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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management

ISBN: 978-0-76230-959-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-174-3

Publication date: 2 October 2003


In this chapter we argue that self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) provides a useful conceptual tool for organizational researchers, one that complements traditional work motivation theories. First, we review SDT, showing that it has gone far beyond the “intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation” dichotomy with which it began. Then we show how the theory might be applied to better understand a variety of organizational phenomena, including the positive effects of transformational leadership, the nature of “true” goal-commitment, the determinants of employees’ training motivation, and the positive impact of certain human resource practices. We note that SDT may yield significant new understanding of work motivation, and suggest opportunities to refine the theory for research on work-related phenomena.


Sheldon, K.M., Turban, D.B., Brown, K.G., Barrick, M.R. and Judge, T.A. (2003), "APPLYING SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY TO ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH", Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 357-393.



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