“Socializing” achievement goal theory: The need for social goals

Ronnel Bornasal KING, David A. WATKINS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Cultures shape the types of goals that students pursue in the classroom. However, research in achievement goal theory seems to have neglected this cultural aspect with its exclusive focus on individualistically-based goals such as mastery and performance goals. This emphasis on mastery and performance goals may reflect Western individualist psychological thinking. Thus, social goals, which may be more salient in collectivist cultures, are relatively neglected. There is a dearth of studies investigating the role of social goals in academic motivation, and the few studies that did explore them are somewhat problematic. This paper reviews research done within the achievement goal theory, considers the need for more studies on social goals, and concludes with the argument that social goals are important in understanding student motivation especially in collectivist cultures. Copyright © 2011 National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-116
JournalPsychological Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


King, R. B., & Watkins, D. A. (2012). “Socializing” achievement goal theory: The need for social goals. Psychological Studies, 57(1), 112-116. doi: 10.1007/s12646-011-0140-8


  • Social goals
  • Achievement goals
  • Socially-oriented achievement motivation
  • Cross-cultural motivation

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