The research on the relationship between achievement motivation and individual career planning.
Along with the development of human resources (hr) management ideas, enterprise takes the employee even more seriously as the most important property today. Therefore, enterprise must understand what will make these employees working so hard? And understand these employees what are the goals they want to achieve for? The enterprise can know how to meet their achievement demand and help them to achieve career goals they want. This research is taking taiwan high tech industry employees as the object of study, the total number of sending questionnaire is 500 and the number of returned questionnaire is 373 except for invalid questionnaire number is 28, the effective questionnaire number is 345, but the effective questionnaire returned-ratio is 69%. It is hoped to discuss the relations between high tech industry employees' achievement motivation and individual career planning separately from this research by the structure equation method (sem), and to understand for the forecast ability of various variables.

Keywords: achievement motivation, individual career planning

Career development (Comparative analysis)
Employee motivation (Comparative analysis)
Liu, Ching-Hsiang
Lee, Hung-Wen
Pub Date:
Name: International Journal of Business Research Publisher: International Academy of Business and Economics Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, international Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 International Academy of Business and Economics ISSN: 1555-1296
Date: Jan, 2010 Source Volume: 10 Source Issue: 1
Product Code: 9918560 Career Planning; 9911210 Motivational Techniques
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number:
Full Text:

Research background and motivation

Achievement motivation is an intrinsic power, its aim is to obtain the satisfaction of achievement demand. When individual chooses and plans its occupation, achievement motivation can result power in driving individual to move upwardly in order to take more difficulties and create higher degree of achievement.

"career" is an important issue of life, it has the closed relationship with individual life, view of value and behavior, however, it can not be over emphasized in career management of organization or individual career planning of employee during enterprise's career development, it is necessary to consider the future development of employee and organization simultaneously. It makes employees achieve for success of individual career; also, enterprises achieve goals of organization operation, and form win-win situation.

Because the degrees of achievement motivation will result in different choices for individual career planning; this research is to discuss if achievement motivation will have some influences on individual career planning.

Research purpose

According to above stated research motivation, our institute hopes to understand the relations between achievement motivation of high tech industry employees, individual career planning and then make further discussion. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to:

1. Discuss if achievement motivation can influence its individual career planning.

2. It is hoped the result of study can be provided these enterprise manager and individual employee for reference.


Achievement motivation

Achievement is a kind of behavior of work orientated which is according to some intrinsic and extrinsic standards and including comparison with others or the existing criteria, to appraise individual performance (helmreich & spence, 1983). But motivation is one of intrinsic main causes to urge individual to take part in various activities, also it may be viewed as a kind of demand performance. Therefore, motivation is generally defined as: causing individual activity and maintain it, promoting that activity proceeding intrinsic intention towards any of goal.

Jerath (1981) thought achievement motivation can be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic, what the intrinsic achievement motivation concerned is called as "outstanding" or "perfect", and what it concerned is about standard of self-intrinsic; but the extrinsic achievement motivation is individual comparing by standard of others or social public, what it concerned is the extrinsic standard, and individual comparing each other by extrinsic standard for judging if it is successful.

Helmreich & spence (1978) synthesized the related researches that achievement motivation is the multidimensional combination, discussed about personality characteristic of sexual role and organized it as "work and family orientation questionnaire", called as wofo. Its research pointed out achievement motivation is composed as mastery, work orientation, competitiveness and personal unconcern. The meanings are respectively:

(1) Mastery: prefer to take difficulty, challenging work, emphasize superego, self-challenge, and persist in completion with work which already been started.

(2) Work orientation: it means enjoy working and hoping to obtain satisfaction from work and pursuing self-enrichment.

(3) Competitiveness: the desire to surpass other's achievement and also strive for victory.

(4) personal unconcern: the individual does not care about negative attitude by others because of its own succeed, it means not be afraid of being jealous by others for its own success and not be afraid of being repelled by others because of its own success.

