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Industry Versus Inferiority

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Industry Versus Inferiority

I
Industry Versus Inferiority
Safaa Issawi and Barry Dauphin
Department of Psychology, University of Detroit
Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA
Synonyms
Achievement (need for);Ericksons fourth stage
productivity;Latency stage of development;Self-
esteem levels
Definition
Industry vs. Inferiority is the stage in which chil-
dren enter into the greater society beyond the
family for the rst time. If they succeed in navi-
gating this stage, then they are able to develop a
meaningful social role to give back to society.
They will become industrious, namely, productive
and contributing members to society as a whole. If
they do not succeed at this stage, they may
develop low self-esteem, culminating in a sense
of inferiority, namely, viewing themselves as
unproductive and possibly not fully useful mem-
bers of society.
Introduction
Erik Eriksons(1950) stages of development con-
sist of several stages individuals need to traverse
in order to successfully move on to the next stage
and to progress to higher levels of healthy devel-
opment.The fourth stage is Industry vs. Inferiority.
This stage marks a childs entrance into society
and an opportunity for them to nd a satisfying
and meaningful role in the world. If successful,
they will develop a sense of industry and become
successful producers of what is valued by the
wider society. If they fail to develop industry,
however, they will instead fall into a sense of
inferiority and have doubts about their value to
society and experience impediments to viewing
themselves as contributing meaningfully.
Overview
Erik Eriksons(1950) fourth stage of development
is the developmental challenge of Industry
vs. Inferiority. If this stage is not mastered, an
individual will experience conicts and decits
in development, such as a decit in their ability
to engage in productive activity in society and a
sense of not measuring up to what others can do,
that potentially results in a fear of failure and
inhibited effort.
The rst few stages of development prepare an
individual for entrance into life(Erikson 1950,
p. 258). During these stages, the person is
#Springer International Publishing AG 2017
V. Zeigler-Hill, T.K. Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_593-1
concerned with their hopes, wishes, and desires.
They are most concerned with their own needs
and securing their place in the family. At approx-
imately the age of ve, the child must put some of
their earlier hopes and wishes aside and begin to
think more extensively about the world around
him or her. It is during this time that the child
enters school for the rst time. Children are being
exposed to the world around them and begin to
more fully appreciate that there are people other
than family and close friends in the world.
Eriksons fourth stage signals an individuals
larger, more prominent entrance into society. The
aim of this stage is for the child to become a
functioning member of society, who will make
contributions that benet and are valued by not
only his family but by the society as a whole
(Erikson 1950). During this time, children learn
that they must win recognition from others by
becoming a competent producer of things and
activities valued by the society. As such, the per-
son must acquire the skills to become a worker
and provider to society as a whole. When the child
is exposed to new individuals, especially through
schooling, the child must begin to realize there are
others in the world with various talents and
abilities, with whom they will be compared.
Children learn that are being measured and eval-
uated, which is a relatively new experience.
During this time, the child begins to consider
this new evaluative dimension. They might worry
about how they are coping and doing and compare
themselves to others. If the child is able to come to
terms with and understand that they do not have to
be the best at everything in order to be competent,
they will develop a sense of industry. However, if
they begin to compare themselves to their peers
and continue to believe they are not doing well
enough, they will develop a sense of inferiority. If
an individual develops a sense of inferiority, it is
hard to master the feedback they will be receiving
throughout life for continued growth.
They begin to explore their creativity and
innate abilities in the hopes of building their self-
esteem and condence. An individual will also
develop the fundamental skills of utilizing tech-
nology, which will help them in handling the tools
and utensils adults use in everyday life. This can
specically be seen in the school setting, which
serves as a proving ground for future entry into the
workforce. They begin to realize that they need to
produce and give something in return to society,
because their involvement in school increases
their awareness that a well-functioning society
depends upon contributions from all its members.
Examples of this can be seen in a classroom
setting, such as a student having the task of wiping
the board or feeding the class pet. This goes
beyond simply the basics of learning school
subjects. Erikson (1950) viewed children as
eager to participate and take charge of a wide
variety of tasks that require instruction and exper-
imentation for mastery.
Industry can be seen forming through the
childs development of self-esteem and con-
dence. They realize, via practice in using their
abilities and strengths, that they can successfully
provide the society with added value. Looking
back at the example of children taking charge of
tasks at school, the child may learn not only that
they can successfully participate and produce but
may also begin to learn how to appreciate their
work, noticing the difference between doing a job
and doing it well. Although external validation is
important to the childs development of self-
condence, Erikson (1950) also emphasized the
childs internal appreciation of their work as cru-
cial to mastering this stage. When a child is seen to
be developing a condence in their self and their
work, as well as understanding the importance of
nding their own role in society, the child is
demonstrating industry. Condence enables
them to take on larger and more ambiguous chal-
lenges over time. This bears similarity to the con-
cept of intrinsic motivation (Deci and Ryan 2002).
