30.07.2021 | Blog 8 |

Success orientation as a motivating factor – the fifth dimension of the HVP 

What drives you particularly in your current position? Is it your own enjoyment of your job? The collegial interaction within the team? Or are there entirely different stimuli that drive you to peak performance?

While most people don’t even ask themselves such questions, it is beneficial to confront oneself with such thoughts. We are talking about success orientation as a motivating factor.

In the following article, we will take a look at the fifth dimension of the Hartman Value Profile, which deals with the current success orientation of candidates. Success orientation is also an essential component of McClelland’s three motivation factors, which will be discussed later.


Success orientation: what’s behind it?

Success orientation means the ability to deal with the question “What am I?” (Vogel, 2018). To act success-oriented means to be aware of one’s own function or role and to strive to fulfill this role in the best possible way (Vogel, 2018). The analysis of success orientation specifically addresses the respective function or role of the candidate and provides information about the match between personality traits or inclinations of the person and the current function he or she performs (Vogel, 2018).

High scores in the HVP suggest that the candidate feels comfortable in his or her role, as personality traits and function consort with each other. In addition, high scores indicate a strong performance orientation, high stamina, and operational decision-making power (Vogel, 2018). At the same time, they can be a sign of drive, dominance, and the ability to delegate, which are extremely relevant, especially in higher management positions (Vogel, 2018).

On the other hand, low scores are an indication that the person is rather dissatisfied with their current activities (Vogel, 2018). In the long run, this leads to demotivation and passivity of the employee, in the worst case even to him or her leaving the company (Vogel, 2018).


Success orientation as a motivating factor: The need theory according to David McClelland

Success orientation represents one of the key motivational factors and can lead to increased performance at work (Rybnicek et al., 2017). In psychology, it occupies one of the three pillars within David McClelland’s need theory.

McClelland assumed that employees are motivated to perform on the job by the needs for achievement, affiliation, or power (Rybnicek et al., 2017).

For this purpose, McClelland distinguished between intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors (Rybnicek et al., 2017). The three motivational drives mentioned above represent intrinsic factors. Intrinsic motivation refers to such a drive, which comes from within. Intrinsic motivation reinforces the enjoyment and satisfaction of the respective activity itself, which at times can also turn into a flow state (Kuvaas et al., 2017). 

Extrinsic motivational factors are such influences, which are driven by the environment. They give the respective person impulses through which the respective motivation is to be increased (Kuvaas et al., 2017). Examples are bonuses, awards, or social recognition.

In his need theory, McClelland defined the need for achievement “by [an individual’s] preference for achieving excellence in accomplishments through one’s individual efforts” (Rybnicek et al., 2017). This is because individuals who exhibit an increased orientation towards achievement feel a stronger desire to perform better. Such individuals generally take effective leadership positions, are more engaged within the organization and in their position, and consequently are more satisfied with their role (Rybnicek et al., 2017). Success orientation, in McClelland’s words, is thus a key driver of good job performance.


What factors are driving you?

It has already become clear that success orientation is a decisive criterion for increased motivation and consequently for good performance. What has not yet been clarified, however, is the question of why it is important to be aware of which factors increase one’s own motivation.

First of all, it is important to recognize which concrete factors contribute to one’s own motivation and thus lead to a more productive performance. The second step is to distinguish whether these motivational factors are intrinsic or extrinsic. This is of great importance because intrinsic motivation, in contrast to extrinsic motivation, requires a higher energy level and, at the same time, greater endurance (Kuvaas et al., 2017). Moreover, intrinsic motivation is associated with positive feelings and affects, such as enthusiasm, commitment, and well-being (Kuvaas et al., 2017). Such associations, in turn, are negatively related to psychological disorders such as burnout or depression, increased conflict potential, or high employee turnover (Kuvaas et al., 2017).

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, requires a less high energy level and, in contrast to intrinsic motivation, is of shorter duration (Kuvaas et al., 2017). For example, an employee may be motivated to perform better by a higher salary or high bonus payments. However, if recognition fails to materialize or other extrinsic motivators do not occur, motivation may decrease or even lead to job dissatisfaction over time. For this reason, it is crucial to promote intrinsic motivation in order to perform well on the job in the long term and to be satisfied with one’s own function or position.



Becoming self-aware of what drives you in your job can have different benefits: on the one hand, it can effectively increase your job performance, and on the other hand, it can have a positive impact on your health and satisfaction.

The fifth dimension of the Hartman Value Profile evaluates whether personality traits of the candidate match the current function. The results provide information on whether a candidate feels comfortable in his or her position or not. The decisive factor here is the background reasons for the respective result. Since success orientation is closely related to motivation in the job, it is important to examine these factors as well. 

In short, one’s own motivation and that of your employees is a decisive criterion for success-oriented work and job satisfaction.



Author: Dimitra Sismanidou, July 2021
Copyright: IAM Global GmbH



Vogel, U. (2018). Profilingvalues: Handbuch. System, Anwendungen und Interpretation des Reports. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Profilingvalues.

Rybnicek, R., Bergner, S. & Gutschelhofer, A. (2017). How individual needs influence motivation effects: a neuroscientific study on McClelland’s need theory. Review of Managerial Science, 13, 443-482. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-017-0252-1 (Accessed on 27th July, 2021). 

Kuvaas, B., Buch, R., Weibel, A., Dysvik, A., & Nerstad, C. G. (2017). Do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation relate differently to employee outcomes?. Journal of Economic Psychology, 61, 244-258.