Kenneth S penner Center for the Study of Youth Development, Boys Town, Nebraska, 68010 David L. Featherman Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 The themes of worldly success and individual achievement have been cenÂ tral to the cultures of many Western industrial societies. Following Weber, students of several disciplines have continued to pursue explanations that locate the psychological sources of worldly success in the "motivations" and "ambitions" of individuals. The scientific literatures of both sociology. and psychology reflect this hypothesis about the wellspring of achievement. However, these literatures are neither small nor homogeneous in the array of concepts, measures, and explanations that are used to link "ambition" to "achievement." More important, there does not exist a single, dominant theoretical paradigm to order the multitude of empirical generalizations, to explain them, or to provide for an orderly program of investigation of important issues. This review is constrained by this state-of-the-art. No attempt is made to provide a detailed map of the topography of this literature over the years. Rather, the review is directed at summarizing and organizing the more important recent developments! in the study of achievement ambitions. It highlights some of the issues that
Annual Review of Sociology – Annual Reviews
Published: Aug 1, 1978
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