The power motive

Alfred Adler became very interested in the power motive. By power, Alder essentially meant the ability to manipulate or control the activities of others to suit one’s own purpose. He found that this ability starts in infancy when babies realize that if they cry they influence their parent’s behavior. Children’s position as babies gives them considerable power over their parents. According to Alder, this manipulative ability is inherently pleasurable. Children, for example, often have a hard time adjusting to the continuing reduction in their position power.

In fact they might spend a significant amount of time as adults trying to recapture the power they had as children. Adler did not feel, however, that children seek power for its sake as often as they do out of necessity. Power, for children, is often a life-and-death matter because they are helpless and need to count on their parents availability. Parents are a child’s life line. Thus, power acquires an importance to children that they somehow never lose, even though they are later able to fend for themselves.

Adler found that if children do not encounter too much tension as they mature, their need for power gradually transforms itself into a desire to perfect their social relationships. They want to be able to interact with others without fear or suspicion in an open and trusting atmosphere. Thus, individuals often move from task aspect of power, wanting to structure and manipulate their environment and the people in it, to a concern for relationships, developing trust and respect for others.

Robert W.White competence motive can be identify in young children as they move from the earlier stage of wanting to touch and handle everything in reach to the later stage of wanting not only to touch but to take things apart and put them back together again. They become aware of what they can and cannot do. During these early years, children develop a feeling of competence. Whether children have a strong or weak sense of competence depends on their successes and failures in the past. If their successes overshadow their failures, then their feeling of competence will tend to be high.

They will have a positive outlook towards life, seeing almost every new situation as an interesting challenge that they can overcome. Since expectancy tends to influence motives, people with low feeling of competence will not often be motivated to seek new challenges or take risks. These people would rather let their environment control them than attempt to change it. McClelland’s achievement motive believes that achievement-motivated people is more concern with personal achievement than with the rewards of success.

They get a bigger kick out of winning or solving a difficult problem than they get from any money or praise they receive. He believe that collage students with a high need for achievement will generally get better grades than equally bright students with weaker achievement needs. In the final analysis if one is to look at motivation in view of the education system, one can safely say that a basic principle of motivation exist that is applicable to learning in any situation. The environment can be used to focus the student’s attention on what needs to be learn.

Learning is most effective when an individual is ready to learn, that is, when one wants to know something. Motivation is enhanced by the way in which the instructional material is organized. It is also very important to help each student set goals and to provide informative feedback regarding progress toward the goal, and to remember that many behavior results from a combination of motives. None of the technique will produce sustained motivation unless the goals are realistic for the learner. The basic learning principle involved is that success is more predictably motivating than is failure.

For goals of high value there is less tendency to choose more difficult conditions. Having learners assist in defining goals increases the probability that they will understand them and want to reach them. However, students sometimes have unrealistic notions about what they can accomplish. Possibly they do not understand the precision with which a skill must be carried out or have the depth of knowledge to master some material. To identify realistic goals, instructors must be skilled in assessing a student’s readiness or a student’s progress towards goals, and in the process achieving motivation.