Following self-determination theory, this paper investigates the relations of employees’ perceptions of supervisors’ autonomy-supportive or controlling environments to their intrinsic or extrinsic work goals using both a field study and a computational dynamics model (Vancouver and Weinhardt in Org Res Methods 15(4):602–623, 2012), which is a recent and innovative technique. In Study 1, we did an empirical study with 128 employees over a half-year period and found that employees’ perceptions of supervisors’ autonomy-supportive environments satisfied employees’ basic psychological needs and promoted their intrinsic goals; controlling environments frustrated their basic needs and promoted their extrinsic goals. In Study 2, we used a system dynamics model to simulate the change in employees’ extrinsic goals, and the results showed that perceptions of supervisors’ autonomy-supportive environments related to the transformation of employees’ extrinsic goals. The study contributes by demonstrating that employees’ perception of supervisors’ environments could be a reason for employees’ different goal orientations, and it contributes by simulating the use of the dynamic process of goal transformation in research.
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Employees’ perception of basic need = Basic need
Employees’ comparator for basic need = IF THEN ELSE(Employees’ perception of basic need < 0, -(Standard of basic need-Employees’ perception of basic need), IF THEN ELSE (Employees’ perception of basic need < 1, Standard of basic need-Employees’ perception of basic need, Employees’ perception of basic need-Standard of basic need/2))
Employees’ goal orientation = IF THEN ELSE (Employees’ comparator for basic need > 1, importance*EXP (Employees’ comparator for basic need), IF THEN ELSE (Employees’ comparator for basic need< − 1, -importance*SQRT (-Employees’ comparator for basic need), importance*Employees’ comparator for basic need))
Employees’ perception of environment = − 3 + STEP (6, 5)
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Zhang, Y., Zhang, J., Forest, J. et al. A dynamic computational model of employees goal transformation: Using self-determination theory. Motiv Emot 43, 447–460 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-019-09753-1
- Goal content
- Autonomy-supportive/controlling environments
- Computational dynamics model
- Goal transformation