Self-Determination in a Work Organization

Edward L. Deci, James P. Connell, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1205 Scopus citations


Research testing self-determination theory was discussed in terms of recent work on intrinsic motivation, participative management, and leadership. On three occasions, managers' interpersonal orientations-toward supporting subordinates' self-determination versus controlling their behavior-were related to perceptions, affects, and satisfactions of the subordinates. Data from 23 managers and their subordinates in a major corporation showed that managers' orientations did correlate with the subordinate variables, although the magnitude of the relation varied, seemingly as a function of factors in the corporate climate. An organizational development intervention, focused on the concept of supporting subordinates' self-determination, was provided for the managers. Evaluation of the program showed a clearly positive impact on managers' orientations, though a less conclusive radiation to subordinates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-590
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1989


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