Individual career planning

Individual career planning is taking individual as the core, the purpose is to recognize and appraise its opportunity and limitation of possible development truly, and, by the way, to set up individual career goal and draw up a set of action program which is possible to be achieved. The research of hochwater, kiewitz, gundlach, & stoner (2004) viewed individual career planning is a tendency condition of seeking individual satisfaction, that is the condition for everyone seeking to be satisfied in individual working and life. It belongs to individual activity, directing mainly by individual knowledge and personal intention. But career development is also based on individual career planning which is the whole process for individual to select occupation and organization, planning gateway of development, and engaging in individual development according to own ability, interest, and possible working opportunity.

Greenhaus, callanan, & godshalk (2000) also pointed out individual career planning is to make a series of decisions which is a suitable decision made by individual to its working life, and the process to rationalize for individual working life.

It will be helpful to have more clear consciousness for company's overall management goal and strategy, and a self-assessment and setting a career planning by employees. And if employee can control its career, it will be helpful for productivity increasing. (harrington & shepard, 1996).

But hall (1990) divided individual career planning into two great ideas as career planning and career strategy, its meanings is as follows:

(1) career planning: if individual makes sure what its own career goal is and understands its own advantage and weakness.

(2) career strategy: the way and strategy for individual to adapt for achieving a goal.

It is known that individual career planning is to make the proper arrangement during the setting process of career goal by individual. Under this arrangement, everyone can recognize its own ability, interest, nature, characteristic and potential through individual career planning. Simultaneously, thinking of various career opportunities, and utilize resources from surrounding environment to achieve career goal of each stage as well, finally, individual can achieve and carry out its decided goal.


Combining with the definition from arkoff (1968), webber (1975), mcclelland (1985) etc. Scholars on achievement motivation: achievement motivation is including individual achievement demand, forecast of success and causes of attraction and so on, it will decide individual aspiration standard, level of effort and performance of will; it is a kind of intrinsic power, and it has influence power on individual career planning. Souerwine (1978) found from his research that the person who likes to make career planning, it will have the similar characteristic as the one who has high achievement motivation.

From research of weiner & kukla (1970), when individual makes an occupation choice, the one who has high achievement motivation is preferred to take medium difficulty work; but the one who has low achievement motivation is preferred to take the easiest and the most difficult one. Research was found by lokan & briggs (1982), the higher degree of achievement motivation, the higher score will be gotten in career planning and occupation exploration.

From research of locke, shaw, saari, & latham (1981), achievement motivation is possibly the most worthy individual variation for study, and also it is found in the research that the degree of achievement motivation will influence behavior performance and attitude, furthermore, it can't be neglected regarding to working performance or career planning; the one who has high achievement motivation will be sure about itself ability, and complete a certain goal positively, even though the actual performance may not be better than the one who has low achievement motivation, but if it is not under the overloading situation, achievement motivation and working performance will have positive correlation. Therefore, the one who has higher achievement motivation, the more successful chances of achieving its goal of career planning will have.


Research Design

According to the goal of this research, after discussing for the related literature as "achievement motivation" and "individual career planning", and then set up the framework of this research as figure 3 to discuss its correlation.



Establishing a hypothesis based on the research goal and research structure for this study and discussing the relationship between achievement motivation of high tech industry employee and individual career planning, its research hypothesis are as following statements.

H-1: achievement motivation has the influence on individual career planning.

H-1.1: mastery has the influence on individual career planning.

H-1.2: work orientation has the influence on individual career planning.

H-1.3: competitiveness has the influence on individual career planning.


The selected object of this research for questionnaire is employee from high tech industry companies in taiwan, collecting earlier testing sample by internet questionnaire. And then the institute will do the convenient sampling by mailing questionnaire to high tech industry companies.


1. Achievement motivation criteria table

Achievement motivation of this research is using achievement motivation structure side from "work and family orientation questionnaire" which was revised by helmreich & spence in 1983, there was 19 items of question in total from this survey, it is found by earlier testing from the institute it is with good reliability and validity.

2. Individual career planning criteria table

This research is using psychological achievement model to develop items of question from hall in 1990, there is total 11 items of question in this survey and it is used the design of likert's five criteria table, it is found by earlier testing from the institute, it is with good reliability and validity.