On the other side of the spectrum, feelings of
inferiority in an individual may begin to emerge
and possibly harden. This can occur when the
child is not able to develop self-esteem and self-
condence in their abilities, their skills, and their
contribution to society. This can be due to many
reasons including improper preparation by the
family or inadequate teaching from the school,
as well as through negative self-appraisals. If an
individual develops a sense of inadequacy and
inferiority, they risk failing to acquire the skills
2 Industry Versus Inferiority
and knowledge necessary for meaningful contri-
butions. If the individual feels inferior in terms of
skill development, or of their status among other
individuals, they may become discouraged from
identifying with and associating with a section of
the tool world(Erikson 1950, p. 259). This in
turn may result in the individual becoming more
isolated from the educational and social experi-
ences necessary for mastery, which in turn hinders
development. Such an individual feels hopeless
and lacks condence in their ability to produce
anything of value for society. They begin to
believe they are mediocre and inadequate. This
can affect the individuals effort, resulting in not
trying or working half-heartedly.
Family, as well as society, can either help or
hinder an individuals development during this
stage. An example of this is a child that has a
learning disability. This disability can interfere
with mastery of the tasks assigned in school and
may result in a greater risk of loss of self-esteem.
The school and family could fail the child if they
do not identify and provide remediation for the
learning disability. For example, Bussing et al.
(2000) found that children with ADHD and
internalizing symptoms had signicantly lower
self-esteem than children with ADHD alone. If
psychological steps needed for industry are not
attended to properly, and help is not provided to
assist the child in achieving success, then a sense
of inferiority can permeate the childs self-image
and cause long-lasting damage. Since becoming
condent in these areas is necessary for gaining
overall condence and projecting oneself into the
future of being a productive worker, a learning
disability has the risk of leading to a sense of
inferiority if a child is not provided with alterna-
tive means of skill acquisition and attention to
these psychological risks associated with a lack
of condence.
During the stage of Industry vs. Inferiority, the
childs potential for achievement is activated.
Society provides opportunities for the child to
progress beyond simple competency and to
engage in a more enduring effort to achieve
difcult things and to overcome adversity. For
example, Murray (1938) developed the construct
of achievement motivation. He noted that
achievement motivation can be enhanced by a par-
ents encouragement of high standards and admira-
tion of the childs spirit to seek out challenges and
persevere in the face of adversity. It is during
Industry vs. Inferiority that a sense of achievement
can be cultivated by rewards for success and the
association of success with pleasure.
During Industry vs. Inferiority, children further
develop relatedness and self-denition. During
this stage, an individual learns their role in the
world, which helps them learn to develop
mature, intimate, mutually satisfying, reciprocal,
interpersonal relationships(Blatt 2006, p. 496).
During this stage, the individual also continues to
develop a realistic, unique sense of self and iden-
tity (Blatt 2006).
Looking at industry vs. inferiority from a dif-
ferent perspective may also be helpful in
understanding this stage. Eriksons fourth devel-
opmental stage corresponds well with Freuds
(1953) latency stage. Industry vs. inferiority
develops from the conicts that arise during the
Oedipal stage of the childs development, in
which competitive fantasies were centered within
the nuclear family. In healthy development, the
child will learn to become independent and take
on a role in society. Although psychoanalytic
orthodoxy posited that latency was a period of
little developmental signicance, Ericksons
fourth stage is actually quite consequential. The
child not only prepares to nd a meaningful role in
the economy but also develops the virtues of
friendship (Bemporad 1984).
Conclusion
In Conclusion, this entry reviewed Erik Eriksons
fourth stage of psychosocial development, the
inuences that may help or hinder development
in this stage, and the relatedness of Industry
vs. Inferiority to Freuds latency stage.
Erik Eriksons fourth stage of development
Industry vs. Inferiority marks a childs entrance
into society and an opportunity for them to
become successful producers, and therefore
nding a meaningful role in the world. If success-
ful, they will develop self-esteem and self-worth,
Industry Versus Inferiority 3
which further helps them develop a sense of
industry and become effective producers in
society. If they fail to develop industry, they will
instead develop a sense of inferiority. This will
cause the individual to question their abilities and
their value in society.
Cross-References
Initiative versus Guilt
Identity versus Role Confusion
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Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 26(4), 494520. doi:10.1080/
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Bussing, R., Zima, B. T., & Perwien, A. R. (2000). Self-
esteem in special education children with ADHD: Rela-
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4 Industry Versus Inferiority
... Değişmekte olan koşullara uyum sağlamak mevcut koşullara uyum sağlamayı kabul etmeyen asilerle gerçekleşmektedir. Bu başkaldırı ile rütüelleşmelerin bütün olarak güncellenmesi gerçekleşmektedir (Erikson ve Erikson, 1997/2017. Kefernahum filminin Erikson'un da belirttiği üzere yaşadığı olumsuz psikososyal çevreye haklı bir şekilde itiraz eden ve ritüelleşmelerini güncellemek isteyen, kimlik kazanma çabasında olan 12 yaşında bir asiyi Zain karakterini ele aldığı belirtilebilir. ...
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Handbook of selfdetermination research
  • E L Deci
  • R M Ryan
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Handbook of selfdetermination research. Rochester: University of Rochester Press.