The Achieving Tendency (Work, Career, & Life Success Achievement) Test (MACH) & Optional Software
Achieving Tendency is a well-researched personality trait with numerous important potential applications in everyday life and in personality research. Unfortunately, its crucial role in personality assessment is not appreciated and tests of achievement are hardly used as widely as they should be. Basically, personality measures of achievement are designed to identify individuals who will strive hard to succeed in the goals they set for themselves (e.g., sports, jobs, careers, relationships) and who have the necessary characteristics that will make such striving a realistic possibility for them. Perusal of Mehrabian's (2000) large-scale research study of individual differences associated with life success (particularly work and career success) should highlight the focal importance of achieving tendency for understanding how some individuals generally succeed in achieving their goals while others fail.
Achieving Tendency is a personality trait and refers to need and desire to succeed in work and in life through hard work and perseverence. In the present Achieving Tendency (Achievement) test, individuals who have a tendency to achieve and to seek success are viewed as having some or all of the following attributes: they desire and pursue success, have little fear of failure, attribute success or failure to themselves rather than to
others and circumstances, desire feedback on their own performance,
persevere despite repeated failure, are able to delay gratification,
enjoy completing tasks, return to incompleted tasks and finish them,
have realistic levels of aspiration, and have a future orientation.
Software for administering, scoring, and interpreting the MACH is available. It is a console (non-graphic) program and runs on IBM-compatible machines. The software may be useful even if you plan on group administering the paper and pencil version of the GEIS given in the test manual. In that case, you can use the software to input data from each participant and have the software compute total scores and z-scores for all participants.
The software provides (a) total score, equivalent z-score, equivalent percentile score, and interpretation of these scores for each person tested and (b) a database of scores for all individuals tested. Additionally, the software includes a feature for exporting a printable text file (.txt format) of the data.
The software is easy to use and is password protected so that the Administrator can control access to the database of results. In this way, individuals being tested cannot have access to the results, unless the
Administrator chooses to report such results to them.
A common problem in personality testing is that some respondents attempt to slant their answers to make good impressions and, as a result, test results become misleading. When respondents slant answers, scores on socially desirable traits become inflated or greater than they would have been in the absence of response slanting. The software for the GEIS includes a built-in feature to help detect when such response slanting/faking occurs and warns the tester when results become "unacceptable." The latter data on response slanting are also part of the ASCII file of all test results that can be output from the program.
The Achieving Tendency Scale is a measure of individual differences in
achievement. Initial verbal-report measures of this trait were reported
by Mehrabian (1968, 1969) and a substantially revised version was
reported later by Mehrabian and Bank (1978). The Achieving Tendency
Scale currently in use (Mehrabian, 1998) incorporates the best features
of the earlier scales and is based on data obtained with a succession of
heavily revised versions. The present scale contains 22 items and
subjects report the degree of their agreement or disagreement with each
item using a 9-point agreement-disagreement scale.
- I prefer my work to be filled with challenging tasks.
- I lack persistence.
Mehrabian (1994-1995) reported an internal consistency/reliability coefficient of .91 for the 38-item version of the Achieving Tendency Scale. Alpha internal consistency coefficient of the 22-item improved MACH, obtained by Mehrabian (2000, Table 3), was .88. The high internal consistency was particularly noteworthy, considering the extensive efforts made to enhance generality of the scales by including many diverse characteristics associated with achieving tendency.
- Administration: does not require tester to be present
- Test format: questionnaire, 22 items
- Appropriate population: English fluency, ages 15 and older
- Time required for administration: approximately 10 minutes
- Scoring: hand-scored version yields a single total-scale score; with software, scoring and interpretation are automated
- Manual: contains complete scale, scoring directions, norms
- Background literature: includes a review article on reliability and validity by Mehrabian (1994-1995) plus comprehensive data on validity from an extremely thorough study of life success (Mehrabian, 2000)
- Possible uses: (See validity data given below.) To select
individuals who are likely to outperform others at work, strive for
leadership positions, deal with difficult and challenging jobs, or generally those
who are likely to be successful in life.
Mehrabian (1994-1995) reviewed experimental work bearing on validity of the Achieving Tendency Scale (MACH). Review results can be summarized as follows: Persons with higher Achieving Tendency Scale scores, compared with those with lower scores, are more likely to show:
Considerable additional data, provided by Scannell and Allen (2000), yielded substantial support for the reliability and validity of the MACH.
- superior performance in situations approximating real-life tests or work and at school,
- higher levels of aspiration, interest, satisfaction, leadership and initiative,
- greater occupational and organizational commitment,
- more attractive/appropriate self-presentation,
- higher scores on trait dominance,
- higher scores on trait pleasure,
- lower scores on trait anxiety,
- lower scores on fear of success.
- lower age; that is Achieving Tendency decreases in the elderly
Additional findings from a large-scale study of life success that used the 22-item improved MACH showed that
the Achieving Tendency Scale and the related 18-item Disciplined Goal Orientation
Scale were two of the most important correlates of overall life success.
Specifically, the Achieving Tendency and Disciplined Goal Orientation
scales correlated positively with all six measures
of life success (emotional success, relationship success, physical success,
work success, career and financial success, overall life success). Positive
correlations of these two scales with measures of work success and career
and financial success were the highest (Mehrabian, 2000, Table 10).
Correlational data relating the Achieving Tendency and Disciplined
Goal Orientation scales to other measures of personality provided
additional validition data for both these measures (Mehrabian, 2000,
Table 8). Summary comments by Mehrabian (2000, pp. 214-215) regarding
these findings are particularly noteworthy.
If you are unable to obtain the first article listed below on the MACH, contact Albert Mehrabian to get the Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file. The second article is available only on CD-ROM (see order form).
Mehrabian, A. (1968). Male and female scales of the tendency to
achieve. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 28, 493-502.
- Extensive review article on the background and validity of the MACH.
Mehrabian, A. (1994-95). Individual differences in achieving tendency: Review of evidence bearing on a questionnaire measure. Current Psychology, 13, 351-364.
- The following book-length monograph contains a considerable amount of important validity data on the MACH:
Mehrabian, A. (1969). Measures of achieving tendency. Educational
and Psychological Measurement, 29, 445-451.
Mehrabian, A. (1994-95). Individual differences in achieving tendency:
Review of evidence bearing on a questionnaire measure. Current
Psychology, 13, 351-364.
Mehrabian, A. (1998). Manual for the revised Achieving Tendency Scale
(MACH). (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa Road,
Monterey, CA, USA 93940).
Mehrabian, A. (2000). Beyond IQ: Broad-based measurement of individual
success potential or "emotional intelligence." Genetic, Social, and
General Psychology Monographs, 126, 133-239.
Mehrabian, A., & Bank, L. (1978). A questionnaire measure of
individual differences in achieving tendency. Educational and
Psychological Measurement, 38, 475-478.
Scannell, E.D., & Allen, F.C.L. (2000). The Mehrabian Achieving Tendency Scale: Reliability, validity and relationship to demographic characteristics. Current Psychology, 19, 301-311.
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