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Affilition & Approval

Affilition & Approval

The need for affiliation (N-Affil) is a term that was popularized by David McClelland and describes a person's need to feel a sense of involvement and "belonging" within a social group; McClelland's thinking was strongly influenced by the pioneering work of Henry Murray who first identified underlying psychological human needs and motivational processes (1938). It was Murray who set out a taxonomy of needs, including achievement, power and affiliation—and placed these in the context of an integrated motivational model. People with a high need for affiliation require warm interpersonal relationships and approval from those with whom they have regular contact. Having a strong bond with others make a person feel as if they are a part of something important that creates a powerful impact. People who place high emphasis on affiliation tend to be supportive team members, but may be less effective in leadership positions. A person who takes part in a group, whether it be a movement or project, create a push towards a sense of achievement and satisfaction for the individual and the whole.

Within group processes, individuals are invariably driven to develop and preserve meaningful social relationships with others. Specifically, people tend to use approval cues to create, maintain, and assess the intimacy of our relationships with other people.[1] First, though, in order to move toward these affiliations, people must abide by social norms which promote liking and reciprocity.

The first major implication of the need to affiliate with others is liking – in which the more we like or accept other people, the more likely we are to attempt to develop close relationships with them. There are a number of ways to accomplish this liking factor, including responding to requests for help, greater perceived similarity with someone else, and impression management through ingratiation. Firstly, responding to requests for help creates a very positive relationship between compliance and fondness for a person.[2] On the other hand, greater perceived similarity between individuals can also lead to fondness and potential friendships. This factor leads to increased compliance, and it can include any similarity from shared names or birthdays, to deeper connections such as a shared career or education.[3] Lastly, impression management through ingratiation is a third means by which people use the liking principle to satisfy their need for affiliation. This is a means to get others to like us through the effects of flattery, which could be something as small as remembering a person’s name, to constant compliments and admiration.

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