Culture and motivation: The road travelled and the way ahead

Ronnel Bornasal KING, Dennis Michael MCINERNEY

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

14 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional motivation research in educational psychology could be said to have “largely ignored the cultural backdrops and dimensions of educational processes” (Liem & Bernardo, 2013, p. 3) with its empirical base built up from monocultural studies, primarily from WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) societies (Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010). However, despite this general trend, there has also been a burgeoning interest in the role of culture in student motivation, as evidenced in the publication of edited books (e.g., King & Bernardo, 2016; Liem & Bernardo, 2013; Maehr & Pintrich, 1995; McInerney & van Etten, 2004; Salili, Chiu, & Hong, 2001; Salili & Hoosain, 2007; Tan, McInerney, Liem, & Tan, 2008) and journal special issues (e.g., Hau & Ho, 2008; King & McInerney, in press; Volet, 1999) dedicated to this topic. While still far from being successfully integrated into mainstream educational psychology, cross-­ cultural studies have begun an important discussion about the need to give thoughtful consideration to the powerful yet often neglected role of culture in students’ motivational dynamics. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to review the extant literature on culture and motivation in the school setting. First, we give an overview of what motivation and culture are and how these central constructs are defined in this paper. Next, we review the historical developments in culture and motivation research and show how modern social cognitive motivation theories have attempted to grapple with the role of culture in student motivation. Finally, we end with some recommendations on how to move research on culture and motivation forward. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of motivation at school
EditorsKathryn R. WENTZEL, David B. MIELE
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9781317681267
ISBN (Print)9781138776203
Publication statusPublished - 2016


King, R. B., & Mclnerney, D. M. (2016). Culture and motivation: The road travelled and the way ahead. In K. Wentzel, D. Miele (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school, 2nd edition (pp. 275-299). New York: Routledge.


Dive into the research topics of 'Culture and motivation: The road travelled and the way ahead'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.