Promoting Success or Preventing Failure: Cultural Differences in Motivation by Positive and Negative Role Models Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • In two studies, cross-cultural differences in reactions to positive and negative role models were examined. The authors predicted that individuals from collectivistic cultures, who have a stronger prevention orientation, would be most motivated by negative role models, who highlight a strategy of avoiding failure; individuals from individualistic cultures, who have a stronger promotion focus, would be most motivated by positive role models, who highlight a strategy of pursuing success. In Study 1, the authors examined participants' reported preferences for positive and negative role models. Asian Canadian participants reported finding negative models more motivating than did European Canadians; self-construals and regulatory focus mediated cultural differences in reactions to role models. In Study 2, the authors examined the impact of role models on the academic motivation of Asian Canadian and European Canadian participants. Asian Canadians were motivated only by a negative model, and European Canadians were motivated only by a positive model.

publication date

  • March 2005