David McClelland studied workplace motivation extensively and theorized that workers as well as their superiors have needs that influence their performance at work. He held that every individual is driven to varying extents by one of three motivators: Achievement; Power; and Affiliation. These motivators all exist to varying extents in each individual, and are socially acquired or learned. How people act is to a significant extent driven by the combination of these attributes, both based on individual and relative strengths.
The need for achievement (n-ach) theory
Achievement Motivation can be defined as an individual's need to meet realistic goals, receive feedback and experience a sense of accomplishment. The n-ach person is 'achievement motivated' and therefore seeks achievement, attainment of realistic but challenging goals, and advancement in the job. There is a strong need for feedback as to achievement and progress, and a need for a sense of accomplishment.
McClelland asserted that while most people do not possess a strong achievement-based motivation, those who do, display a consistent behavior in setting goals. Achievement-motivated individuals set goals which they can influence with their effort and ability, and as such the goal is considered to be achievable. This determined results-driven approach is almost invariably present in the character make-up of all successful business people and entrepreneurs. According to McClelland, other characteristics and attitudes of achievement-motivated people include: Achievement is more important than material or financial reward; achieving the aim or task gives greater personal satisfaction than receiving praise or recognition; financial reward is regarded as a measurement of success, not an end in itself; security is not prime motivator, nor is status; feedback is essential, because it enables measurement of success, not for reasons of praise or recognition (the implication here...