Achievement Motivation | Definition, Theory & Examples

What motivates you to move forward in your work? What’s one thing you’re doing that’s impressing your coworkers? Are you getting positive feedback? Are you completing your work brilliantly? If so, you are moving towards achievement motivation, a drive that motivates you to set and achieve your goals.
In this post, we have tried to understand the meaning of Motivating achievement with examples which motivate you to excel and reach new heights of success continuously.

What is Achievement Motivation?

Motivating achievement is the motivation to accomplish goals, succeed at work, and reach satisfactory levels of achievement. The internal force compels Individuals to set goals, exert effort, and persist in the face of challenges to achieve those goals. They have a lot of ambition and determination and are always goal-oriented.

According to psychologist David McClelland, Motivating achievement originates from human motivation theory. McClelland says that the following three factors primarily motivate people:

  • Need for achievement
  • Need for Affiliation
  • Need for Power

Motivating achievement works best for businessmen because they have a goal-oriented mindset, try to achieve high-level goals and deal with setbacks. In other words, achievement acts as an important fuel to drive businessmen’s success.

Achievement Motivation


Motivating achievement means the desire to accomplish goals, excel, and improve one’s performance. Individuals with high levels of achievement motivation are often motivated by internal factors such as personal satisfaction, pride, and desire for mastery, rather than external rewards. They can set challenging goals for themselves and work consistently to achieve them despite obstacles. Some factors such as personality features, cultural values, and past experiences can influence motivation for achievement.

Achievement Motivation Examples

Here are some examples of Motivating achievement:
1. There is a person who is a reporter for a big daily newspaper. He has specific story assignments with deadlines that he must meet. Every time he writes an article, he feels energetic. But when the editor gives constructive criticism, he does not get discouraged and this criticism helps him to do better in his next work. When it gets a headline in the next day’s newspaper, this is his reward.

However, when he is offered a different topic to cover, he declines the opportunity because he doesn’t feel he can do his best. If you can’t do the task, you shouldn’t be doing it at all. Even if you want to do it, you will have to try to work towards that goal and work hard to reach it.

2. A person who is trying to become a manager of a sales company. This person can set small realistic goals monthly. These goals will show actionable steps to improve one’s craft. Motivating achievement requires making an effort to work toward that goal.
You can see Motivating achievement when individuals set goals and work hard to reach them.

3. A startup owner who wants to drive more leads for his app. To do this, he has set an ambitious target of increasing his user base by 100% by the end of the year. The idea of achieving this goal motivates him to develop an innovative marketing campaign and enhance the user experience.

4. A businessman who wants to expand his business to other areas as well. He divides his expansion into parts – attempting to enter four countries within three years. He then does extensive research on the local markets, regulations, culture, and competitors, even bringing in some freelancers to help him. In this case, achievement – primarily motivates them.

Achievement Motivation Theory

Motivating achievement theory suggests that these needs may vary between individuals and may be influenced by several factors including upbringing, culture, and life experiences. Psychologist David McClelland’s theory in the 1960s states that individuals need achievement to excel, achieve goals, and exceed standards of excellence, which motivates them.

To this, McClelland identified three major needs that motivate human behaviour:

Need for achievement: It means the desire to excel, achieve a set of standards, and efforts to succeed. Individuals with a high need for achievement are motivated by challenging tasks and opportunities for personal achievement. They often set difficult goals for themselves and prefer tasks that provide clear feedback on their performance.

Need for Affiliation: It means the desire for social interaction, acceptance, and close relationships. Individuals with a high need for affiliation seek approval and support from others and avoid conflict and competition.

Need for power: It means the desire to influence, control, or exert influence over others. Individuals with a high need for power seek out authority and leadership roles. They enjoy competition and the opportunity to influence others.

Achievement Motivation

How to Use Motivating Achievement in the Workplace

  • Set clear and challenging goals for employees.
  • Provide regular constructive feedback to help employees understand their progress and areas for improvement.
  • Recognize employees’ achievements to support their motivation and commitment.
  • Create a supportive workplace environment that values effort, growth, and learning
  • Encourage employees to take ownership of their work and make decisions.
  • Provide employees with training, mentoring and career advancement opportunities to develop their skills.
  • Foster a competitive environment where employees can challenge themselves and each other to achieve excellence.
  • Provide incentives and rewards to employees’ motivations and goals to encourage performance.
Achievement motivation

Read Also: Importance of Spiritual Goals for 2024 | Examples & Plan


What is the Motivating achievement?

Motivating achievement means the desire to accomplish goals, excel, and improve one’s performance.

What are the characteristics of Motivating achievement

The desire to excel, set and achieve goals, face challenges, and seek opportunities for growth and success.

What are the three types of Motivating achievement

Need for achievement
Need for Affiliation
Need for Power

What is Motivating achievement in school?

Motivating achievement in school, a student wants to succeed academically. For this, he will have to set goals, make efforts and keep facing challenges to achieve success in his studies.


Achievement motivation is an important factor in motivating individuals to pursue their goals and aspirations. It involves the desire to excel, set and complete challenging tasks, and face obstacles head-on. By understanding and using Motivating achievement, individuals can strive for personal growth, success, and fulfilment in various aspects of their lives.

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