Interpreting Affiliation in the iWAM

The iWAM Affiliation pattern, equating to one of David McClelland's three needs (the others being Power and Achievement), has two aspects:

  1. the extent to which an individual wants to belong to or be part of a group;
  2. the extent to which an individual values harmonious relationships and therefore pays attention to the emotions or feelings in a group. In this aspect, the stronger the pattern, the more likely the individual is to be motivated by other's or the group's feelings toward him or her because being liked or thought of positively appears to be important.

One of my favorite anchors for the notion of low Affiliation (related to #2 above) is from The Illustrated Rumi. The caption tells the story.

Characters in books sometimes reflect low Affiliation. I recently read Marc Cameron's Stone Cross and one of his characters, a judge named Markham, said:

"I do not care if you like me. I stopped worrying about what people think of me or my decisions many years ago.”

Interestingly, low Affiliation is not necessarily correlated with not caring about people and what they think or feel. We encounter a number of low scorers who definitely care.

One key difference between someone who scores low and a high-scoring individual is the extent to which they are motivated by others' feelings about them.

So, it's important to distinguish between being aware of what's going on in others and caring about those others and being motivated by what's going on.

This may seem, to some, like a difference without a distinction. But, trust us, it's not.