Relationship Between Self Esteem and Achievement Essay

ABSTRACT The present study explored the relationship between individual self esteem and achievement. The sample of the study consisted of 85 respondents working in the private sector of Pakistan. A total of 21 companies were visited for this purpose. It was hypothesized that individuals having self-esteem will also have high achievement. Two scales were used to measure self-esteem and achievement. Self-esteem scale comprised of 13 items and the achievement scale also comprised of 13 items measured on 6 components of achievement.

Both questionnaires were given to each subject and analyzed afterwards. The results indicated that those subjects scoring high on self-esteem scale also scored high on achievement scale. The results are significantly reliable and positively co-related with each other. Although it has been suggested in previous studies that self-esteem is associated with achievement but such studies have been carried out among students in educational institutions. This paper focuses on the private sector in Pakistan where no such research has been conduced so far.

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Index Terms – Self-esteem, Achievement. INTRODUCTION Achievement motivation in managers has long been viewed as an ingredient of organizational performance. Research work on achievement motivation among managers has studied the relationship of achievement with various variables but no research has so far been carried out studying the impact of self-esteem on achievement motivation. A rationale for measuring self-esteem and achievement stems out from the fact the fact that no research has so far been carried out on these two from an organizational perspective.

Our focus is to highlight this association and what benefits it might bring for the organizations when filling their managerial positions. This paper will help companies in Pakistan understand the need for high self-esteem people in their work environment and what impact these individuals will bring to the organization’s performance. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ON SELF-ESTEEM AND ACHIEVEMENT Self-Esteem Self can be explained as “that component of our consciousness that gives us a sense of personal existence” (Hamachek, 1992). Nathaniel (1987) added that the need of maintaining positive evaluations of one’s self is vitally important.

According to him, self-esteem has two integrated parts, first entails a sense of personal efficacy and the second addresses a sense of personal worth. We can say that it is the integrated sum of personal confidence and self respect. Self-esteem is an individuals’ private feeling towards self that is derived from one’s perception and appraisal of different attributes of self and is indicative of the value placed over one’s own self. It is the general feeling of worth and competence associated with one’s self. These evaluations and feelings about the self affect responses and shape one’s behavior towards different aspects of life.

It is an important judgment passed by the person himself/herself. This judgment reflects the degree of self respect and self confidence that a person can have. Researchers have shown that self-esteem plays a vital role in an individual’s psychological health. A certain level of selfesteem is necessary for an individual in order to function effectively and in a positive manner. An individual’s self-esteem is a cluster of attributes about himself. Some are favorable and others are unfavorable. These clusters consist of generalizations, which are made on the basis of interactions with environment.

Self-esteem is derived from one’s personal experiences, from others’ judgments and from identifications with key figures such as parents, siblings’ and friends. Self-esteem is not reached in a day; it is the cumulative results of defaults, evasions and irrationalities, a long succession of failures to use one’s mind properly. Many classic theories of personality have addressed self-esteem needs, many problems (emotional and behavioral) attributed to unfulfilled needs for self-esteem (Adler 1930, Allport 1937, Bednar, Wells and Peterson 1989, Horney 1937, Maslow 1968, Rogers 1959).

Rosenberg (1979) viewed the self as made up of 2 elements, identity which represents cognitive variables and self-esteem which represents the affective variables. Self esteem is operationally defined as: “Individual’s feelings about his or her worth as a person, derived from the evaluation of various salient dimensions of the self, namely psychological, social and physical or any other” (Rifai, 1999). Types of Self-esteem Korman (1986) suggests three types of self-esteem. They are: Chronic Self-esteem

This type is defined as a relatively persistent personality trait or dispositional state that occurs consistently across various situations. This self-esteem is a result of past experiences and focuses on one’s competencies. An individual’s confidence in his/her competencies directs the individual into situations which require the use of those competencies. Task Specific Self-esteem Task specific self-esteem is one’s self perception of his/her competence concerning a particular task or job.

