March 11, 2011

How can we help individuals to internalize and integrate external values and demands?

As much research has shown, people's autonomous functioning is deeply connected to their attainment of wellness. The more autonomous people feel the more likely they are to feel well and function well. Does this autonomous functioning mean that people do not feel they have to pay attention to and take into account external values, demands and expectations? Surely not. Autonomously functioning people have internalized and integrated essential socially endorsed values and regulations of their families, organizations and societies. The more integrated and internalized these values and regulations feel to the individual the more autonomous the individual will feel when enacting them. When fully integrated, the activity is not only perceived as personally meaningful but has become an integral part of the individual's system of values and convictions and is experienced as highly volitional.

Normally, individuals growing up and developing will be motivated to internalize and integrated these types of external values, demands and regulations. But research shows that several factors can hinder the process and others can stimulate it (see table)

Factors likely to hinder the process of internalization and integration are:
Factors likely to support the process of internalization and integration are: 
·      leadership/authority which is seen as illegitimate
·      emphasizing different types of controls such as tangible rewards, deadlines, punishments evaluations, awards, grades, and surveillance
·      using controlling language and imposing goals
·      giving negative feedback
·      expressing negative expectations
·      emphasizing competition
·      being non-responsive to or dismissing individual concerns and views
·      treating individuals as interchangeable
·      leadership/authority which is seen as legitimate
·      providing and emphasizing choice
·      allowing individuals to follow their unique approach
·      encouraging self-initiative and experimentation
·      providing a meaningful rationale for any suggestions or requests
·      providing structure
·      giving positive feedback
·      expressing positive expectations
·      providing optimal challenges
·      inquiring about individuals’ views and concerns
·      acknowledging individuals’ perspectives
·      emphasizing individuals’ uniqueness
·      creating cooperative working, learning and change approaches

1 comment:

  1. Someone asked me the following question: "Could you explain

    "How can we help individuals to internalize and integrate external values and demands?" to me in plainer terms? What does internalizing and integrating external values mean? Can you give me examples?

    Here is my answer:

    "As young children we are mostly focused on fulfilling basic physical needs and on doing what we find interesting. We have yet to learn to understand what norms and values are found important in the family and culture around us. Step by step we learn these things and adapt to them. You can think of things like solving conflicts non-violently, sharing with other kids, delaying gratification, helping other people, doing your best at school, going to church, speaking and behaving in a well-mannered way, etc,"

    ReplyDelete

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