Influenced by Weber's protestant work ethic ideology, McClelland proposed that the economic development of societies could be attributed to differences in achievement motivation. Early empirical evidence from many developing countries seemed to support this hypothesis. More recently, however, writers have come to acknowledge that achievement motivation is not a universal construct and that motivation in a cultural context is multidimensional. They propose that in many developing countries a social approval motive could be stronger. There has also been a tendency to stereotype Asian learners as rote learners. Although recent research has challenged this view, we need strong evidence to counter this belief. A study was undertaken to compare the patterns of motivation and learning strategies of Australian and Asian students at an Australian university. The results show that there are some similarities and differences between cultures in what motivates students and how they approach learning. The most important finding of this study is that McClelland's NAch operationalized more narrowly, as the need for "competition" seems to be an important dimension of motivation for Australian students, but an equally potent motivating factor for Asian students seems to be social approval. Furthermore, this study lends support to the argument that Asian learners are not rote learners.