This type of self-esteem is the result of feedback, which comes directly from the observation of he results of one’s efforts. Socially Influenced Self-esteem This type of self-esteem is a function of the expectations of others. It results from communication or feedback from reference group members or society as a whole, concerning the value of identity and the individual’s ability to meet the expectations of the reference groups and/or the society as a whole. Theories of Self-esteem Sociological Perspective Cooley (1902) was one of the earliest social theorists who addressed the concept of “self”.

According to Cooley, the social milieu from which a person comes contributes heavily to how a person views himself. Cooley (1902) believes that self is an important aspect of our personality and is the reflection we receive from the minds of others. Cooley (1961) further suggested that our behaviors are under the influence of our social order. Our self-esteem, self confidence and hopes are chiefly founded upon the opinions of others. Mc Dougall (1908) explained the concept of self in his book “Introduction to Social Psychology” as the development of the growth of the self concept and self consciousness.

Mead (1934) hypothesized that “self” in any social condition is developed through the interaction between individuals and their social world. Psychoanalytic Perspective Sigmund Freud (1913, 1927) conceived self-concept in terms of both instinctual dynamics and mental structure. According to Freud (1932), emotions, strivings and ideas arise from a conflict between people’s aggressive, pleasure seeking, biological impulses and the social restraints against them. In “the Ego of Id” Freud (1960) described the origins and development of Id, ego and super ego and also summarized their functions and relationships.

According to Freud (1960), feelings of pride or guilt lead to a sense of self-esteem. Four uses of the words that are identified in Freud’s psychology are: the self as ego and agent, the self as an indirect object of knowledge discovered through external world, the self as direct object of knowledge (a version or self concept requiring a fully developed capacity for abstract thoughts) and the self as image that one self consciously projects (a concept that depends upon social as well as cognitive development).

Finally it is noted that Freud’s (1960) concept of self and its attributes e. g. self-worth, self confidence and self acceptance can be more qualified by using the word ‘self-esteem’. According to Adler (1930), each individual is a unique being in thinking, feeling, speaking and acting. Jung (1933) was also one of the first to conceptualize ‘self’ that actively strives for oneness and unity. Jung (1959) further says that the self serves as a motivating force, which is present from birth, but does not appear until the middle age.

According to Jung, evaluating the comparison of one’s abilities with other people having almost same abilities is “self-esteem”. Trait Perspective According to Murray (1938), there are twenty needs, which are significant and inter-related to one another. Importance and satisfaction of these needs leads to the development of personality and concept of self in an individual. Murray (1938) further described that with the satisfaction of base line needs, the esteem needs emerges strongly.

He emphasized that in one’s self, there are central organizing and governing processes in the individual whose function is to integrate the conflicting forces to which the person is exposed, then to satisfy the person’s needs and plan for attainment of personal goals. According to Murray, four major motives are developed from the need of esteem: recognition, dominance, nurturance and achievement. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy theory of needs (1970) conveys the same idea. In his need theory, the needs are arranged in hierarchy in ascending order.

Maslow placed great emphasis on the needs of gaining and maintains self-esteem. He said that it is through fulfillment of self-esteem need that individuals precede to the highest level of need i. e. self actualization. The esteem need centers around the issue of firmly establishing a high sense of self worth which is achieved through the appraisal of actual acceptance in one’s own activities and through the esteem received from others. Humanistic Perspective Self which is the nuclear concept of Rogers’s theory (1959) refers to how we view ourselves in relation to the various roles we play in life.

Rogers (1959) further suggested that the self concept is “little man in mind” which controls a person’s actions. Rogers (1959) saw self-esteem as a significant factor in psychological health. He argued that self-esteem develops through childhood as we internalize social standards or conditions of worth, which we learn through everyday social interaction. The ultimate goal of Rogers’s therapeutic model is to raise the person’s self-esteem and to allow him develop more realistic conditions of worth so that it can remain that way.

Allport (1961) used “propriate” to describe self. Allport (1961) distinguishes 8 functions and properties of the self or proprium. First is the sense of bodily self is composed of sensations. Second is the self identity which entails a feeling of self continuity over time. Third, egoism or self seeking, that results in pride and self-esteem and depends on success and failure in one’s ability to deal with the world. Fourth, ego extension, says that a child develops love for parents, pets and other possessions. Fifth, self image has 3 components.

