The term achievement motivation may be defined by independently considering the words achievement and motivation. Achievement refers to competence (a condition or quality of effectiveness, ability, sufficiency, or success). Motivation refers to the energization (instigation) and direction (aim) of behavior. Thus, achievement motivation may be defined as the energization and direction of competence-relevant behavior or why and how people strive toward competence (success) and away from incompetence (failure).

Research on achievement motivation has a long and distinguished history. In fact, researchers have focused on achievement motivation concepts since the emergence of psychology as a scientific discipline (i.e., the late 1800s), when William James offered speculation regarding how competence strivings are linked to selfevaluation. Achievement motivation is currently a highly active area of research, particularly in the ...

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