The Journal of Social Psychology, 1981, 115, 3-8.


University of New South Wales, Australia



Previous random cluster samples of the cities of Sydney, London, Glasgow, Los Angeles, and Johannesburg have suggested that the inhabitants do not differ on average levels of authoritarian personality or authoritarian attitudes but do differ on achievement motivation. Californians and South Africans were more motivated than the others. All studies so far have also shown a strong relationship between authoritarian personality and achievement motivation. The present study is based on a random cluster sample (N = 100) of Greater Manila in the Philippines and uses the same scales as in the previous studies. The Filipinos were found to have the lowest mean score yet recorded on authoritarian personality and the second highest mean score on achievement motivation. The measure of authoritarian attitudes (the F scale) showed zero reliability and hence could not be interpreted. The results give better support to a model of deprivation causing increased drive than to McClelland's theory. Also, even in the Philippines, achievement motivation was one of the driving forces behind authoritarian behavior.


McClelland (10) has made widely-known his thesis that variations in the prosperity of countries at different times can be shown to be related to variations in achievement motivation among their citizenry. Using projective tests, he produced suggestive relationships in support of his thesis. Subsequent work has offered some support (5) for the thesis but also findings at variance with it (4, 22). One of the greatest difficulties in evaluating any of McClelland's work is his reliance on projective tests. Since these have been shown (3, 8) often to be totally lacking in reliability, any results obtained from them must be of doubtful meaning.

Under the circumstances, many investigators (6, 11) have favored a return to self-report behavior inventories for the measurement of achievement motivation. In the present study it is proposed to apply these measures to the sort of international comparisons that would enable a test of McClelland's theory.

Another variable that has repeatedly been shown in Anglo-Saxon countries to correlate with achievement motivation is authoritarianism (19). Achievement motivation is often the driving force behind authoritarian behavior; anxiety to achieve causes us to wish to mold others to our will. If, as McClelland would predict, achievement motivation is low in underdeveloped countries, we would then also expect some reduction in authoritarianism. Against this, however, Stankov (20) has tabulated F scale data from a developing country which appear to suggest high levels of authoritarianism. Once more, then, it would appear that more research is needed -- in particular, research employing measures of authoritarianism with greater claims to behavioral validity than the F scale (13, 21).


The country chosen for study was the Philippines. Although it is a poor country even by East Asian standards, it is undergoing steady economic growth and has all the institutions characteristic of an advanced society, so much so that -- as spokesmen for the Philippines never tire of pointing out -- it is the third largest English-speaking country in the world (12). Within the Philippines, Manila in particular was chosen for study. Attempts to sample the population of a whole country are at any time difficult, and the difficulty becomes formidable indeed where the majority of the population are subsistence farmers.

Manila is in many ways a very Americanized city, even down to having competing privately-owned telegraph companies. It is the national capital and has a population of approximately eight million (12). In stark contrast to China, private transport in the city is almost entirely motorized. The standard of housing is, however, almost unbelievably bad.

The three scales chosen for administration were the short Ray-Lynn "AO" scale to measure achievement motivation (15), the Ray (13) "Directiveness" scale to measure authoritarian personality, and the "BF" or "Balanced F" scale (16) to measure authoritarian attitudes. Each scale consists of 14 items and has been extensively tested for reliability in other settings. These scales also have the advantage of having been already administered to random cluster samples of the population of Sydney, Johannesburg, and Los Angeles. The first two scales only had also been administered in London and Glasgow. Highly relevant intercity comparisons could thus be carried out (14, 15, 17, 18). A behavior inventory (the "Directiveness" scale) was employed to supplement the F scale as a measure of authoritarianism, because of the low meaningfulness of F scale items -- as demonstrated by the difficulty experienced whenever researchers try to recast them into "reversed" form. If it is so difficult to translate an F scale item into another form even in English, the prospects for a translation into an Asian language seem even poorer (2, 9, 16). Translation was necessary because a fluent command of English is in fact uncommon in Manila. Most persons use at home some form of Tagalog, the native language of the Manila region. Because of official pride in the widespread usage of English, however, it was deemed tactful to present the questionnaire bilingually -- with the English form of each item followed immediately by a Tagalog translation. The translations were each the product of work by three Filipino translators, two of whom are in fact professional translators. The accuracy of the translation was verified not by back-translation but rather by having the three independent translators make successive revisions.

