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Motivation and social mobility Ishiguro, Shunsaku

Abstract

This study attempts to explicate the observable differences in the rate of upward social mobility among the various ethnic groups in terms of a configuration of motives. The results of earlier studies investigating the relationship between achievement motivation and social mobility had indicated that the achievement motivation by itself is not sufficient to satisfactorily explicate the problem of differential rate of social mobility. It has been suggested that it may be necessary to incorporate the affiliation motive as the second motivational factor affecting social mobility. This study proposes to pursue this suggestion further. The general hypotheses to be tested here are as follows. 1. Ethnic groups vary in their motivational orientation, and they can be classified into groups of similar motivational configuration (motivational groups) determined by the relative strengths of the tendencies to approach success and to avoid failure, the two components of achievement motivation, and the affiliation motive. 2. These motivational groups vary in their levels of occupational and educational aspirations which are assumed to be indices of potential mobility. 3. Because of the feeling of alienation, the affiliation motive would be stronger among the members of the ethnic minority than among the members of the culturally dominant group, and it is expected that among the former the affiliation motive is more significant as a determinant of aspiration levels than the achievement motive. The sample consisted of all available Grade 11 and 12 boys from three Vancouver schools. The test consisting of the Thermatic Apperception Test (TAT), Mandler-Sarasen Test Anxiety Questionnaire (TAQ), and a set of questions designed to establish subjects' ethnicity, social class, occupational and educational aspirations were administered in a number of separate group sessions in each of the schools. Both the TAT and TAQ were scored in accordance with the relevant scoring manuals and the occupational aspiration score was determined by a modified version of the system used by Rosen. The results are in general not conclusive. The hypothesized relationship between motivational configuration and occupational aspiration is apparent although the trend is not statistically significant. There is, however, no apparent relationship between motivational configuration and educational aspirations. The results further show that when class is taken into account the aspiration scores of the members of the upper class is related neither to achievement nor to affiliation. The question of the relative strengths of affiliation and achievement motives also remains unresolved. It was concluded that the theory of achievement motivation may find useful applications in the problems of socio-economic phenomena, but these results indicate the improvements in both theoretical and methodological areas must be made in order to obtain more reliable results.

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