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The Journal of Social Psychology, 1980, 112, 11-17.

EFFECTS OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES ON PRODUCTIVITY AMONG FARMERS IN INDIA*



University of New South Wales, Australia; and Guru Nanak Dev University, India

J. J. RAY AND SATVIR SINGH

SUMMARY

Previous findings by authors such as Sandhu and Allen and Sutcliff have been held to suggest that individual differences do not play an important role in explaining why some third world farmers increase their productivity and some do not. The present study of 200 Punjab farmers obtained measures of four demographic variables and 21 psychological variables, 11 of which predicted degree of output improvement over a five-year. period. The major ones were TAT achievement motivation, nonverbal intelligence, career interest, and self-sentiment. Of the four demographic variables, size of landholding was a weak predictor, but age, education, and social status, did not predict at all.


A. INTRODUCTION

One of the major challenges in the attempt to improve the ability of the third world to feed itself is the endeavour to persuade the individual agriculturalist to adopt modern techniques of improving output. The slow but steady progress of countries such as India in this direction disguises considerable individual variation within the country. The progress of some farmers is quite rapid, while many others make no progress at all. If the critical variables that make some farmers more open to new ideas could be identified, more progress across the board might be engineered. The present study is one of many aimed at making such identifications.

One problem with the existing literature is that very little attention has been devoted to psychological variables. Perhaps because sociologists and economists have been most prominent among the researchers in the field, demographic and community-level variables are the ones that have been most intensively studied. In fact, some authors -- such as Sandhu and Allen (17) or Sutcliff (24) -- argue that individual characteristics of farmers are not important as predictors of modernization. Sandhu and Allen have produced what appears to be a path-analytic demonstration that in the Punjab (India), village influences vastly transcend individual characteristics in predicting degree of modernization. Their work however, has been rather trenchantly attacked by Gartrell (7) and Sandhu and Allen were in consequence obliged to admit (18) that their path analysis "proves nothing." The interesting points in this whole episode, however, were the individual variables Sandhu and Allen selected: farm size and education. Such obvious intervening factors as ability, attitude, and motivation were completely omitted.

The one psychological variable that would appear to have been extensively studied so far is achievement motivation (11, 16, 22, 23). Even here, however, the conclusions are rather conflicting. Some reports show achievement motivation as a strong predictor of growth rate (21, 23), while others find it to be insignificant as a predictor (20, 24). Much of this inconsistency may lie with the instruments used. Projective tests are notoriously unreliable and self-report tests tend to arouse suspicion and defensiveness. A careful examination of the adequacy of a test for the particular population on which it is being used would therefore seem to be required on future occasions of such research.

B. METHOD

The Ss were 200 farmers from Punjab State in India. They provide thus a sample that should in many ways be comparable to that studied by Sandhu and Allen (17). Although they generally had little formal education, they were in Indian terms mostly in the middle socioeconomic group.

The criterial variable for the study was growth rate. This was assessed as the difference between their 1970 and 1974 output expressed in 1970 prices. The psychological predictors used were as follows: (a) The Punjabi translation of the Maudsley Personality Inventory (6, 10), which gave measures of extraversion and neuroticism. (b) An Indian adaptation of McClelland's TAT measure of achievement motivation (11, 19). (c) The Rogers and Neill (16) achievement motivation test. (d) The Punjabi version of the Survey of Work Values (25), which contains six scales measuring Pride in work, Job involvement, Activity preference, Attitude towards earning, Social status of job, and Upward striving. (e) An Indian adaptation of the Cattell and Horn Motivational Analysis test (3, 9), which attempts to measure 10 psychologically meaningful unitary motivational systems, covering a person's interests, drives, and the strength of his sentiment and value systems. Each of these motivational factors is measured by four devices: uses, estimates, paired words, and information. In the present study only the uses and estimates subtests could be used. (f) The Raven progressive matrices test of intelligence (13). (g) Aronson's (1) Graphic expression measure of achievement motivation. Both Aronson and McClelland (11) claim that this method is particularly useful for crosscultural studies, since it avoids the potential problems of language. In addition to the above psychological variables, information was also obtained on age, education, size of landholding, and social status. This latter was measured as in an earlier study by the present authors (23).

Details of the administration and scoring of the tests have been given elsewhere (21), but it may be noted here that the scoring of the projective test was not done until interjudge reliability of .90 had been obtained.

C. RESULTS

Reliability estimates of the Rogers and Neill test and the Maudsley Inventory were obtained by the split-half method, while the reliability of the TAT was obtained by Cronbach's (4) coefficient alpha. Reliabilities for the other tests were obtained by the test-retest method with a time gap of about six months and a subsample of 30 Ss. With the exception of the extraversion and TAT test, all reliabilities exceeded .80. The TAT and extraversion tests had reliabilities of .62 and .67, respectively. Although the TAT reliability was not thus ideal, it was still much higher than is generally reported in the West; it thus rather confounds Atkinson's (2) carefully reasoned explanation of why coefficient alpha is not suitable as an index of TAT reliability.