First is the child’s perception of his abilities and status relative to others. Second is the composite of other person’s expectations of him and third entails that he may begin to formulate goals for himself that also become a part of his self image. The sixth function is self as rational cooper which is the conscious portion of personality concerned with resolving problems caused by one’s biological impulses, environment and prohibitions on one’s conscience. Last is the propriate striving is a motivational concept which means formulating a long range goal or purpose for one’s life.

Socio-meter Theory of Self-esteem Socio-meter theory is also known as the socio-meter model of self-esteem (Leary, Tambor, Terdel & Downs, 1995). According to the socio-meter model, self-esteem system functions as a socio-meter that monitors the degree to which the individual is being included versus excluded by other people and that motivates the person to behave in ways that minimize the probability of rejection or exclusion. The socio-meter model also explains why people place varying degrees of importance on different domains of self (e. g. ntellectual, athletic, and social) as well as why the importance people place on these domains correlates highly with the importance they think others place o them. The self-esteem system is a socio-meter, which is involved in the maintenance of interpersonal relations (Leary et. all, 1995). In brief, conceptualizing the self-esteem system as a socio-meter that monitors one’s standing with others help to explain most of its central properties. In addition, it confers an essential function of self-esteem, which appears to be innate and universal.

Terror Management Theory of Self-esteem This theory addresses a variety of inter-related questions concerning what self-esteem is, what psychological functions it serve and how it is related to other aspects of individual’s concept of reality (Greenberg, Solomon & Pyszcynshi, 1986, 1992). The theory proposes that self-esteem is the feeling that one is an object of primary value in a meaningful world. Individuals sustain self-esteem by maintaining faith in a culturally derived conception of reality and living up to the standards of value that are perceived world wide.

Correlates of Self-esteem Below is a brief overview of researches which studied the relationship of self-esteem with other variables. Self-esteem and Positive Emotions Research showed that people with low self-esteem experience virtually every negative emotion (Cutrona 1982, Goswick & Jones 1981, Leary 1983, Taylor & Brown 1988, White 1981). High self-esteem appears to buffer people against feelings of anxiety, enhance coping up with such situations and promote physical health.

On the other hand, high self-esteem promotes positive effect by buffering person against stress and other negative emotions and by enhancing personal adjustment (Baumeister 1993, Greenberg et, all 1992, Taylor & Brown 1998). Another explanation maintained that high self-esteem is associated with confidence, high expectations of success; high self-esteem is also associated with optimism and lowered anxiety and depression On the other hand, people with low self-esteem are associated with stress and depression (Greenberg, Pyscynski and Solomon, 1986).

Individuals with high self-esteem are confident about their capabilities and low self-esteem feel inadequate, helpless and inferior and this result in negative cognitions and anxiety and make such low self-esteem susceptible to stress (Pearlin, Liebermen, Menghan and Mullan 1981, Pearlin and Schooler 1978). Self-esteem and Goal Achievement Studies have shown that high self-esteem enhances willingness to strive towards desired goals and to persist in face of obstacles and setbacks (Bandura 1977, Kernis 1995).

Other studies have focused that high self-esteem work harder and perform better than low self-esteem since they have high achievement motivation and high set challenges (Perez 1973, Shrauger and Sorman 1977). Coopersmith (1908) found that high self-esteem were found active, expressive and successful individuals where as low self-esteem is correlated with low ambition and less physical fitness. Self-esteem and Social Approval Cooley’a (1901) observations proved that people feeling about themselves are highly sensitive to how they think they are regarded by others.

The more support and approval people receive, the higher is their self-esteem. It also explains why high self-esteem correlates highly with individual performance (Master and Marold, 1991). Baldwin and Holmes (1987) showed that people adopt other’s standards and their self-esteem is affected by performance in domains that others value. Our self-esteem tends to be higher if we get positive feedback from others and it tends to be lower when we get negative feedback from others (Baungardner and Arkin 1987, Schlenker 1980).

