Manifest Needs Questionnaire

Steers, R. M., and Braunstein, D. N. (1976). A behaviorally-based measure of manifest needs in work settings. Journal of Vocational Behavior 9:251–66.

Comments: The Manifest Needs Questionnaire (MNQ), which measures four of Murray’s needs, demonstrates evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. The authors cite the following as three limitations of the MNQ: additional organizations need to be surveyed; the MNQ is a research instrument and should not be used to make decisions about selection or placement; and the instrument only measures four needs.

Scale Construction: Items were written for four needs (achievement, affiliation, autonomy, and dominance) based upon the research of Murray (1938). Some items were worded negatively. A panel of judges examined the items for appropriateness, clarity, and content validity. Then, three studies were conducted to validate the MNQ. The first study was a pilot study. The 20-item MNQ contains five statements for each need.

Sample: The original sample consisted of 96 management students who were working in business, government, and education.

Reliability: Alpha coefficients (Cronbach) were 0.66 (achievement), 0.56 (affiliation), 0.61 (autonomy), and 0.83 (dominance). Test-retest reliabilities over a two-week interval with 41 people were 0.72 (achievement), 0.75 (affilia- tion), 0.77 (autonomy), and 0.86 (dominance).

Validity: The scores on the MNQ were compared with the scores on the Personality Research Form (Jackson, 1967) to establish convergent and discriminant validity. In addition, four independent judges rated 49 participants to establish discriminant validity. The MNQ was also used to predict work group preferences.

Data Analysis: Means, standard deviations, and off-diagonal correlations are reported for the four scales. Point biserial correlations between MNQ scores and eight work group preferences are provided.


Chusmir, L. H. (1988). An update on the internal consistency of the Manifest Needs Questionnaire. Psychology: A Journal of Human Behavior 25:14–18.

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Dreher, G. F., and Mai-Dalton, R. R. (1983). A note on the internal consistency of the Manifest Needs Questionnaire. Journal of Applied Psychology 68:194–96.

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Steers, R. M., and Spencer, D. G. (1977). The role of achievement motivation in job design. Journal of Applied Psychology 62:472–79.

Manifest Needs Questionnaire

1. I do my best work when my job assignments are fairly difficult.
2. When I have a choice, I try to work in a group instead of by myself.
3. In my work assignments, I try to be my own boss.
4. I seek an active role in the leadership of a group.
5. I try very hard to improve on my past performance at work.
6. I pay a good deal of attention to the feelings of others at work.
7. I go my own way at work, regardless of the opinions of others.
8. I avoid trying to influence those around me to see things my way.
9. I take moderate risks and stick my neck out to get ahead at work.
10. I prefer to do my own work and let others do theirs.
11. I disregard rules and regulations that hamper my personal freedom.
12. I find myself organizing and directing the activities of others.
13. I try to avoid any added responsibilities on my job.
14. I express my disagreements with others openly.
15. I consider myself a “team player” at work.
16. I strive to gain more control over the events around me at work.
17. I try to perform better than my coworkers.
18. I find myself talking to those around me about non-business related matters.

19. I try my best to work alone on a job.
20. I strive to be “in command” when I am working in a group.

Scoring: Always, Almost Always, Usually, Sometimes, Seldom, Almost Never, and Never. Scoring is reversed for items 8, 10, 13, 14, and 15.