How autonomy-support predicts the development of performance

Previous research points at positive effects of autonomy support in different contexts such as parenting, education, and work. Usually, in studies into its effects in the workplace, static measures of performance are used. (for example Gagne & Deci, 2005). This means that a measurement of performance is done at one point in time which is used as a criterion measure. Researchers Kanat-Maymon & Reizer (2017) followed a different approach. They tracked performance of newly employed soccer analysts (N=68) over a period of 5 months.

Kanat-Maymon & Reizer (2017)

The participants were divided over 8 teams each with their own supervisor. Once a month dat were collected from and about them. Self-report data was collected about their perception of their supervisor's autonomy support (using the HCCQ scale) and performance data about them were supplied by their supervisors. The researchers expected that the participants' performance would, at first, show a linear growth and that this growth, after some time would decelerate. Furthermore, they expected that the more they perceived their supervisor to be autonomy-supportive, the steeper their performance growth would be and the slower its eventual deceleration would be. The figure on the right shows that these expectations were confirmed.


This study provides an extra indication that autonomy-support may be beneficial to work performance. It suggests that autonomy-support for new employees is particularly useful. It may help them develop faster and in a more sustained way.