Weiner, B. - Attribution and Achievement Motivation
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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.


Weiner’s work in attribution theory evolved over time. At its root lay a concern structure model. For example, in the domain of academic achievement, he hypothesized that students explained their own academic outcomes in terms of four categories that varied along two dimensions: locus of control (their outcome was due to an internal or external cause), and stability over time (temporary or permanent (Weiner et al., 1971).

In PAEI order, the four categories are:

P – Effort (Internal, Unstable)
A – Task difficulty (External, Stable)
E – Ability (Internal, Stable)
I – Luck (External, Unstable)

P – Effort (Internal, Unstable)
The mindset of someone who thinks that goals may fall out of reach unless aggressively and immediately pursued. “Nothing comes for free in this world. You have to go out there and take it.” Attributing effort to effort is self-serving.

A – Task difficulty (External, Stable)
Consistent with uncertainty about one’s own ability, a focus on the task and the procedure required to complete it is preferred. Proven and successful procedures then become highly prized. Attributing success to task difficulty is self-effacing.

E – Ability (Internal, Stable)
Confidence in one’s own ability makes it possible to approach unknown and unstructured problems without anxiety. Doubts about one’s own ability can motivate a large effort to prove ability, or easy abandonment of the task as too difficult. Attributing success to ability is highly self-serving.

I – Luck (External, Unstable)
Attributing outcomes to luck is self-effacing, and avoids any implication of social comparison. It also represents the surrender of personal control to the shifting context. Accountability, responsibility and both blame and praise are thwarted. This attribution dilutes the social ramifications of success or failure.

Wiener’s Attribution scheme is very similar to Michael Lewis’ typology of self-conscious evaluative emotions.

Bibliography
1. Weiner, B., Frieze, I., Kulka, A., Reed, L., Rest, S., & Rosenbaum, R. M. (1971). “Perceiving the causes of success and failure.” In Edward E. Jones, David E. Kanouse, Harold H. Kelley, Richard E. Nisbett, Stuart Valins, Bernard Weiner (Editors), Attribution: Perceiving the Causes of Behavior. (pp. 95-120). Morristown, New Jersey: General Learning Press.
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