This paper explores a small portion of the self-worth theory of motivation. It reviews self worth in elementary education levels, secondary education of at risk teens, and motivations of worth in the work place. At the elementary levels is looks at society and how we attain self-worth from as early as birth through parental intervention and positive or negative encouragement, it also explores how society can also play a role in the perceived sense of worthiness or failure. Next is “at risk teens” and discovering they have coping skills that can help them jump forward or hold them back. Educators can help the teens first by building a trustworthy rapport with the student, assist in goal setting, helping them avoid procrastination, and help to visualize their future for their lifetime goals and achievements. In the work place it is implied that managers who communicate implementing the “Three Roles of Language in Motivation Theory” which are Perlocutionary, Locutionary and Illocutionary leads to a successfuly motivated team. (Sullivan, 1998, p. 110) Implementing these communication methods are key to help an employee feel a sense of worth and team, that by building on three principals they can have a successful employee and by association a successful department.
Keywords: Self-worth, motivation, at risk teens, elementary students, employees Self-Worth Theory: Motivation for a Lifetime
Henry Ford once said “Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.”(Ford n.d.) This quote really gets to the heart of the self-worth theory of motivation. It truly comes down to the individuals’ perception for the potential of success.
Self-worth can affect an individual at any stage in life and can even go so much as varying from task to task. An individual can feel motivated and fulfilled one day and with a new task requested of them feel as though the task is either beneath them or make them feel imperfect for not being able to complete the task, or procrastinate long enough with the task to prove the time constraint was the issue and not the individuals lack of ability to complete it. Professor at UC Berkley and published author Martin Covington was one of the pioneers of the self-worth theory of achievement motivation. His findings derive from his paper written: Covington stated that the basic cognitive position and shares with it the view that achievement behavior can be most meaningfully conceptualized in terms of self perceptions of causality… it also incorporates a motivational component, and for this reason it forms the basis for conceptual rapprochement between cognitive and learned-drive theories. (Covington 1984) Society judges itself by one’s net worth, successes and accomplishments. The inability to succeed in society’s eyes is a perceived sense of failure. The self-worth theory concentrates on the ability to find successes, however when an individual cannot succeed it blames itself on the lack of ability. Performance is judged by the individual’s ability to succeed by society, performance is judged by the individual by lack of effort by the individual. However, whether it’s the feeling of accomplishment by the individual or the pat on the back by society, they both lead to self worth. In the paper “The Self-Worth Theory of Achievement Motivation: Findings and Implications” it quotes Teevan and Fischer’s unpublished paper from 1967 Covington states parents of success-oriented youngsters tend to reward performance that is praiseworthy yet ignore or at least remain neutral toward the performance that falls short of adult expectations. The opposite pattern appears characteristics of the parents of failure-avoiding children: punishing their children’s failures while being noncommittal in the event of success. (Covington 1984) Covington then goes on to explain that if children feel that the end success rate is high, the child then...
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