A multiple regression prediction of growth rate, using all available variables, was then carried out. Details of the results are given in Table 1. As two variables alone (TAT and intelligence) seemed to account for most of the variance, a second multiple regression using them alone was also run. R dropped only .07 between the two occasions-down to .73 from .80. The results thus confirm earlier work in Haryana state (23) in showing intelligence and projective achievement motivation to be extremely powerful predictors. There were in fact in the present study three further predictors of some note: Career interest, Self-sentiment, and Narcissism (all from the Cattell and Horn battery). Perhaps unfortunately, however, all three showed some correlation with both the TAT (rs of .36, .23, and -.27) and Raven's progressive matrices (rs of .24, .18, and -.17).

TABLE 1

STATISTICS OBTAINED IN PREDICTING GROWTH RATE IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY IN THE PUNJAB

No......Variable....................Mean........SD............r............Beta...........Cluster

1 Land holding.....................11.220......5.188.... .174*........ .012..............1
2 Social status......................42.670......2.643..... .051......... .016..............4
3 Activity preference.............42.425......2.326.... .005......... .035...............2
4 Job involvement.................44.680......3.695.... .118........ -.008...............2
5 Upward striving..................41.725......2.336.... .161*....... .067...............2
6 Att. to earning....................39.820......2.331.... .154*........ .064..............4
7 Pride in work......................41.305......2.651.... -.060........ .036...............4
8 TAT (n-Ach) .....................16.280......9:603..... .681*....... .487...............1
9 Aronson method................39.170.....10.891... -.027......... .024..............1
10 S.C.T. (Rogers & Neill)...31.150.....3.315..... -.004......... .077...............2
11 Intelligence......................22.815.....6.543..... .463*........ .266...............1
12 Introversion/Extrav..........29.430.....5.112..... -.021........ -.029...............1
13 Neuroticism.....................30.290......8.079..... -.047........ -.012..............1
14 Career interest................12.695.....2.742..... .481*........ .212...............1
15 Home...............................11.905.....2.348..... .194*........ .088...............1
16 Fear...................................8.665.......2.662..... .002......... -.003..............3
17 Narcissism.........................5.635........2.566.... -.280*....... .051...............1
18 Superego.........................22.130.......3.140..... .158*...... -.003...............1
19 Self-sentiment..................37.035.......5.002..... .329*....... .122...............1
20 Mating.............................10.270.......2.389.... -.138*...... -.050...............1
21 Pugnacity..........................8.900........2.208... -.001......... .002...............3
22 Assertiveness....................9.170........2.240.... .045........ -.025................1
23 Sweetheart........................7.910........2.217... -.177*....... -.028...............1
24 Age in years.....................38.905......10.146... -.118........ -.113...............1
25 Education...........................5.960........4.218.... .077........ -.107...............1
26 Growth-rate......................28.355......21.880...1.000

Note: N = 200; Multiple R = .80; F for R = 12.13, df = 25, 174. *p < .05 (two-tailed).

D. DISCUSSION

Far from being insignificant, individual differences were shown in the present study to be of overwhelming importance in explaining growth in agricultural productivity. A multiple R of .80 represents in fact a proportion of explained variance that is quite unusual in any social scientific study.

The TAT measure of achievement motivation was the largest single element in this prediction. It alone correlated .68. There are Western precedents for TAT predictive power as high as this or higher (8) but such results are nonetheless unusual. One highly likely reason for exceptional predictive success on this occasion could well be the unusual reliability observed for the instrument. While much previous Western TAT research has been scathingly condemned for its use of unreliable scores (5), it would seem that TAT scores in India are not nearly as open to this criticism (15). Although unusual by Western standards, the coefficient alpha reliability observed on the present occasion was not in fact unusually high by Indian standards. Even self-report tests of achievement motivation that are unreliable in the West (12, 14) seem to be quite reliable in India (21). When the reliability handicap is overcome, then, the exceptional promise of validity that has always underlain use of projective tests would seem to be amply realized.

Nonetheless, it may be that even in India the TAT sometimes fails in reliability. This would explain the very low predictive power of the test in a previous research paper also devoted to predicting agricultural productivity growth (20). It may be noted that non-projective achievement motivation indices (generally less prone to reliability variation) also included in the previous paper did show the expected strong predictive power.