Self-esteem and Life Satisfaction Campbell (1981) showed that self-esteem is strongest predictor of life satisfaction in adults in US. High correlation was seen in the study. Andrew and Whitney (1976) found that life satisfaction is a central construct in high self-esteem maintenance. This study was conducted in college students to check whether most students are satisfied with their lives and whether they also have high self-esteem as compared to those that are not satisfied. Self-esteem and Assertive Behavior

Masters and his colleagues (1987) found that high self-esteem are more likely to express their views openly and confidently are able to be more assertive, having more convincing power high self-evaluations and high self-esteem. Dua(1989) studied high self-esteem to be positively related with assertive behavior and negatively related with negative cognitions and stress. People are prone to develop stressful conditions and have less assertive behavior if a considerable level of self-esteem is lacking in them. Self-esteem and Employment

Researches have shown that loss of work creates financial strain, it also affects family relations in which there maybe loss of respect. Unemployment requires a re-organization of activity and often results in low self-esteem (Elder 1974, 1979). Another study found that level of low self-esteem was assessed in employed and unemployed individuals’ loss of self-esteem and reduced psychological well-being was reported among unemployed (Komorovsky 1940, Tausky and Pledment 1967, Pooley and Catalano 1980, Warr 1982). One more study concluded that unemployment has strong effect on well being, psychological health and self-esteem (Hepworth 1980).

Self-esteem and Traditional Roles Research showed that stereotypic female role behavior and traditional female occupations are negatively related with female self-esteem and that females who are home makers had low self-esteem than careerists (Boverman, Clarkson, Rosenkrantz and Vogel, 1970). Stoomberg and Harkees (1978) argued that stereotypical female roles like home-making, child rearing and house keeping are devalued in West Culture, and women doing these roles are assigned lower status as compared to more creative career oriented women thus these home making had a negative impact on their self-esteem and self evaluations.

Self-esteem and Gender Studies have shown that boys possess high self-esteem as compared to girls when assessed using perceived competence scale for children which is a multidimensional measure of children’s perceptions of control and a children’s personal attributes questionnaire (Alpert, Linda & Connell, James 1989). Another study established male high self-esteem towards masculinity as compared to females. They showed higher results in the scale of self-esteem showing that males have more positive regard with respect to their masculinity as compared to females (March, Herbert, Antill, John, Cunningham, John 1987).

Self-esteem and Academic Achievement A positive relationship was found between academic achievement and self-esteem using 10 highly successful graduates identified by their own grade point averages and 10 remedial under graduates. Significant difference was found with remedial scoring low on self-esteem (Kinney, Pam & Miller, Mark, 1988). Another study showed that students achieving high grades in school usually evaluate themselves more positively as compared to normal grades. They evaluate themselves as more intelligent, hard working and favorable to their teachers (Paul, Karen & Moore, 1989). Self-esteem and Parental Treatment

Studies found high level of self-esteem with children who were given lot of attention and affection by their parents ad also clear expectations, firm rules and just punishments. These children in turn tend to be high achievers (Coopersmith, 1967). Self-esteem and Appearance Self-esteem and self concept with body image and individual appearance was studied. Results indicated that high self-esteem perceive themselves more attractive and appealing (Cash, Winstead & Janda 1986, Cash & Pruzinsky 1990, Wright 1989). On the other hand, low self-esteem report themselves unattractive and less appealing and inferior (Paula and Spencer, 1990).

Self-esteem and Job Satisfaction Researches have found high self-esteem to be highly committed to their jobs and such individuals gain more satisfaction (Korman, 1970). Weiss (1955) and Flanagan (1977) found that highly satisfied workers are more intrinsically motivated and evaluate themselves more positively than those with low self-esteem. Achievement Motivation Need for achievement is a multidimensional concept, which may be defined as “the personal striving of individual to attain goals within their social environment” (Cassidy & Lynn, 1989).

Yap and Raineah (1981) explained the concept of achievement motivation as a need to achieve success in competition with a standard of excellence. Murray (1938) defined achievement motivation as the desire or tendency to do things rapidly, including the desire to accomplish something difficult, to master, to manipulate and organize physical objects, human beings or ideas. It is a tendency to overcome obstacles and attain a high standard; to excel oneself to rival and surpass other; to increase self regard by the successful exercise of talent.