The questionnaire was administered to a random cluster sample of 100 residents of Greater Manila by field workers of the Asia Research Organization, a local Manila market research firm. Cluster samples have the advantage of making open to contact people not listed in the sampling frames usually available for simple random sampling. Frames such as lists of registered voters are known to be inadequate and unrepresentative in developed countries. In an underdeveloped country which does not in any case assign much priority to voting, this difficulty is magnified many times.

As only people of 16 years or older were sampled, the mean age of the sample was 33.7 years. There were 48 females and 52 males, and 51 workers in non-manual occupations versus 49 in manual occupations. By contrast, the Los Angeles sample had 36 manual workers versus 65 nonmanual. That the proportion of nonmanual workers was as high as it was in Manila is a reflection of the city's role as national capital and as a tourist center.


The untranslatability of the balanced F scale was even greater than expected. With the use of the average split-half technique (coefficient "alpha"), the reliability for the scale as a whole was found to be .06. For the negative items only, the reliability was .31, while for the positive items only the reliability was -.02. This picture is then of utter collapse and uninterpretability. The considerations that guided Adorno et al. (1) in the construction of their scale evidently have no applicability to the residents of contemporary Manila.

Although they were not immune to the difficulties of translation, the behavior inventories fared much better. Their reliabilities were found to be .53 for Directiveness and .56 for "AO." Mean scores were respectively 27.33 (SD 4.64) and 34.31 (SD 4.33). These means (with SDs) can be compared directly with means obtained in Sydney, Johannesburg, and Los Angeles, respectively, of 29.69 (6.16), 28.07 (5.78), and 29.28 (5.79) for Directiveness (17, 18) and 31.44 (5.83), 35.20 (4.74), and 33.83 (5.27) for Achievement motivation (15, 19). For both variables, the levels found in Sydney have been found not significantly to differ from those found in London and Glasgow (14). Thus while the level of achievement motivation, observed in Manila is on the high side, it is nonetheless within the range of that observed in cities of the developed world. By contrast, the level of propensity to authoritarian behavior is the lowest yet recorded. The t for the contrast between the Sydney and Manila results on this variable is 3.01, significant at the .O1 level. The correlation between the two inventories was .476, similar to that observed previously (Sydney .389, Johannesburg .305, Los Angeles .465).

A closer inspection of the data revealed that in each of the two behavior inventories there were four items which correlated very little with the scale totals. They were thus reducing the reliability and construct validities of their scales. All eight items were therefore deleted from further consideration to produce two new "cross-cultural" versions of the two scales. The result was that the reliability of the Directiveness scale rose to .67 and the "A. 0." scale to .59. Both are still far from ideal levels but are reasonable in such short scales. They are also, of course, levels of reliability far above the near-zero levels generally reported for projective tests. The Sydney, Johannesburg, and Los Angeles data were also then rescored for the new versions of the scales. Mean scores (and SDs) on the Directiveness scales were then as follows: Manila 18.35 (4.61), Sydney 20.64 (5.01), Johannesburg 19.34 (4.66), Los Angeles 20.42 (4.84). Achievement motivation means (and SDs) were the following: Manila 24.38 (3.84), Sydney 22.27 (4.46), Johannesburg 24.89 (3.92), Los Angeles 23.63 (4.15). These new means do not, however, alter the conclusions drawn on the basis of the unmodified scales. At .307, the correlation between the new scales of authoritarianism and achievement motivation was again highly significant (1).


Clearly, McClelland's theory of national development is, if anything, the reverse of the truth. The level of achievement motivation was much higher in Manila than it is in much wealthier Western cities such as Sydney, London, and Glasgow. Differences in economic prosperity might then be more fruitfully explained as the outcome of economic policies pursued by governments rather than as the outcome of differences in personal motivation among the various populations.

