Understanding how the satisfaction of basic needs predicts autonomous and controlled motivation to participate in development opportunities Prof Tony Machin University of Southern Queensland
The SDT approach to work motivation Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT) Gagne´ and Deci (2005) showed the distinction between autonomous motivation and controlled motivation. There is a continuum ranging from more controlled motivation to more autonomous motivation (both of which are intentional) with different outcomes resulting from the type of motivation.
What is it like to be autonomously motivated? Comments from a male employee: I’ve attended [PD] because usually of a personal need, not because any one has tapped me on the shoulder and said you must go to this. … It’s not planned. It’s not - it’s just purely, as I said, self-driven and out of interest, I suppose.
A formal definition (from Ratelle, Guay, & Vallerand, 2007) “Autonomous motivation is observed when behavior is initiated and governed by the self (i.e., when intrinsically motivated or regulated by identification),whereas controlled motivation is observed when behavior is not initiated or governed by the self (i.e., when regulated by introjectionor external factors)” (p. 735).
Importance of autonomous motivation(Figure 2 from Gagne´ and Deci, 2005)
Satisfaction of basic psychological needs Gagne´ and Deci (2005) also argue that “work climates that promote satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs will enhance employees’ intrinsic motivation … [yielding] important work outcomes of persistence and maintained behavior change
effective performance, particularly on tasks requiring creativity, cognitive flexibility, and conceptual understanding job satisfaction positive work-related attitudes organizational citizenship behaviors psychological adjustment and well-being”
How many basic needs? Deciand Ryan (2000) provide support for the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness as being important for all individuals. Autonomy Belongingness (relatedness) Competence
Van den Broeck, Vansteenkiste, De Witte, Soenens and Lens(2010) showed that the three basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are distinct but related constructs with r’s (averaged across 4 samples) from .28 to .58 between the latent constructs.
From Van den Broeck, Vansteenkiste, De Witte, Soenens and Lens (2010)
Links between basic needs and motivational types The basic needs all relate positively to autonomous motivation and negatively (or are uncorrelated) with controlled motivation
Research questions We examined the relationships between measures of satisfaction of the three basic needs, and measures of autonomous and controlled motivation We also examined the relationships between six components of psychological well-being (PWB) and measures of autonomous and controlled motivation
We also examined the relationships between measures of the big five personality dimensions and measures of autonomous and controlled motivation Finally, we examined the relationships between measures of six workplace characteristics and measures of autonomous and controlled motivation
Measures 54-item version of Ryff’s Scales of Psychological Well-being (PWB) 21-item Basic Need Satisfaction at Work Scale (BNSW) 50-item IPIP Measure of the Big 5 Personality Factors 6-item version of the Work Climate Questionnaire measuring Autonomy Support
33 items from FOCUS developed by Community and Organisational Research Unit (CORE) at USQ. 12-item Situational Motivation Scale adapted to focus on attendance at professional development activities.
Methodology Ethics Approval provided by the USQ Human Research Ethics Committee (H10REA070) The data were collected from a survey of 351 employed persons (including 85 males)
Demographic details Age Groups Number Less than 20: 54 21-30: 129 31-39: 83 40-49: 56 50-59: 29 Greater than 60: 0
Summary of the results BNSW scales explained 11% and 11% of autonomous and controlled motivation PWB scales explained 26% and 27% of autonomous and controlled motivation IPIP scales explained 24% and 22% of autonomous and controlled motivation Workplace factors explained 12% and 6% of autonomous and controlled motivation
Relationship of basic psychological needs to autonomous and controlled motivation
Relationship of psychological well-being to autonomous and controlled motivation
Relationship of personality to autonomous and controlled motivation
Relationship of work factors to autonomous and controlled motivation
Model fit With the paths from BNSW Competence to both types of motivation constrained to be zero, the model fit was quite good Chi square = 3.66, df = 2, p = .16 (ns), CFI = .99, TLI = .98, RMSEA = .05 (90% CI .00 - .13). The best predictor of autonomous and controlled motivation is PWB Personal Growth with betas of .38 and -.37 respectively. All other betas were sig.
Conclusions The results did not provide any support for the satisfaction of basic needs as being important in understanding employees’ motivation to participate in development opportunities. Further analysis identified that Personal Growth was the only significant predictor of males’ levels of autonomous and controlled motivation.
Possible avenues for further research Examine how the basic needs interact to influence motivation. Look at the development of satisfaction of the basic needs. It may be that changes over time are important determinants of motivation (or changes in motivation).
A cautionary note This study did not focus on motivation in a particular context, that is, with people who were all attending a similar event or performing a similar task. Therefore we do not know whether their understanding of the items was influenced by their particular context.
Contact me if you have any questions Professor Tony Machin, Department of Psychology, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, 4350. Australia. Telephone +61 7 46312587. Fax +61 7 46312721. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org