Data analysis

According to the purpose of this research and establishment of related hypothesis, this research is done by questionnaire data analysis by using statistical analysis package software of spss 12.0 edition and lisrel 8.52 edition software. Its analytical methods are as following.

(1) analysis of reliability

(2) analysis of validity

(3) analysis of correlation

(4) structure equation models


This research is taking all high tech industry in taiwan as the object, by the way of mailing questionnaire, the total number for sending questionnaire is 500 and returned number is 373, its returned rate of questionnaire is 74.6%; so the total effective questionnaire is 345 and the effective questionnaire return-ratio is 69% except for the number of invalid questionnaire which filling unreasonable answers or missing items of question not to answer is 28.


This research uses two criteria tables to exam the internal consistency by cronbach's alpha coefficient method which is used by this institute, as shown in table 1.

It is found from both of above used two criteria tables whose cronbach's alpha coefficient of achievement motivation and individual career planning are both above 0.8; it shows our institute is using two criteria tables with quite good reliability as a tool to measure on high tech industry employee.


1. Achievement motivation

The analysis of validity for achievement motivation, analysis results and expected results are consistent. From the criteria table, the kmo index is 0.809 and the accumulation explanation amount of variation is 60.415%, it indicates this criteria table is quite matched with achievement motivation.

2. Individual career planning

The analysis of validity for individual career planning, its analysis results and expected results are consistent. From the criteria table, the kmo index is 0.892 and the accumulation explanation amount of variation is 63.594%, it indicates this criteria table is quite matched with individual career planning.

Analysis of correlation

The result of analysis shows the correlation coefficient between achievement motivation and individual career planning is 0.617 and it presents perfect positive correlation. And the three sub-structure sides of achievement motivation also presents individually perfect positive correlation with individual career planning, respectively, the correlation coefficient is 0.427 between "mastery" and individual career planning; the correlation coefficient is 0.378 between "work orientation" and individual career planning; the correlation coefficient is 0.443 between "competitiveness" and individual career planning.

However, the correlation coefficient shows on table 2 between sub-structure side of achievement motivation and individual career planning.

By the result of the correlation analysis, it is found that achievement motivation of individual intrinsic power will affect individual behavior, and then plan its own career goal and strategy. Furthermore, since both of achievement motivation and individual career planning are with perfect positive correlation, therefore, it is known individual with higher achievement motivation, it will tend to draw up a future direction, strategy and goal for itself, and meet its achievement demand by achieving the goal. The result of the correlation analysis is as follows:

(1) achievement motivation has perfect correlation with individual career planning.

(2) mastery has perfect correlation with individual career planning.

(3) work orientation has perfect correlation with individual career planning.

(4) competitiveness has perfect correlation with individual career planning.


1. Sem

Result of this research by the model is shown in Table 3 on next page..

From the above table, all of index are showing good on the acceptance for model, therefore, the model from this research are with good reliability.

In order to confirm the accuracy of hypothesis in this research, it uses the structure equation to make data analysis method, the relation between all variances as shown in figure 1.


According to the analysis result of structure of equation from this research, as shown in figure 1, it is found that path coefficient is 1.21 between achievement motivation of high tech industry employee and individual career planning, also it achieves the perfect standard, it means achievement motivation of high tech industry employee has positive perfect influence on individual career planning, it has been approved the higher degree of achievement motivation from high tech industry employee, the better they will draw up for their own career planning and goal, therefore, hypothesis h-1 is accepted in this research.



Our institute proposed the research hypothesis to get together, and tested research hypothesis by correlation analysis and the structure equation, its result as shown in table 5. It is found the result of each hypothesis is accepted, it indicated the research hypothesis is correct from this study.

According to result of data analysis, it is found that there is perfect influence on achievement motivation and individual career planning, therefore, research hypothesis h-1 is accepted. This result is closed with study result from several overseas scholars. (weiner & kukla in 1970; souerwine in 1978; lokan & briggs in 1982; shaw in 1982).

