Achievement motivation and emotional intelligence

All people long for success but they differ by the power of the achievement motive, which is determined by the ratio of desire for success and the fear of failure. The task of emotions when choosing the goal difficulty is described by Goleman (2017), claiming that emotional intelligence helps not only to achieve a better performance but at the same time inspires to initiate the activity, with enthusiasm, even if it is a specifically difficult task. A different category supporting a mutual connectivity of achievement motivation and emotional intelligence is Atkinson’s assumption, stating that the goal depends on two variables: the expectation on the probability of achieving the success (the achievement motive decreases along with the decrease of success probability) and on the value of achieving goals (e.g., an attractive goal determines stronger motivation).

The concept of achievement motivation has been verified by various authors. For example de Charms’ personal causality, Heider’s concept of causal attributions, Escalon and Festinger’s concept of final valence, and several others, play an important role (as shown in Bandura, 2018). At present, Heckhausen’s model of self-evaluation is one of the most complex views of achievement motivation and it seems to be very close to Meyer’s concept of one’s own talent, which relates to Bandura’s (2018) concept of self-realization (self-efficacy). According to the above-mentioned author, a human is not solely motivated by internal powers, nor is s/he automatically shaped by the external environment, but s/he contributes to his/her own motivation, activity, and self-development. The perception of self-evaluation is a flexible system of self-esteem that helps to overcome failure. Trust in one’s own abilities is shown through various processes: cognitive processes - high self-confidence influences the structure of thinking, and thus the behavior itself (e.g., high self-evaluation correlates with higher goals); emotional processes - are especially in the area of stress and anxiety (e.g., people who believe they can partially control threatening situations don’t feel such extensive anxiety as those who experience helplessness); and lastly motivation processes - influenced by one’s own proficiency, endurance, and will in demanding but capable situations (Bandura, 2018).

The role of emotions in achievement motivation is undeniable, especially in cases of fear and anxiety. Emotions do differ from motivation, at least in the type of specific goal orientations affiliated with them. The ability of successful performance under the influence of fear dramatically determines the motivation processes. In the background of a negative emotional state, achievement is often affected and can lead to unsuccessful results. Heckhausen (1980) claims that the fear of failure is not the only obstructing factor of success- focused activity. This opinion has been verified in the research of Buckert, Mayer, and Schmatt (in Feldman-Barrett, 2006) suggesting that the fear of failure can inhibit human activity only in connection with own abilities.

Rehulkova, Frankova and Osecka (1995a) studied the relation of achievement motivation and anxiety through the old version of the Achievement Motivation Questionnaire (Dotaznik motivacie к vykonu, DMV; Pardel, Marsalova, & Hrabovska, 1992) and Spielberger’s Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, modified by Mullner, Ruisel, & Farkas, 1980), which are designed to measure state and trait anxiety. They found out that anxiety-obstructing achievement is connected to both states and traits. Negative trait anxiety is mostly connected to performance-obstructing anxiety. Out of all negative and positive elements, negative trait anxiety is applied as the only predictor of achievement- obstructing anxiety. According to research findings, achievement-enhancing anxiety is neither related to state nor trait anxiety. However, it relates to a positive element of trait anxiety, meaning the happier people considered themselves to be the higher achievement motivation they had. A positive relation between achievement motivation and presently experienced anxiety can be interpreted in two ways. On one hand, it is possible that high achievement motivation increases currently experienced feelings of anxiety. On the other hand, it is possible that currently experienced anxiety can either slow down or enhance achievement. If the achievement is slowed down, the person has low achievement motivation and when the achievement is enhanced the person has high achievement motivation. Weiner and Hareli (in Bipp & van Dam, 2014) warn that actual explorations in the field of achievement motivation have been focused on specific units, such as prediction of the result, interpersonal determinants of achievement behavior, the intensity of achievement efforts in specific individuals, self-efficacy, and causal attributions. Bipp and van Dam (2014) further emphasize that for adequate comprehension of achievement motivation, the analysis of emotions in the context of achievement is forgotten. The authors include all ranges of emotions such as pride, admiration, gratefulness, maliciousness, arrogance, envy, etc. Various literature (i.e., Feldman-Barrett, 2006; Slamenik, 2011; Stehlikova, 2016) dedicated to the emotional experiencing of success and failure prove the influence on a new goal formulation. These results suggest that a set of higher, more demanding goals increases one’s own aspiration level and a sequence of failures leads to a decrease in aspiration level.

