Study: the effects of autonomy support by managers

In two Chinese government schools some central ideas from self-determination theory were tested (Nie et al., 2017). What was specifically tested were the effects of perceived autonomy support by managers on the motivation of employees (266 teachers) and on several output criteria (job satisfaction, work stress, and illness symptoms). The expectation based on previous research were that perceived autonomy support (1) would predict more autonomous motivation (versus controlled motivation, and (2) more job satisfaction, with less work stress, and less illness symptoms. The figure below summarizes the findings of the study.


As the figure shows, the central ideas of self-determination theory were confirmed in this study. Perceived autonomy support predicted autonomous motivation, job satisfaction, less work stress, and less illness symptoms. The study offers new support for the importance of autonomy support, also in collectivist cultures, such as the Chinese. Also it shows that the benefits of autonomous motivation are diverse.