Handbook of Competence and Motivation

Handbook of Competence and Motivation

by Andrew J. Elliot

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This important handbook provides a comprehensive, authoritative review of achievement motivation and establishes the concept of competence as an organizing framework for the field. The editors synthesize diverse perspectives on why and how individuals are motivated in school, work, sports, and other settings. Written by leading investigators, chapters reexamine…  See more details below


This important handbook provides a comprehensive, authoritative review of achievement motivation and establishes the concept of competence as an organizing framework for the field. The editors synthesize diverse perspectives on why and how individuals are motivated in school, work, sports, and other settings. Written by leading investigators, chapters reexamine central constructs in achievement motivation; explore the impact of developmental, contextual, and sociocultural factors; and analyze the role of self-regulatory processes. Focusing on the ways in which achievement is motivated by the desire to experience competence and avoid experiencing incompetence, the volume integrates disparate theories and findings and sets forth a coherent agenda for future research.

Editorial Reviews

3 Stars from Doody
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This is a comprehensive resource for academicians on the topic of achievement motivation. The book addresses the central constructs of achievement motivation, developmental issues, contextual influence, cultural influence, and self-regulatory processes. Clear structural parameters are provided, a new conceptual framework is introduced, and the previously narrow focus of achievement motivation research is expanded to include research from cultural, development, and other areas.
Purpose: This book is intended to bring together current research findings and theoretical perspectives on achievement motivation in one complete volume. The authors also attempt to refocus the relevant literature around the concept of competence, rather than the somewhat nebulous concept of achievement. Elliot and Dweck have accomplished this superbly with the help of renowned researchers, including Robert Sternberg (Yale University), Mary Rothbart (University of Oregon), and Claude Steele (Stanford University).
Audience: This book is highly appropriate for researchers and students in personality and social psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. Psychology and education professors also should find this a helpful teaching tool, especially for graduate level courses.
Features: This well organized book covers a broad range of topics. Each chapter is generally concise and accessible, but still manages to provide the reader with adequate information regarding key areas. The chapter on intelligence, competence, and expertise by Sternberg shows that he writes as dynamically as he speaks. Unexpectedly, the chapter on evaluation anxiety is a hidden gem with clear practical implications in a book otherwise dominated by theory. The developmental section covers the entire lifespan and includes a nice discussion by Heckhausen concerning changing roles such as retirement, as well as competence in the face of late-life decline. Of particular interest to educators will be the chapter on legislating competence, including a discussion of the "No Child Left Behind" initiative. Readers should be aware that while figures and tables speckle the lexical landscape, they are few and far between, making this dense, but informative reading.
Assessment: The sheer number of topics covered in this book makes it worthy of the designation as a "handbook." The theoretical constructs behind competence and motivation are highly complex, but the authors provide an abundance of information in the most comprehensive book to date. In addition, this book is highly valuable for its ability to provide conceptual coherence to the vague field of achievement motivation and a novel framework for future research. Researchers, professors, and students in all areas of psychology and education are sure to find this valuable.
From the Publisher

"This magnificent review and analysis of every aspect of achievement motivation brings together the work of widely recognized experts. The Handbook is an incredible resource for anyone interested in motivation, and an excellent volume to draw from for college teaching."--Deborah J. Stipek, PhD, Stanford University School of Education

"Without question, this handbook represents a landmark effort! It is a timely contribution to the study of motivation, the development of competence, and the nature and causes of achievement. This marvelous presentation of research findings and theoretical perspectives will stand for some time as a major resource for those working in the field. It is sure to prompt and profoundly shape future research in the area."--Martin L. Maehr, PhD, Department of Psychology and School of Education, University of Michigan

"This is the most authoritative and up-to-date presentation available of theory and research on a vital topic in social and personality psychology. The editors have done an admirable job in pulling together diverse strands of work under a coherent conceptual umbrella, providing an illuminating historical and contemporary perspective on an aspect of the human psyche that constitutes a major force in 'making the world go round.' Should be of considerable relevance to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers in social, developmental, and personality psychology, as well as their counterparts in economics, business, sociology, and political science."--Arie W. Kruglanski, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Book Reviews

"The editors have done an admirable job of providing a comprehensive overview of the literature while pulling it together within an integrated conceptual framework.....It is a good sourcebook for researchers, educators, clinicians, and advanced students....This comprehensive book is thought-provoking. The editors have gathered a diverse group of experts who illuminate processes and constructs that are germane to cognitive therapy researchers and practitioners."

"Each contributor is able to present his or her area of expertise, while at the same time making it clear why competence is important to that area....A wonderful text for either an advanced seminar or a graduate course dedicated to the topic of motivation."

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Product Details

Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
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Barnes & Noble
File size:
7 MB

Meet the Author

Andrew J. Elliot, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester, and is currently an associate editor of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and a section editor of Social and Personality Psychology Compass. Dr. Elliot has published approximately 100 scholarly works, has received research grants from public and private agencies, and has been awarded four different early- and mid-career awards for his research contributions. His research areas include achievement and affiliation motivation; approach-avoidance motivation; personal goals; subjective well-being; and parental, teacher, and cultural influences on motivation and self-regulation.

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, and has published significant work in the area of achievement motivation since the early 1970s. Dr. Dweck is one of the first researchers linking attributions to patterns of achievement motivation, an originator of achievement goal theory, and a pioneer in the area of self-theories of motivation. Her recent books include Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development; Motivation and Self-Regulation across the Lifespan (coedited with Jutta Heckhausen); and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Her research is extensively cited in social, developmental, personality, and educational psychology.

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