Basic motives, risk choice model and attribution styles – Psychological mechanisms behind successful studying explained – In conversation with Thomas Wegener, about social engagement for successful future design with the GrowExpress Ltd. agricultural project in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Investing in education, health and food security are elementary challenges not only in Europe, but also on the African continent, explains Thomas Wegener. „For me, as someone who has been traveling professionally on the African continent for more than 20 years, any investment in basic social services, especially in education and training, is the only way to create a sustainable future,“ says former decathlete Thomas Wegener, who has been socially involved in the GrowExpress Ltd. model farm project for years. The question of motivation has occupied former decathlete since his youth. With this social project, the entrusted Mustergut, fascinates that in small things great things can be achieved, adds Wegener. But without his own motivation, the energy does not transform into necessary synergies, such as overarching collaborations. „The long-term goal is education and training for help and self-help. In Ibadan, Nigeria, GrowExpress works with smallholder farmers on their allocated large-scale block farms, enabling them to work on a specific area within the land provided and additionally participate in modern equipment, knowledge exchange and logistics chain. At the same time, the purchase of the harvest is guaranteed and, in the best case, it is processed on site to achieve an even higher level of refinement of the staple foods and thus future prospects,“ says Thomas Wegener.
Basic motives – performance vs. connection – what motivates you?
What drives us? According to McClelland (1953), motivation is fed by so-called basic motives. Universities are teeming with people who are driven by achievement motive or the connection motive. The achievement motive describes people who are motivated by the enjoyment of achievement and success. Example studies, some students are centrally driven by their good results. The connection motive, on the other hand, describes people for whom social interaction and connection is the source of their motivation. Thoma Wegener adds that motivation also comes from simply meeting friends at university, making new contacts. This is the most fun part of student life for some students. But how does this information help improve the personal learning plan? Thomas Wegener says: „Some people find it very difficult to motivate themselves on their own. Perhaps this person has a higher connection than achievement motive. Forming a learning group can be useful.“ Studies show that social connection helps motivate people to learn. But why do some people have a lower achievement motive and others a higher one, and how can you increase your own achievement motive? The risk choice model provides a more nuanced insight.
Risk choice model – success motivated or failure motivated?
In the risk choice model, Atkinson (1957) distinguishes between two different person characteristics (with respect to achievement motive) that influence motivation and task choice. Some people are motivated by fear of failure (failure motive), while others are motivated by hope of success (success motive). Failure-motivated people learn out of fear of not passing an exam. Shame and insecurity are the drivers. While success-motivated people tend to choose tasks with a medium degree of difficulty, failure-motivated people choose tasks that are too difficult or very easy. Thomas Wegener, as a former decathlete, points out that these mechanisms are also widespread and used in competitive sports. Good coaches quickly recognize who is spurred on by which motivation.
Example study: Out of fear of being overtaxed, a person motivated to fail might, on the one hand, choose very few modules in a semester. On the other hand, they might also choose far too many modules. Why someone feels fear of failure rather than joyful anticipation for success is related to, among other things, how they attribute previous successes and failures.
The GrowExpress agricultural project is a case in point: Thomas Wegener is convinced that transforming Nigerian agriculture together is only possible with education and a return to the roots in order to ensure a reliable supply of food. Studies show that a return to self-sufficiency is the key to combating Nigeria’s rural exodus. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development rightly points out the following inconsistency: „Rice, maize, potatoes and cassava are the most commonly grown crops in Nigeria. However, farms are small and crop yields are modest. As a result, the country must import food. Rice alone costs the government nearly four billion dollars each year. However, agriculture in Nigeria could bring in a lot of money if modern techniques were used. These include, for example, the use of high-quality seeds, appropriate fertilization, good soil cultivation and proper product storage.“ The GTAI (Germany Trade & Invest) supports various projects within the framework of German Financial Cooperation (FC) with Nigeria. The focus is on measures that relate to improving access to basic social services, such as education, health and food security. Particularly affected are women, who suffer from poverty and food insecurity, but at the same time are active in the agricultural sector, need direct support. These challenges are being addressed by GrowExpress Ltd. of Ibadan, Nigeria with Kingsley Ekwueme in charge locally.
Attribution styles – attribution of causes as the key to success
Based on Fritz Heider, the attribution theory was developed. It distinguishes what kind of causes people attribute to events in their lives. For example, students can attribute a bad grade on an exam internally (the cause is personal) as well as externally (the cause is environmental). An internal attribution would be, „I got a bad grade on the exam because I didn’t study.“ Whereas an external attribution would be, „I got a bad grade on the exam because the exam was way too hard.“ Another important factor is stable vs. unstable attribution. „I got a bad grade on the exam because I’m just not smart enough,“ is a stable internal attribution because intelligence versus learning effort is a stable factor. It is favorable to attribute success to one’s own ability and effort. Failure, on the other hand, should be attributed to one’s own effort (internal, unstable) or to external circumstances (external, variable).
Conclusion: successful learning, studying, training and further education through self-reflection – knowing one’s own motives and rearranging learning plans
Basic motives, risk choice model and attribution styles, these are psychological mechanisms that can be used for one’s own studies. Learning groups are useful for people with connection motives. For people motivated by failure, it makes particular sense to question one’s own attribution styles. For the GrowExpress agricultural project, this means creating favorable conditions, building alliances, and supporting local farmers. Thomas Wegener explains that GrowExpress Ltd. does not cultivate the agricultural land itself, but works with local smallholders to strengthen them as part of a partnership program. „The local partners are trained under the company’s central control and planning, and the yield of the land is significantly increased. GrowExpress Ltd. provides local farmers with know-how, seeds and fertilizers, and also cedes land to them in addition to their own land,“ says Thomas Wegener. Clear framework conditions and purchase guarantees for the food produced after harvesting ensure security of supply for the population, strengthen the rural region, prevent rural exodus and prevent monocultures. Another prerequisite for obtaining the model estate is that the land serves Nigerian farmers and not multinational corporations.
Dipl. Psych. & Blogger
About the author:
Elisabeth successfully graduated as Dipl. Psych. and actually collaborates on clinical studies, furthermore on the project Health from A-Z. Since 2021 she publishes and since 2022 she is an author at ABOWI-Reputation.com. Her passion is virtual global journey, aiming to discover long-term sustainable therapies for holistic health. The blog akopjan-health.de offers numerous topics related to health and corporate health management. Special interest lies in the transformation of healthcare through technology, digitalization and artificial intelligence to holistic health. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managing Director – GrowExpress Ltd.
Cocoa House, Dugbe
GrowExpress Ltd office is located in Nigeria, Cocoa House, Dugbe, 200263 Ibadan. Completed in 1965 at a height of 105 meters, Cocoa House was once the tallest building in Nigeria and the first skyscraper in West Africa. It is located in Dugbe, one of the main commercial areas in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The GrowExpress Ltd. company farms an estate of 800 hectares about 200 km north of the megacity of Lagos, Nigeria. For more information, visit: https://growexpress.org