Attitudes Towards Achievement

Kim, Jisoo
Phillips, James
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Cultures differ in their orientation towards the individual. A preference for high achievers to fail (Tall Poppy Syndrome) was studied, focusing on the wider socio-cultural context and its effect on public perceptions contributing to experiences of Tall Poppies across differing societal norms. As an indicator of tall poppy syndrome, the present study uses a validified instrument – the Tall Poppy Scale (Feather, 1989) found to be sensitive to ‘tall poppy syndrome’ in English speaking and non-English speaking samples (Feather & McKee 1993). The questionnaire was administered to samples of Korean participants living outside and inside Korea (N = 210) and results were cross-culturally compared with norms from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Japan and China. As predicted, those with poorer scores on the questionnaire with lower decisional self-esteem were more likely to have tall poppy syndrome. Cross-cultural differences were found where participants from a westernised individualistic culture tended to score higher on decisional self-esteem, and lower on the tall poppy syndrome compared to participants from Asian collectivist cultures. It was argued that stronger identification to socio-cultural norms around achievement and these cultural norms themselves have a large role in social etiquette around achievement and how well-received the success of the individual is perceived. A low decisional self-esteem for Asian populations may indicate that self-esteem is defined in relation to others rather than self and is a better reflection of Korean, and Asian cultural world views regarding self-esteem, wellbeing, and attitudes towards achievement. Findings have implications for online platforms and the culture of support towards achieving individuals, benefiting possible future mental wellbeing interventions around internet policies and safeguards around internet feedback.

Tall Poppy Syndrome , Decisional Self Esteem Scale , Cross-cultural , Korea , Online behaviour , Achievement , Attitudes , Cyber bullying , Individualistic , Collectivist , Confucius values
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