Standard Article

Achievement Need

  1. Joyce S. Pang

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0009

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Pang, J. S. 2010. Achievement Need. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Achievement Need (nAch) is a recurrent concern to excel or to do better at a task for the intrinsic satisfaction of doing better. It is measured using nondeclarative measures such as the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), or more commonly using the Picture Story Exercise (PSE; McClelland, Koestner, & Weinberger, 1989). McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowell (1953) created the content-coding system for nAch that includes major coding subcategories for the presence of a wish, need, or goal related to competition with a standard of excellence, for positive emotional reaction after a successful achievement outcome, and for reference to a unique accomplishment.


  • performance feedback;
  • risk-taking;
  • personal accomplishment;
  • managerial effectiveness