The difference between the present results and those of Sutcliff (24) is probably also traceable to reliability. One possible explanation for the greater reliability of projective tests in India involves a claim that Indian Ss may, by reason of their lesser sophistication in the ways of the West, be simply more trusting and less suspicious when faced by the apperceptive task. Since projective testing is a way of "tricking out of" a person information that he otherwise would not or could not willingly give, a fundamental requirement of the projective method is that subjects do not suspect a trick. Sutcliff's Ss, by contrast, appear to have been most suspicious and reserved. The reliability and validity of their answers were also therefore presumably much less than they would have been in India.

While the present results are in strong conflict with the conclusions of Sandhu and Allen (17), they are not in fact in substantial conflict with the results of those authors. They provide empirical backing to the methodological criticisms of Gartrell by showing that the possibilities overlooked by Sandhu and Allen were in fact very serious omissions indeed. Individual differences are of almost overwhelming importance in explaining which farmers modernize.

REFERENCES

1. ARONSON, E. The need for achievement as measured by graphic expression. In J. W. Atkinson (Ed.), Motives in Fantasy, Action and Society. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1958.

2. ATKINSON, J. W., BONGORT, K., & PRICE, L. H. Explorations using computer simulation to comprehend thematic apperceptive measurement of motivation. Motivation & Emotion, 1977, 1, 1-27.

3. CATTELL, R. B., & HORN, J. L. Manual of the Motivational Analysis Test. Champaign, Ill.: Institute for Personality & Ability Testing, 1964.

4. CRONBACH, L. J. Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 1951, 16, 297-334.

5. ENTWISLE, D. R. To dispel fantasies about fantasy-based measures of achievement motivation. Psychol. Bull., 1972, 77, 377-391.

6. EYSENCK, H. J. Manual of the Maudsley Personality Inventory. London: Univ. London Press, 1959.

7. GARTRELL, J. W. Comment on "The village influence on Punjabi farm modernization." Amer. J. Sociol., 1976, 81, 1169-1174.

8. HONOR, S., & VANE, J. R. Comparison of thematic apperception test and questionnaire methods to obtain achievement attitudes of high school boys. J. Clin. Psychol., 1972, 28, 81-83.

9. HUNDAL, P. S. Entrepreneurial motivation and its structure. Research project report, Indian Council for Social Science Research, New Delhi, 1976.

10. JALOTA, S. Some data on the Maudsley Personality Inventory in Punjabi. Brit. J. Soc. & Clin. Psychol., 1964, 3, 148.

11. MCCLELLAND, D. C. The Achieving Society. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1961.

12. O'GORMAN, J. G. On the validity of Lynn's achievement motivation questionnaire. Brit. J. Soc. & Clin. Psychol., 1974, 13, 209-210.

13. RAVEN, J. C. Guide to the Standard Progressive Matrices: Sets A, B, C, D and E. London: Lewis, 1960.

14. RAY, J.J. (1971) Correspondence: Regarding the Lynn n-Ach test. Bulletin British Psychological Society, 24, 352.

15. RAY, J.J. (1974) Projective tests can be made reliable: The measurement of achievement motivation. Journal of Personality Assessment 38, 303-307.

16. ROGERS, E. M., & NEILL, R E. Achievement motivation among Columbian peasants. Michigan State University, Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, 1966.

17. SANDHU, H. S., & ALLEN, D. E. The village influence on Punjabi farm modernization. Amer. J. Sociol., 1974, 79, 967-980.

18. SANDHU, H. S., & ALLEN, D. E. Response to Gartrell's comment. Amer. J. Sociol., 1976, 81, 1173-1175.

19. SIET Inst. Adapted version of McClelland's Thematic Apperception Test of achievement motivation. Small Industries Extension Training Institute, Hyderabad, India, 1954.

20. SINGH, SATVIR. In Achievement, decision making, orientations, and work values of fast and slow progressing farmers in India. J. Social Psychol., 1978, 106, 153-160.

21. SINGH, SATVIR. Relationships among projective and direct verbal measures of achievement motivation. J. Personal. Assess., 1979, 43, 45-49.

22. SINGH, SATVIR, & JAISWAL, I. Achievement motivation and risk-taking among small-scale industrial entrepreneurs. Asian J. Psychol. & Educ., 1977, 2, 14-17.

23. SINGH, SATVIR, & RAY, J. J. Modernization and development among Indian farmers: A modern proof of some old theories. Econ. Devel. & Cult. Change, 1980, 28, 509-521.

24. SUTCLIFF, C. Achievement motivation and economic development among peasants: An exploration of measurement problems. Rural Sociol., 1974, 39, 238-246.

25. WOLLACK, S., GOODALE, J. G., JAN, P., Hi SMITH, P. C. Development of a survey of work values. J. Appl. Psychol., 1972, 55, 331-338.




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