Mutual Effects of Relational Models and Social Motives



Motivation in social relationships is a product of individual motive dispositions and relationship-specific cues. We built upon relational models theory and various dual motive theories to investigate the mutual influence of motives and relational structures. In a series of laboratory and field studies, we assessed specific interrelations of implicit and explicit motives for achievement (Ach), affiliation (Aff), and power (Pow) and the relational models communal sharing (CS), authority ranking (AR), equality matching (EM), and market pricing (MP). In two experiments, we tested relational framing effects on the emergence of social motivation.

Across studies, CS and AR orientations were consistently and specifically associated with Aff and Pow, respectively. MP was related to Pow and Ach. EM was not consistently associated with Ach, Aff, or Pow. Framing relationships as CS-structured triggered affiliation motivation, whereas AR framings resulted in power motivation. In both the cross-sectional studies and the experiments, MP was related to the need for agency, as opposed to the need for affiliation/intimacy. Our studies provide first empirical evidence for specific interrelations of social motives and relational models. The present results have direct implications for various applied areas of psychological research.