This research is to understand the relation between three sub-structure side(s) of achievement motivation and individual career planning, and then explore its influence separately. The result shows sub-structure side of "mastery", sub-structure side of "work orientation" and sub-structure side of "competitiveness" have perfect influence on individual career planning, therefore, research hypothesis h-1.1, h-1.2 and h-1.3 are accepted.

It is known from the above accepted research hypothesis if high tech industry employees are keen on their work, and expect to get satisfaction from it, enjoy taking self-challenge and prefer to take difficulty and challenging work, and expect to surpass others' achievement so that they will tend to choose the direction of challenging and clear goal to work hard, therefore, they especially like to set up future goals by making career planning, and work hard to achieve career goals and satisfy their achievement demand.


1. Management

The enterprise's manager must understand what employee's working purpose and what the goal he (or she) wants to achieve so that you can promote their working satisfaction and organization identification by the suitable inspiring measurement.

To get understanding for employees by criteria table of achievement motivation and criteria table of individual career planning, and find out what employees expecting to continue to expert in the familiar field. To these employees, enterprise's manager must encourage their employees by other inspiring measurement than promotion position to drive them; those employees are expected to be satisfied with achievement demand by challenging work. To these employees, managers must give challenging task like a program to inspire their employees, thus, they will have better performance and make contribution to the enterprise.

But managers also must get understanding for employees' career planning, and respect for what they hope and which ways they hope to achieve for the goal. The enterprise will make employees to have higher degree of satisfaction by making some measurement to match with their career planning, and it will approve this company is helpful for its future development career planning.

2. Employees

Because of career competition is quite intense, employees must understand style and culture from different enterprise when they start to seek for jobs, and choose an enterprise by its own career planning and degree of achievement motivation. To find a suitable enterprise is quite important, but it is also quite important to seek a suitable position according to your own achievement motivation and career planning, it may prevent finding enterprise has given for direction of development is actually not matched with ideal after working hard, or it is not helpful for development of career goal, or it may have possibility to block achievement of career goal.

In conclusion, the employee doesn't not only understand his (or her) own strength and weakness and plan a suitable career goal for himself (or herself), but also be brave to take self-challenge, draw up challenging goal, carry out the career strategy gradually, and not to reject for any possible task of experience for growth and opportunity of promotion. Be glad to accept it and aggressive to make progress in order to create values for company and yourself.


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Ching-Hsiang Liu, National Formosa, Taiwan

Hung-Wen Lee' National Chia-Yi Univeristy, Taiwan
Table 1 reliability analytical table

                 Structure side          [alpha]

Achievement          Mastery         0.836   0.851
               Working orientation   0.830

                 Competitiveness     0.840

Individual       Career planning     0.864   0.878

Table correlation (** = p < 0.01 * = p < 0.05 (two tails))

                                         Achievement motivation

                                 Mastery      Work      Competitiveness

Achievement   Mastery               1
motivation    Work orientation   0.135 *        1
              Competitiveness    0.186 **   0.200 **           1
Individual    Career planning    0.347 **   0.345 **       0.332 **
career        Career strategy    0.394 **   0.310 **       0.436 **
                                   Individual career

                                  Career     Career
                                 planning   strategy

Achievement   Mastery
motivation    Work orientation
Individual    Career planning       1
career        Career strategy    0.506 **       1

Table 3 the model of fit index analysis table

Overall gfi   Results     Model

    gfi        0.99        Good
   Agfi        0.98        Good
    Cfi        1.00        Good
Mean (rmr)     0.007       Good
   srmr        0.020       Good
    Nfi        0.99        Good
   Nnfi        1.00        Good
   Rmsea       0.018       Good

Table 5 results of research hypothesis

Research hypothesis                        Results

H-1: achievement motivation has            Accepted
influence on individual career planning.

H-1.1: mastery has influence on            Accepted
individual career planning.

H-1.2: work orientation has influence on   Accepted
individual career planning.

H-1.3: competitiveness has influence on    Accepted
individual career planning.
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