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Employee motivation, emotions, and performance: a longitudinal diary study

Abira Reizer (Department of Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel)
Yael Brender-Ilan (Ariel University, Ariel, Israel)
Zachary Sheaffer (Department of Economics and Business Management, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 9 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019




Numerous studies have focused on the effect of motivation on performance in the workplace. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the somewhat overlooked role of positive and negative emotions as potential mediators of this critical association.


The longitudinal study employed multilevel modeling for assessing the effects of motivation, emotions and work satisfaction on job performance. In total, 116 respondents provided 1,044 responses at nine consecutive measurement points.


Findings indicated that positive emotions and job satisfaction mediate the positive association between autonomous motivation and performance. Concurrently, negative emotions and decreased job satisfaction mediated the negative associations between controlled motivation and job performance.

Research limitations/implications

The results address only the within-subject and between-subject analysis of temporal variations in emotions and behavior. Future studies can include higher levels of analysis, such as group, team and organizational contexts.


This research contributes to self-determination theory by highlighting the role of emotions in understanding how motivation shapes workplace performance.



Reizer, A., Brender-Ilan, Y. and Sheaffer, Z. (2019), "Employee motivation, emotions, and performance: a longitudinal diary study", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 415-428.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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