The quite high levels of achievement motivation observed in Manila may not fit McClelland's theory, but they do fit the classical learning theory of Hull (7) and others. Learning theorists in fact customarily equate need deprivation with increased motivation. To make a rat more energetic in seeking water for example, it is customary to deprive it of water. By the same token, one would expect that Filipinos who are deprived of economic goods would be more energetic in seeking them. Deprivation increases D (drive).

The lower Directiveness scores of the Filipino sample may in fact have more to do with the economic state of the country. Indicating as they do a more submissive behavior pattern, they may reflect one reason why political domination by unelected elites has been more successful there than it could be in Anglo-Saxon countries. It must not be seen as surprising if the economic policies pursued by such elites are more successful at maintaining the wealth of those elites than they are at fostering prosperity in the country generally.

The positive correlation between authoritarian personality and achievement motivation may suggest that the submissive proclivities of the Filipinos would be even greater were it not for the energizing effects of achievement motivation. The fact that a population low on authoritarianism and high on achievement motivation should still show a positive correlation between the two variables does at least add further support to the view that the driving force behind authoritarian behavior may often be achievement motivation.


1. ADORNO, T. W., FRENKEL-BRUNSWIK, E., LEVINSON, D. J., Hi SANFORD, K. N. The Authoritarian Personality New York: Harper, 1950.

2. CHRISTIE, R., HAVEL, J., & SEIDENBERG, B. IS the F scale irreversible? J. Abnormal & Social Psychology, 1956, 56, 141-158.

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

4. FINISON, L. J. The application of McClelland's national development model to recent data. J. Soc. Psychol., 1976, 98, 55-59.

5. HAYASHI, T., RIM, Y., & LYNN, R. A test of McClelland's theory of achievement motivation in Britain, Japan, Ireland, and Israel. Internat. J. Psychol., 1970, 5, 275-277.

6. HERMANS, H. J. M. A questionnaire measure of achievement motivation. J. Appl. Psychol., 1970, 54, 353-363.

7. HULL, C. L. A Behavior System. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1952.

8. KLINGER, E. Fantasy need achievement as a motivational construct. Psychol. Bull., 1966, 66, 291-308.

9. LAZO, L. S. Transplanting personality inventories. Philippine J. Psychol., 1976, 9, 35-38. ,

10. McCLELLAND, D. The Achieving Society. Princeton, N. J.: Van Nostrand, 1961.

11. MEHRABIAN, A., & BANK, L. A questionnaire measure of individual differences in achieving tendency. Educ. Psychol. Meas., 1978, 38, 475-478.

12. MINISTRY OF TOURISM, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Philippines Guidebook Manila, Undated.

13. RAY, J.J. (1976) Do authoritarians hold authoritarian attitudes? Human Relations, 29, 307-325.

14. RAY, J.J. (1979) Authoritarianism in Australia, England and Scotland. Journal of Social Psychology 108, 271-272.

15. RAY, J.J. (1979) A quick measure of achievement motivation -- validated in Australia and reliable in Britain and South Africa. Australian Psychologist 14, 337-344.

16. RAY, J.J. (1979) A short balanced F scale. Journal of Social Psychology, 109, 309-310.

17. RAY, J.J. (1980) Racism and authoritarianism among white South Africans. Journal of Social Psychology, 110, 29-37.

18. RAY, J.J. (1980) Authoritarianism in California 30 years later -- with some cross-cultural comparisons. Journal of Social Psychology, 111, 9-17.

19. RAY, J.J. (1980) Achievement motivation as an explanation of authoritarian behaviour: Data from Australia, South Africa California, England and Scotland. Chapter in: P.C.L. Heaven (Ed.) Authoritarianism: South African studies Bloemfontein: De Villiers.

20. STANKOV, L. Some experiences with the F scale in Yugoslavia. Brit. J. Soc. Clin. Psychol., 1977, 16, 111-121.

21. TITUS, H. E. 'F' scale validity considered against peer nomination criteria. Psychol. Record, 1968, 18, 395-403.

22. VEROFF, J., FELD, S., & GURIN, G. Achievement motivation and religious background. American Sociological Review, 1962, 27, 205-217.

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