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David McClelland

David McClelland.

David Clarence McClelland (May 20, 1917 – March 27, 1998) was an American psychologist, noted for his work on Need Theory. He published a number of works during the 1950s and the 1990s and developed new scoring systems for the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and its descendants.[1] McClelland is credited with developing the Achievement Motivation Theory commonly referred to as need achievement or n-achievement theory.[2] A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked McClelland as the 15th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.[3]


  • Life and career 1
  • Publications 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes and references 4

Life and career

McClelland, born in Mt. Vernon, New York, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in 1938, an MA from the University of Missouri in 1939,[1] and a PhD in experimental psychology from Yale University. He taught at Connecticut College and Wesleyan University before joining the faculty at Harvard University in 1956, where he worked for 30 years, serving as chairman of the Department of Psychology and Social Relations. In 1987,[4] he moved to Boston University, where he was awarded the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.

“Understanding human motivation ought to be a good thing. It should help us to find out what we really want so that we can avoid chasing rainbows that are not for us. It should open up opportunities of self-development if we apply motivational principles to pursuing our goals in life”.[5]


McClelland published a number of works during his career.

  • The Achievement Motive (1953)
  • The Achieving Society (1961)
  • The Roots of Consciousness (1964)
  • Toward A Theory Of Motivation Acquisition (1965)
  • Power: The Inner Experience (1975)
  • Managing Motivation to Expand Human Freedom (1978)
  • Human Motivation (1987)
Journal publications
  • McClelland, David C. (1978). Managing motivation to expand human freedom. American Psychologist, 33(3) 201–210.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Biography - David C. McClelland retrieved June 24, 2008
  2. ^ Hoy, K. H., & Miskel, G. M. (2008). Structure in Schools. In E. Barrosse, D. Patterson, & J. Eccher (Eds.), Educational Administration: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 135-174). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
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