Social motives are complex motive states. They are called social because they are learned in “social groups”, especially in the family.
Social motives are also called as learned motives or secondary motives. There are many social motives. Murray has classified social motives into 17 different types. Morgan et al has classified social motives into the following types namely.
(a) Need for achievement
(b) Need for power
(c) Human aggression
(d) Need for affiliation
We will, briefly, discuss these above mentioned social motives.
(a) The Need for Achievement:
The Need for Achievement is one of the most important social motives. It is concerned with setting goals and achieving them. It is concerned with becoming successful in whatever activity one undertakes and avoiding failures. People with a strong achievement motive not only like to excel others, but also try to do better than what they did in the past.
Individuals who are high in need for achievement do better in school, in their job and in other areas of life.
People with a strong achievement motive choose tasks which are neither very easy nor very difficult but the one which they are confident of accomplishing through their best efforts.
The need for achievement is considerably influenced by the following factors:
(1) Independence training in childhood:
Individuals who are high in need for achievement come from families where they have been trained to be independent” right from the childhood. Some individuals are given enough freedom to do their tasks.
(2) Socio-cultural environment:
Socio-cultural environment also influence the need for achievement. For example, in some societies like the Arapesh of New Guinea and Zuni Indians, this motive is absent. An average American is high in need for achievement as compared to an average Indian.
(3) Past success:
Individuals who have a past history of success in a given task are likely to be high in need for achievement as compared to those who have a past history of failure.
It is another factor which influences the need for achievement. Women generally show a low level of need for achievement as compared to men. Horner found that in many women the need for achievement is suppressed due to the fear of success because success in a conventional task does not always bring social success.
David McClelland, Atkinson and Litwin has done considerable work on the need for achievement. Mc-Celland has observed that need for achievement is related to economic growth. Societies with a high need for achievement have a high rate of economic growth than societies with a low need for achievement.
Psychologists have developed tests to measure social motives in general and need for achievement in particular. Projective tests are generally used to measure the need for achievement. One of the well-known projective tests is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).
Characteristics of People who have high need for achievement:
(1) Those that have a high need for achievement prefer to work on moderately challenging tasks which promise success. They do not like to work on very easy tasks where there is no challenge and so no satisfaction of their achievement needs. Nor do they like very difficult tasks, where the likelihood of their success is low.
(2) High achievers like tasks in which their performance can be compared with that of others. They like feedback on how they are doing.
(3) Those high in need for achievement tend to be persistent in working on tasks they perceive as career-related or as reflecting those personal characteristics (such as intelligence) which are involved in ‘getting ahead’.
(4) When such individuals are successful, they tend to raise their level of aspiration in a realistic way so that they will move on to slightly more challenging and difficult tasks.
(5) Individuals with a high need for achievement like to work in a situation in which they have some control over the outcome. They are not gamblers.
(b) Need for Power or Power Motivation:
According to Morgan et al power motivation can be defined as the need to “Influence, control, cajole, persuade, lead charm others and to enhance one’s reputation in the eyes of the other people”. People with strong power motivation derive satisfaction from achieving these goals.
Power motivation can be expressed in many ways; the manner of expression depends on the person’s socio-economic status, sex, level of maturity and the degree to which the individual fears his or her own power motivation.
Following are some of the ways in which people with high motivation express themselves :
(1) By impulsive and aggressive action.
(2) By participation in competitive sports such as hockey, football, boxing swimming, etc.
(3) By joining organizations and holding office in the organizations.
(4) Among men, by drinking and sexually dominating women.
(5) By obtaining and collecting possessions, such as fancy for cars, guns, elaborate stereo sets, numerous credit cards, and the like.
(6) By associating with people who are no particularly popular with others and who perhaps, are more easily controlled.
(7) By choosing occupations such as teaching, diplomacy, business, clergy, etc. in which, people in high need for power, have a chance to have an impact on others.
(8) By building and disciplining their bodies; this seems especially characteristic of women with strong power needs.
Related to power motivation is a concept of Machiavellianism. The term machiavellianism has been coined in psychology to describe people who express their power motivation by manipulating and exploiting others in a deceptive and unscrupulous fashion.
(c) Human Aggression:
Baron has defined aggression as “any form of behaviour directed toward the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment”.
Aggression can be physical or verbal, active or passive, direct or indirect.
Many theories of aggressions has been put forward. One of the well- known theory is that aggression is instinctive in nature Freud and Lorenz believed in instinctive theory of aggression.
According to some researcher’s aggression in a result of environmental and social factors. Dollard and associates put forward frustration aggression hypothesis.
Aggression can be result of many environmental and social factors. Some of which are as follows:
1. Verbal insult or negative evaluation from another person
2. Obedience to authority.
3. Crowding and intense noise.
According to Bandura aggression is a learned behaviour and it is learned according to the various principles of learning.
(d) Need for Affiliation:
Is a common social motive that relates to socialising, interacting with others particularly with peers; pleasing others and winning their affection, expressing and maintaining attitudes of loyalty to family and to friends.
Need for affiliation has also been studied to a very great extent by McClelland and Atkinson using the TAT cards and other related projective technique.