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Self Determination Theory

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Self-Determination Theory

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Motivation. A word used often to describe a compelling force that drives people to participate in task and activities such as; a marathon, diets, and writing case reports. But, where does this motivation stems from? To understand where, we must understand? And how can we sustain this drive in every aspect of our lives?
This report will cover self-determination theory and how it relates to an associated case study. Other theories and examples will be given along the way, but the focus is on understanding what factors play a role in motivating people to act.
Self-Determination Theory is the investigation of people’s inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs (Deci & Ryan 2000, pp 68), and its distinction between autonomous motivation and controlled motivation (Gagne and Deci 2005, pp. 333). Self-determination theory separates extrinsic and intrinsic motivators to examine in what ways can intrinsic motivation be sustained and applied to tasks that are displeasing. However, the conditions for personal growth, well-being, and social development must be met. Through research the universal necessities needed to promote the perfect conditions are autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan 2000, pp 68). Self-determination theory could be paired with Cognitive evaluation theory which focuses on external and internal factors, but is limited to sonly those two. Self-determination theory allows extrinsic motivation and the autonomy continuum, which contain four levels of extrinsic motivation which are in a quasi-simplex pattern, positively correlating the closets and negatively correlating the furthest. These extrinsic fields include external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and intergrated regulation, where the later 2 are more internally motivated. To be autonomous is to be self-governed, to have competence is to be believed in and trusted, and have relatedness is to have a relationship with a significant other. These are the foundations, the universal necessities required to achieve well-being, and autonomous intrinsic motivation.
The case study begins with examining Madeline, the ward supervisor. Madeline feels the need to have supervised and regulations a lot of what the nurses do. This creates a controlled rather than an autonomous motivated environment. Being ward supervisor she is put on pressure by higher management to move out patients, which in turn can affect her to put pressure on her staff. This further creates a non-autonomous environment focused on removal of patients rather than. For certain activities like swapping of shifts, she felt obligated to arrive early and stay to verify that the nurses handed over properly at the end of their shifts. Through her display of professionalism, she wouldn’t allow idle chat and would also check along with the doctor to see if their records were up to date. Within self-determination theory, her interpersonal style of supervision deters autonomous intrinsic motivation. Her overbearing supervision could be interpreted as a lack of competence towards her staff. This lack of competence deter self-motivation, mental health and well-being of her staff, for it is a universal necessity; along with autonomy, and relatedness.
Margaret is one of the nurses at the hospital. She has an autonomous nature and is intrinsically motivated, but feels unease being constantly supervised by Madeline (controlled environment). Margaret is given praise, in secret, by Madeline for her very good work and compliments from patients (case study). In Gagne and Deci (in Deci, Koestner, & Ryan 1999, pp. 332) laboratory experiments show positive feedback enhances intrinsic motivation, but given the controlled environment, it had no or negative effect on Margaret’s intrinsic motivation. Margaret offers suggestions towards Madeline about bettering the ward with programs used in previous hospitals. These actions of formulating innovations exemplify an organizational citizen who behaviors that are not related to basic job functions but do promote organizational effectiveness (Gagne & Deci 2005, pp. 351).
The last of the character is Molly, the older nurse. We can assume molly is intrinsically motivated to work based on (Kooij, Lange, Jansen, and Dikkers 2008(in Lord 2004) pp. 368) stating the motivations of elderly workers and their choice to continue work is primarily they enjoy working, derive satisfaction from using their skills, and gain a sense of accomplishment from the job they perform. Molly is a bit inattentive to certain task, assuming they are uninteresting. (Gagne & Deci 2005, pp. 347) explains with mundane tasks there is no difference between using autonomous or controlling motivation(Gagne & Deci 2005, pp. 347) therefore Madeline’s controlled environment shouldn’t undermined Molly’s autonomous intrinsic motivation. Molly is also suspicious with newer treatments and methods employed by younger nurse, which positively correlates with (Kooij, Lange, Jansen, and Dikkers 2008 (in Kanfer and Ackerman 2004), pp.379) findings that older workers will have a lowered motivation when it comes to performing new tasks. The case states that she has taken instructions towards prioritize her work task without any resistance. Does that indicated that she view the instructions as vital to her job? Compared to the earlier statement she seems to be presenting introjected regulation, for she has complied with the instruction, but still hasn’t internalized to where it aligned with her internal morals.
The staff, Margaret and Molly, holds dissatisfaction towards her interpersonal controlling style. If left unchanged, they will continue to bring down the morale of the other nurses. But is the cause Madeline’s controlled environment approach, or also taking the way they extrinsic motivation is being distributed. The case briefly mentions that work, and pay rate are set out in the NSW Nurse Award. Assuming the awards are predetermined this could eliminate the external factor of competition. Research in cognitive evaluation theory has shown decrease in intrinsic motivation given extrinsic factors such as competition or evaluation. Gagne and Deci (in Amabile, Goldfarb, &Brackfield, 1990; McGraw 1978, pp. 332). This would not deter intrinsic motivation, but the dissatisfaction of the nurses and the continuing absent of an autonomous environment can.
Using elements of self-determination theory, cognitive evaluation theory and other relating to social perception of age, we manage to dissect the nurses. Now, to use elements of self-determination theory increase the intrinsic motivation and wellbeing of Madeline and her staff. (Gagne & Deci (in Deci, Connell, and Ryan 1989(, pp. 342-343) researched showed that when managers where trained to be more autonomy supportive, their subjects became more trusting of the organization and displayed more positive work related attitudes. If Madeline receives training to alter her control managerial style to a more autonomy supportive one, then she will be trusted more. If she is trusted more than she will be able to develop relatedness with the other staff members. This also tends to the staff’s universal need of self-determination theory. Madeline also can reduce her stress and pressure from the war by confining in her nurses or colleagues. In Stone, Deci, and Ryan 2009(in Deci, Connell and Ryan 1989, pp. 85-86) the experiment had dissatisfied, controlling, and pressured (accountable) managers sharing their problems and strategies with one another, which resulted in functioning as a productive team. This gave way to a more autonomy support and empowerment. This could also assist in creating the autonomous environment that will increase the intrinsic motivation of the staff. People are more securely attached to those who met their universal needs of self-determination theory Patrick, Knee, Canevello, and Lonsbary 2007 (in La Guardia et al., pp. 436). Having a more autonomous supportive environment allows people like Margaret to strive for Madeline will be more supportive of her suggestions that could benefit the ward. (Gagne & Deci 2005, pp. 345) mentions how managerial autonomy support, where a manager acknowledge their subordinates’ perspectives, providing relevant information in a non-controlling way, and encouraging self-initiation was associated with employees’ being more satisfied with their job. In conclusion, giving her a sense of achievement and more incentive to strive to do more towards her job rather than what is requested. Margaret’s patients were always well tended even if she was a little abrupt with and their families sometimes. With the new the autonomous environment, Margaret will be more autonomous, and that can transcend to the patients. For example, a study mentioned in Kasser, V. and Ryan, R. 1999, (in Williams, Grow, Freedman, Ryan, & Deci, 1996, pp. 939)in a weight-loss program for morbidly obese individuals (Williams, Grow, Freedman, Ryan, & Deci, 1996) found that patients who perceived the staff as autonomy-supportive had higher rates of attendance, developed greater self-motivation for change, and were more likely to complete the program. This will not only have great satisfaction towards her patients but also their families for meeting their universal necessitates of self-determination theory.

