Need for affiliation


Need for affiliation

The Need for affiliation (N-Affil) is a term that was popularized by David McClelland and describes a person's need to feel a sense of involvement and "belonging" within a social group; McClellend's thinking was strongly influenced by the pioneering work of Henry Murray who first identified underlying psychological human needs and motivational processes (1938). It was Murray who set out a taxonomy of needs, including achievement, power and affiliation—and placed these in the context of an integrated motivational model. People with a high need for affiliation require warm interpersonal relationships and approval from those with whom they have regular contact. People who place high emphasis on affiliation tend to be supportive team members, but may be less effective in leadership positions.

Contents

Definition

Affiliation can be defined as a positive, sometimes intimate, personal relationship.[1]

Situations

There are many situations in which people feel a need for affiliation. One situation that causes a greater need for affiliation is during a stressful situation. An example where there was an increase in the need for affiliation among individuals was right after the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. This event led to Americans putting their differences aside and coming together. The increase in an individual's need for affiliation allowed individuals responding to the same stressor to come together and find security in one another. Situations that include fear often lead people to want to be together and trigger a need for affiliation.[2] Research done by Schacter (1959) shows that fear that comes from anxiety increases the need for the person to affiliate with others who are going through the same situation or that could help them through the stressful event.[3] The strength of this need changes from one person to the next, there are moments that people just want to be together.

The need for affiliation for an individual can vary over short amounts of time; there are times when individuals wish to be with others and other times to be alone. In one study, completed by Shawn O'Connor and Larne Rosenblood, beepers were distributed to the students. The students were then asked to record, when their beepers went off, whether or not they wanted to be alone or if they wanted to be with others at that particular moment. This study was done to observe how frequently college students were in the presence of others and how frequently they were alone. The next step in this study asked for the students to record whether, at the time their beeper went off, they wanted to be alone or in the company of others. This response that they gave usually reflected which of the two situations they were experiencing the next time their beepers went off. The information retained from this study helped to show the strength of an individual's need for affiliation.[4] By showing how frequently they obtained the presence of others when they felt that it was what they wanted at that moment it showed how strong their need for affiliation was at that particular moment.

Depending on the specific circumstances, an individual's level of need for affiliation can become increased or decreased. Yacov Rofe suggested that the need for affiliation depended on whether being with others would be useful for the situation or not. When the presence of other people was seen as being helpful in relieving an individual from some of the negative aspects of the stressor, an individual's desire to affiliate increases. However, if being with others may increase the negative aspects such as adding the possibility of embarrassment to the already present stressor, the individual's desire to affiliate with others decreases.[5] Individuals are motivated to find and create a specific amount of social interactions. Each individual desires a different amount of a need for affiliation and they desire an optimal balance of time to their self and time spent with others.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ Zimbardo, P. & Formica, R. (1963). Emotional Comparison and Self-Esteem as Determinants of Affiliation. Journal of Personality, 31(2), 142 -162.
  2. ^ Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. (2008). Social Psychology Seventh Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  3. ^ Baker, C.R. (1979). Defining and measuring Affiliation Motivation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 9, 97-99.
  4. ^ O’Connor, S. C., & Rosenblood, L.K. (1996). Affiliation motivation in everyday experience: A theoretical comparison. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 513-522.
  5. ^ Rofe, Y. (1984). Stress and affiliation: A utility theory. Psychological Review, 91, 235-250.
  6. ^ Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. (2008). Social Psychology Seventh Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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