Competitiveness is not that bad…at least in the East: Testing the hierarchical model of achievement motivation in the Asian setting

Ronnel Bornasal KING, Dennis Michael MCINERNEY, David A. WATKINS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Competitiveness has usually been viewed as a negative trait as it leads to suboptimal outcomes. However, research in cross-cultural psychology has indicated that competitiveness may hold different meanings for people from individualist and collectivist cultures. The current study investigates the effects of competitiveness on different educational outcomes in the collectivistic Chinese cultural context. Utilizing the hierarchical model of achievement motivation, this study aims to examine the relationships among individual differences (trait mastery and trait competitiveness), achievement goals (mastery and performance goals), and learning strategies (deep and surface learning strategies). Six hundred ninety-seven secondary school students from Hong Kong answered questionnaires assessing the relevant variables. Path models indicated that there were important differences in the pattern of relationships among the variables in our study compared to previous findings in the West. First, contrary to Western studies, trait competitiveness was predictive of mastery goals and not only of performance goals. Second, performance goals positively predicted the adoption of deep learning strategies but were not significantly related to surface learning strategies. Results are discussed in light of current findings in cross-cultural psychology. The findings hold substantive theoretical and practical implications for researchers and practitioners seeking to understand achievement motivation of students from more collectivist cultures. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-457
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Citation

King, R. B., McInerney, D. M., & Watkins, D. A. (2012). Competitiveness is not that bad…at least in the East: Testing the hierarchical model of achievement motivation in the Asian setting. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(3), 446–457.

Keywords

  • Competitiveness
  • Mastery goals
  • Performance goals
  • Deep learning
  • Surface learning
  • Culture
  • Chinese

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