Reiss & Havercamp - Sixteen Fundamental Desires

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

In a series of research articles (Reiss, 2000; Havercamp, 1998; Reiss & Havercamp, 1998; Reiss & Havercamp, 1997; Reiss & Havercamp, 1996) Steven Reiss and Susan Havercamp develop and explore a list of 16 basic motivational desires. The typology grew out of a recursive series of surveys and analyses, which supported the creation of a self-report instrument called the Reiss Profile of Fundamental Goals and Motivational Sensitivities.

Profile scores indicate a person’s individual desire hierarchy, which proved to be predictive of career choice in Havercamp (1998). With the exception of one arguably universal desire – eating – all of
Reiss and Havercamp’s other fundamental desires can be accommodated by the structure of concern construct. It is important to note that this PAEI clustering is being imposed on the 16 desires model for illustrative purposes only. A more careful analysis of the various desires might produce a different scattering of desires than the one presented below.

P - Independence, Power, Vengeance, Exercise
A - Honour, Tranquility, Order, Saving
E - Curiosity, Status, Idealism, Romance
I - Family, Social Contact, Acceptance

Independence: desire for self-reliance
Power: desire for influence including mastery, leadership and dominance
Vengeance: desire to get even with others, including joy of competition
Exercise: desire to use and move one’s body

Honour: desire to value one’s parents and their heritage, morality or religion
Order: desire for a predictable environment, includes desire for cleanliness and ritual
Tranquility: desire to be free of anxiety, fear or pain (sensitivity to aversive sensations)
Saving: desire to hoard (including desire to own)

Curiosity: desire to explore or learn
Status: desire for social standing and attention
Idealism: desire to improve society (citizenship)
Romance: desire for sex, beauty and art

Family: desire to raise one’s own children (does not apply to children of others)
Social Contact: desire for interaction with other people (includes desire for fun/pleasure)
Acceptance: desire for approval from others

In a mammalian species, the desire to eat, for infants and their mothers at least, has everything to do with social contact, family and acceptance. If we were to cluster eating under I for that reason, an interesting faceted structure seems to emerge. Under each style we find a desire for goal direction, for the goal of conflict, plus restorative/reparative motivations and a focus for material desires, as follows:

1. Reiss, S. (2000). Who am I? The 16 basic desires that motivate our actions and define our personalities. New York: Putnam.
2. Reiss, S., & Havercamp, S. H. (1996). The sensitivity theory of motivation: Implications for psychopathology. Behavior Research and Therapy, 34, 621-532.
3. Reiss, S., & Havercamp, S. H. (1997). The sensitivity theory of motivation: Why functional analysis is not enough. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 101, 553-566.
4. Reiss, S., & Havercamp, S. H. (1998). Toward a comprehensive assessment of functional motivation: Factor structure of the Reiss profiles. Psychological Assessment, 10, 97-106.
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