The Attributional Theory of Achievement-Motivation: Cross-Cultural Considerations

Joan Duda, Maria T. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
195 Downloads (Pure)


Based on data collected from the Navajo Indian and other comparative investigations, limitations in previous cross-cultural attributional analyses of achievement motivation are proposed. First, it is suggested that the present comparative attribution literature is characterized by several conceptual perspectives which may be ethnocentric in nature, namely (a) the definitions of success and failure assumed, (b) the causal elements which are imposed, and (c) the tendency to classify causal attributions within bi-polar taxonomic dimensions which may not be meaningful to the culture of interest. Research directions for future cross-cultural attribution work which should assist the comparative investigator in overcoming these conceptual limitations are provided. Second, it is argued that the attributional theory of achievement motivation has several epistemological assumptions inherent within it concerning perspectives of time, individualism, and the nature of causation. These assumptions might lay the basis for a theory which reflects a culturally-specific cognitive process. Further research on the nature and frequency of the attributional process among diverse cultures is advocated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37-55
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989


Dive into the research topics of 'The Attributional Theory of Achievement-Motivation: Cross-Cultural Considerations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this