosenberg (1970) involve U.S. Anglo-American samples. Whether their conclusions are generalizable to the cultures in which affiliation plays a role in achievement motivation is doubtful. For example, in most traditional societies families are generally larger than in the U.S. Tradtional families are also more likely to feature affiliation-motivated achievement. In cultures which would presumably have greater amounts of affiliation motivated persons, the proportion of firstborns to laterborns would be smaller

Tahitians, Maoaris, Samoans, and Hawaiians rely heavily on siblings and others as caretakers (Weisner & Gallimore, 1977), and the effects include a lasting sensitization toward the group (Levy, 1968 p. 595). Graves and Graves (1974, pp. 22-23) suggest multiple caretaking systems place "a great deal of emphasis on sharing and cooperation, behaviors which are highly adaptive in small, closely-knit societies with subsistence economies. By contrast, European children raised within small nuclear families have less opportunity to acquire a level of skill in interpersonal relations and group functioning which is commonly exhibited by Polynesian children." Gallimore et al. (1974) suggest that affiliative behavior is fostered in multiple caretaking socialization by the reinforcement of attending and orienting to many caretakers. Attending and orienting in this context is equivalent to social dependency behavior; in turn, affiliation motivation can be defined as the frequency of attending and orienting to others (or amount of social dependency). Because the multiple-caretaker system encourages children to attend to many others--for example, the sibling and peer group--as well as parents, the basis for adult affiliation behavior is set . . . . Developmental studies of affiliation motivation and achievement are almost nonexistent (Sutton-Smith & Rosenberg, 1970) . . . . Important in all cases is careful attention to social values as well as psychological and socialization factors (Wagatsuma, 1977). pg. 708

There is an important message in these data for investigators of cross-cultural motivational differences. At least in young humans there is more plasticity than rigidity, and the variability in cultural differences in motivation to achieve is probably more impressive than the uniformity. Children are adaptive, quick-witted creatures who will work hard, learn, and achieve in any number of reasonable social environments. They may be from groups that feature one or another form of motivation to achieve, but they are not limited to one form. pg. 712

The Leidermans (1974a; 1977) have described in detail the sharing of infant care with older siblings that occurs in many East African families. They emphasize that while the mother remains "preferred by the infant, especially in times of stress" (1977, p. 432), the child-caretaker also has a central role, increasingly so after 5 months, when she may be in charge for a majority of the day. There are developmental mental correlates of "polymatric" care, some of them to the advantage of infants with sibling caretakers. On this basis, the Leidermans consider that theoretical models of infant socialization based on maternal centrality are not adequate. These comments are in general agreement with Rabin's (1958) classic work indicating the absence of dangerous effects of "multiple mothering" in the Kibbutz setting. Fox (10977; 1978) has augmented this work and finds that except for some firstborn children, whose mothers treat them differently, most kibbutz infants are equally comforted by the mother and the caretaker. As more American infants come to share the world norm for plurality of caretakers, similarly healthy patterns of psychological development are being documented in this country (e.g., Caldwell, Wright, Honig, & Tannenbaum, 1970; Kagan, Kearsley, & Zelazo, 1978). Caretaking by older siblings is common in many cultures (Weisner & Galimore) . . . . The cross-cultural literature lends further evidence but raises the questions of the role of other socializing agents that may facilitate exploration . . . . In the African cases, for example, the social group to which the older infant transfers much interaction is often more supportive of exploration than the comparable European peer group, formally organized and supervised for a few hours a day. pg. 236-37, Charles M. Super, Behavioral Development in Infancy.

[Notes from: Affiliation, Social Context, Industriousness, and Achievement", by Ronald Gallimore. In Handbook of Cross-Cultural Human Development, edited by Ruth H. Munroe, Robert L. Munroe, Beatrice B. Whiting, Garland STPM Press, New York & London, 1981.]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].