With Madeline’s new training in autonomous supportive approaches, she will be more relatable towards Molly. Given Molly’s disaffection towards new task or rules, Madeline can better explain to Molly why the new methods are essential to help the patients, and (Stone, Deci, and Ryan 2009, pp.81) states providing a meaningful rationale for an uninteresting task, with acknowledgement of their feelings, will intregate an extrinsic motivation. By Madeline being empathetic towards Molly for her suspicions toward the new methods, she will be prompted to alter from her ‘tried and true approach’. This suspicion can also be overcome by allowing the nurses to chat. It promotes a teamwork setting, rather than and individual one, and assuming that the nurses have the same goal, helping the patient efficiently and promptly, than this will benefit their sense of autonomy and their communication amongst the staff. When viewing teamwork (Latham and Locke 2007, pp.296) claims the sharing of knowledge and information is essential for a team to become and remain effective.
In the case report, Madeline privately praises Magaret. This task should not have been done in private and should be done more often. For example, Kooij, Lange, Jansen, and Dikkers 2008 (in Greller and Simpson 1999 2005, pp.379) claim a lack of feedback can further reduce the motivation of older employees. It was not stated if Molly was ever praised, so a positive verbal feedback would definitely raise the intrinsic motivation of any nurse, and could lead to integration of the task they were praised for. “Tangible extrinsic rewards undermined intrinsic motivation whereas verbal rewards enhanced it.” Gagne & Deci (in Deci, 1971, pp. 332)
After the intervention with Madeline, can self-determination theory really be affected in her situation? As explained above, by providing an managerial autonomous supported environment, Madeline must allow the staff the choice to intergrate these task. Will merely choice motivate the staff to do so an increase their intrinsic satisfaction with the task? Also, is it possible to overdo attention to certain nurses? For example, Margaret seems to be a very internally motivated person, and to have so much support could lead to the opposite effects of self-determination theory. This theory is good, as a theory, and only recently has it been applied to the certain work forces. Nevertheless, I do believe that self-determination theory can play a role in improving Madeline’s autonomous support, Margaret’s innovation and intrinsic motivation, and Molly’s integration of new regulations. All that’s left is to put it to the test.

References, Harvard style

* Deci, L. and Ryan, R. 2000. Self-determination theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well Being. University of Rochester(NY): American Psychological Association * Gagne, M and Deci, E. 2005. Self-Determination Theory and Work Motivation. J. Organiz. Behav., 26: 331–362. doi: 10.1002/job.322 * Stone, D., Deci, E., and Ryan, R. 2009. Beyond Talk: creating autonomous motivation through self-determination theory. Journal of General Management 34(3), 75-91 * Kasser, V. and Ryan, R. 1999. The Relation of Psychological Needs for Autonomy and Relatedness to Vitality, Well-Being, and Mortality in a Nursing Home. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29(5), 935-954 * Patrick, H., Knee, C., Canevello, A., and Lonsbary, C. 2007.The Role of Need Fulfillment in Relationship Functioning and Well-Being: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92(3) 434-457 * Latham, G. and Locke, E. 2007. New Developments in and Directions for Goal-Setting Research. European Psychologist 12(4), 290-300 * Kooij, D., Lange, A., Jansen, P., and Dikkers, J. 2008. Older workers’ motivation to continue to work: five meanings of age. Journal of Managerial Psychology 23(4) 364-394

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