Providing a Rationale in an Autonomy-Supportive Way as a Strategy to Motivate Others During an Uninteresting Activity

Abstract

When motivating others during uninteresting activities, people typically use extrinsic contingencies that promote controlling forms of extrinsic motivation. In contrast, we investigated a motivational strategy that could support another person's capacity to personally endorse and value the effort he or she put forth during the uninteresting activity. That strategy is the provision of an externally provided rationale when communicated in an autonomy-supportive way. In two studies, we tested and found support for a motivational mediation model, based on self-determination theory, in which the presence of such a rationale (vs. its absence) adds to participants' identification with the task's personal value which, in turn, explains participants' subsequent effort. These studies suggest that extrinsically motivated behaviors can become self-determined through the process of identification and that the promotion of this identification experience depends on the presence of a rationale that is communicated in an autonomy-supportive way.

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Reeve, J., Jang, H., Hardre, P. et al. Providing a Rationale in an Autonomy-Supportive Way as a Strategy to Motivate Others During an Uninteresting Activity. Motivation and Emotion 26, 183–207 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021711629417

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  • internalization
  • identified regulation
  • extrinsic motivation
  • rationale
  • self-determination
  • autonomy support