His view is that innovating and risk taking activities or entrepreneurs are to be viewed as expression of strong motive to achieve and not merely a profit motive as traditionally assumed.
Of the several kinds of evidence he presents, the most novel and impressive are the studies that relate societal indexes of Need for Achievement obtained from concept analysis to indexes of society’s economic development.
This illustrates how psychological techniques that have gone considerable experimental validation can be applied in comparative studies of society and in the analysis of historical trends.
The Need for Achievement scores obtained content analysis of folk tales from preliterate societies are positively correlated with earlier achievement training and presence of some full time entrepreneurs in the society.
The question of whether a rise in Need for Achievement precedes a decline of society is treated by motivational content analysis of representative samples of imaginative literature from the same society at critical periods in its history.
The present theory provides the simplest organization of facts about achievement oriented activity. The Achievement Oriented behaviour is conceived as invariably influenced by the strength of the individual’s tendency to achieve success and in addition by his tendency to avoid failure, which is also inherent in situations evolving evaluation of performance.
Attention is also drawn to the determinative role of extrinsic motivational tendency on what appear to be achievement oriented activities. An extrinsic tendency is one produced by some motive or incentive other than achievement.
Tendency to achieve success in particular activity (T) is conceived as jointly determined by the strength of general motive to achieve success (M) strength of expectancy (P) and incentive value of success in that particular activity (I). It is assumed that three variables combine multiplicative to determine the strength of tendency to achieve.
The tendency to achieve is stronger when motive to achieve is strong (M) and when the task is of immediate difficulty or risk. Further assumption is that success increases and failure decreases the expectancy of success (P) at the same and similar activities. This helps to account for effects of success and failure on change in motivation.
Men who are motivated to achieve may be especially attracted to careers in business because they offer an opportunity to take calculated risks with explicit knowledge results and provide one of the few channels that an individual of low status background can enter without higher education and still have a realistic chance of motivation up to higher status.
Available evidence supports the view that business leaders and managers, particularly in sales and marketing, are relatively strong in Need for Achievement.
Several methods yield result comparable to those obtained with imaginative and achievement scores. One method requires an individual to explain the actions of another person; which have been described to him in a short statement.
The explanation imputes feelings and intentions to the person. To avoid some limitation of verbal measures as technique for analysis of characteristics of an individual’s graphic expressions has been developed.
It discriminates reliably between persons who score high and low on imaginative achievement and it has been employed with meaningful result in inferring achievement motivation from designs on artifacts of ancient civilizations.
There has been a series of effort to develop simpler and more direct tests of strength of achievement motive by employing an individual’s self-descriptive or endorsement of particular beliefs and attitudes implying strong achievement motivation, but none has produced an adequate substitute for indirect projective method of assessing motivation. This is partly because self-descriptive activities are much more complexly determined social actions than is commonly imagined.