Mc Clelland (1953) defined achievement motivation as behavior towards competition with standard of excellence. Achievement motivation is an energizing condition of the organism leading it in many situations to seek high standards of performance (Standlord, 1961). Achievement motivation refers to a desire of people to out perform other people. People with achievement motivation find satisfaction in comparing themselves to others and are motivated by this comparison. People who have high levels of achievement motivation tend to set challenging goals and try to achieve that goal.

These people value feedback and use it to assess their accomplishments. They have a strong desire for self-efficacy and persist on a task only if they believe they are likely to succeed. Achievement motivation is accepted as an important characteristic of the individual and influences work behaviors to a great extent (Begley & Boyd, 1987). However the degree to which people with strong underlying achievement motivation show achievement oriented behaviors depends on many factors. High achievement motivated people prefer to work on moderately challenging tasks which promise success.

They do not like to work on easy tasks where there is no challenge and therefore no satisfaction of their achievement need; nor do they like very difficult tasks where the likelihood of their success is very low. Thus people high on achievement motivation are likely to be realistic in tasks, jobs and vacancies they select. That is they are likely to make a good match between their abilities and what will be demanded of them. High need achievement oriented people like tasks in which their performance can be compared with that of others, they like feedback on how they are doing.

High need achievement people tend to be persistent in working on tasks they perceive as career related or as reflecting those personal characteristics (such as intelligence) which are involved in getting ahead. When high need achievement people are successful, they tend to raise their level of aspirations in a realistic way so that they will move on to slightly more challenging and difficult tasks. Theories of Achievement Motivation Bernard Weiner Attribution Theory (1935 ) Weiner developed a theoretical framework that has become very influential in social psychology today.

Attribution theory assumes that people try to determine why people do what they do, that is, interpret causes to an event or behavior. Weiner’s attribution theory is mainly about achievement. According to him, (1) Attribution is a three stage process: (1) behavior is observed, (2) behavior is determined to be deliberate, and (3) behavior is attributed to internal or external causes. (2) Achievement can be attributed to (1) effort, (2) ability, (3) level of task difficulty, or (4) luck. (3) Causal dimensions of behavior are (1) locus of control, (2) stability, and (3) controllability.

Expectancy-value theory According to expectancy-value theory, behavior is a function of the expectancies one has and the value of the goal toward which one is working. Such an approach predicts that, when more than one behavior is possible, the behavior chosen will be the one with the largest combination of expected success and value. Expectancy-value theory has proved useful in the explanation of social behaviors, achievement motivation, and work motivation. Examination of its use in achievement motivation can serve to represent the various types of expectancy-value motivations.

Although Murray identified achievement motivation as important to the behavior of many people, it was the American psychologists David McClelland (1961) and John Atkinson (1964) who devised a way of measuring differences in achievement motivation. The expectancy-value model of achievement motivation proposes that the overall tendency to achieve in a particular situation depends upon two stable motives—a motive for success and a motive to avoid failure—and the subjective evaluation of the probability of success in the situation.

Since almost everyone has experienced both successes and failures during development, the theory assumes that each person has differing degrees of both motivation for success and motivation to avoid failure. These two motivations are opposing tendencies, and as a result the difference in strength between the two will determine whether a given individual is an “achiever” or not. People with high motivation for success and low motivation to avoid failure will be achievement-oriented, while people with strong motivation to avoid failure and weak motivation for success will try to avoid most achievement situations if possible.

The expected probability of success in a particular achievement situation is also important in this achievement theory. The theory predicts that persons highly motivated for success will tend to choose to participate in achievement situations that they judge to be moderately difficult, while the theory also predicts that people highly motivated to avoid failure will tend to choose tasks that they judge to be either very easy or extremely difficult. The choices made by people either highly motivated to achieve success or to avoid failure differ because of the differing value of easy, moderate, and difficult goals for these two types of people.

