Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Need for Achievement

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_537-1



Need for achievement is the desire to obtain excellent results by setting high standards and striving to accomplish them. It is a consistent concern with doing things better.


Scientists’ interest in the issues of motivation to achieve successes was developed in the first half of the twentieth century, when Henry Murray (1938, p. 164) defined the need for achievement as a desire to “accomplish something difficult;…to overcome obstacles and attain a high standard; to excel oneself; to rival and surpass others.”

A significant contribution to the development of studies on the need for achievement was made by David McClelland, who, together with his co-workers, adapted the Thematic Apperception Test to examine motivation to achieve successes (McClelland et al. 1953). He defined the need for achievement as a general and relatively stable personality disposition that is learned on the basis of affective experiences. He claimed that all...


Achievement Goal Performance Goal Mastery Goal Personality Research Implicit Motive 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of LodzLodzPoland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Monika Wróbel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of LodzLodzPoland