Fear, anxiety, joy, happiness, pleasure, shame, guilt, or anger play an essential part in achievement motivation. Shame and guilt are often associated with failure in the achievement situation with shame resulting from failure attribution of low abilities and guilt resulting from a lack-of-effort attribution. Shame is initiated by public characteristics, which is not will-controlled. Guilt follows breaking the norm and is initiated by the reasoning of one’s own responsibility. For this reason, shame leads to hopelessness and incommunicativeness, and guilt enhances behavior leading to the modification of acting. Both emotions contain negative self-evaluation, which is painful and triggers tension, agitation, and depression. Hopelessness occurs in a low ability attributed to an individual or a too-demanding task. In hopelessness, the stability of causes is also vital. If an individual believes that failure will repeat in the future, then hopelessness will likely occur.

In addition to emotions, personality traits play a significant role in achievement motivation. An analysis of chosen temperament traits was the focus in research by Gurgova (2004), who discovered a statistically significant relation between achievement-obstructing anxiety and depression and anxiety. Her findings show that negative emotional experiencing increases achievement-obstructing anxiety, which in turn decreases the overall level of achievement motivation. Rehulkova, Frankova and Osecka (1995b) discovered that in achievement motivation, the tendency of positive self-presentation also applies. The level of performance-obstructing anxiety increases with higher levels of neuroticism and lower introversion. A previous study analyzes the relation between introversion-extroversion and achievement motivation (Paskova, 2005). The study utilized a five-factor concept of personality - the Big Five model. They found out that anxiety significantly applies to the achievement behavior of especially introverted individuals. The findings suggest that a prevalence of inadequate fear prevents participants from attaining optimal achievement. This influence is especially dominant in the case of emotional labile introverts. Even in emotionally stable individuals, tension occurs prior to achievement. Moreover in many cases, a certain level of anxiety is necessary to give optimal achievement. The evidence suggests that the level of achievement motivation has statistically positive correlates (r=.63,p<.001) with conscientiousness. The more an individual is achievement- oriented, the more s/he is characterized by qualities such as endurance when reaching a goal, reliability, industriousness, and self-demandingness. A low level of achievement motivation (an individual w'ho is not concerned with performance) is connected to aimlessness, laziness, carelessness, “w'eak will” (in terms of endurance), and bordering with indulgence convenience (e.g., concerning the orientation on pleasure more than on performance). These findings are understandable from theoretical assumptions and it is logical that a highly achievement-motivated individual will have a tendency to complete the task.

A key task of human emotionality results not only in the level of perception and orientation in one’s own emotions, but also in their facilitation and coping or management skills to achieve success. This knowledge led us to an analysis of the relationship of achievement motivation and emotional intelligence, particularly trait emotional intelligence. Research findings have revealed that emotional intelligence not only affects the way individuals get along with others but also affects how they succeed in their personal and professional life (Goleman, 2017). Difficulties in being able to perceive, understand, manage, and process emotions effectively will likely affect concentration on an activity, problem-solving, and decision-making. If negative emotions are not processed, psychological exhaustion occurs in conjunction with energy loss and the potential occurrence of depression (Vagnerova, 2005). The connection of these variables has been examined by several authors (Kumar, Mehta, & Maheshwari, 2013; Naik & Kiran, 2012; Senko & Freund, 2015; Sobhi, 2012) who found that El had significant relationships with achievement motivation. One view is that achievement motivation completes emotional intelligence, meaning that if achievement motivation decreases, then human creativity can be enhanced through El. In these cases, El relates to the conscious application of cognitive and emotional support to complete the initiated activity. Some of the studies aimed at this relation showed significant relationships between achievement motivation and various El models.

 
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