McClelland’s Achievement Motivation Theory McClelland’s research led him to believe that the need for achievement is a distinct human motive that can be distinguished from other needs. More important, the achievement motive can be isolated and assessed in any group. According to David C. McClelland’s research (1961), achievement-motivated people have certain characteristics in common, including; (1) the capacity to set high (‘stretching’) personal but obtainable goals, (2) the concern for personal achievement rather than the rewards of success, and (3) the desire for job-relevant feedback (how well am I doing? rather than for attitudinal feedback (how well do you like me? ). McClelland’s concept of achievement motivation is also related to Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory. People with high achievement motivation tend to be interested in the motivators (the job itself). Achievement-motivated people want feedback. They want to know how well they are doing on their job. On the other hand, people with low achievement motivation are more concerned about the environment. They want to know how people feel about them rather than how well they are doing. Models of Achievement Motivation

Helmeriech and Spence (1974) presented a model of achievement motivation based on the desire to avoid negative consequences of success, work hard, seek intellectual challenge and succeed in competitive situations. Social Cognitive Model Social cognitive model of achievement motivation is related to the performance in a particular situation. The model suggests that people’s beliefs and cognitions about their self affect goal orientation and expectancies for success which in turn affect cognitive strategies that result in certain performance outcomes.

Tripartite Model Tuckman(1999) proposed a model of motivation for achievement that can be applied to different settings. The model focuses on 3 generic variables (1) Attitudes or beliefs that people hold about them, their capabilities and the factors that account for their outcomes, (2) Drives or the desires to attain an outcome based on the value people place on it, (3) Strategy or the techniques that people employ to gain the outcomes they desire.

This model explains that attitude, drive and strategy each make a distinguishable but inter-related contribution to motivation for achievement. Without attitudes, there is no reason that one is capable of the necessary action to achieve and therefore no reason to even attempt it. Without drive, there isn’t any energy to propel that action; and without strategy there is nothing to help select and guide the necessary action. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Fig. 1. Graphical representation of the relationship of self-esteem as the independent variable and achievement as the dependent variable.

The null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis of our research can be stated as follows: Ho: There is no association between self-esteem and achievement motivation. H1: There is association between self-esteem and achievement motivation. METHODOLOGY Sample The research was conducted in the private sector of Pakistan by distribution of questionnaires in 21 different companies. The sample consisted of a group of 85 employees currently working in different companies in the private sector.

Study Design and Procedure Questionnaire distribution method was used to conduct this research. Two questionnaires were adapted. The self-esteem questionnaire that was used to conduct our research was developed by Hudson (1982) and the questionnaire used to analyze achievement motivation was developed by Tziner and Elizur (1985). Measures Self esteem was measured using a 13 item scale. The reliability of the scale was 0. 77. Achievement motivation was measured using a 13 item scale too.

This scale assessed achievement on 6 components namely difficulty of tasks, responsibility involved in tasks, tasks satisfying need to succeed, problem solving, degree of uncertainty of tasks and lastly tasks with what degree of calculated risks (Table I). Each respondent was asked to indicate the level of agreement for each statement, using a scale anchored by “strongly agree” (5) to “strongly disagree” (1). These scales have been used in prior self-esteem and achievement research. The reliability coefficient also known as Cronbach’s Alpha for the six components was 0. 0 for Difficulty, 0. 79 for Responsibility, 0. 78 for Satisfying needs, 0. 80 for Solving problems, 0. 84 for Uncertainty and 0. 84 for Calculating risks. The overall reliability of the two scales was 0. 792. TABLE I ITEMS, SCALE RANGE, EXAMPLES AND SOURCE OF QUESTIONS ConstructItemsScale RangeExampleSource Self-Esteem131-5I think I am an able person. Hudson (1982) Achievement Motivation131-5Do you usually perform difficult tasks or easy tasks? Tziner and Elizur (1985) RESULTS The results of the study are summarized as follows: Pearson’s Correlation Matrix

The Pearson correlation matrix obtained for the five interval scaled variables is shown in Table II. From the results, we see that achievement motivation is, as would be expected, significantly, positively correlated to self-esteem. That is, the achievement motivation is high in individuals having high self-esteem. The correlations are all in the expected direction. TABLE II CORRELATIONS MATRIX Achievement Motivation Pearson Correlation 1 Sig. (2-tailed) N85 Self-esteemPearson Correlation0. 229*1 Sig. (2-tailed). 035 N8585 Note: * p