The importance of autonomy support and the mediating role of work motivation for well‐being: Testing self‐determination theory in a Chinese work organisation

Youyan Nie, Bee Leng Chua, Alexander Seeshing Yeung, Richard M. Ryan, Wai Yen Chan
Published Online:
26 Nov 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 50 Issue 4

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We examine relations between perceived organisational autonomy support and different types of work motivation and well‐being outcomes in 266 teachers from two government schools in China. We hypothesised that greater autonomy support would be associated with more autonomous forms of employee motivation, and that teacher motivation would in turn mediate the effects of autonomy support on indicators of work well‐being (i.e., job satisfaction, work stress and physical ill symptoms). Results generally supported the hypothesised relations between perceived autonomy support and SDT's five types of motivations. Findings also showed that perceived autonomy support predicted job satisfaction directly and indirectly through the mediating roles of intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, introjected regulation and external regulation. Perceived autonomy support predicted work stress directly and indirectly through the mediating roles of external regulation and amotivation. Autonomy support also predicted illness symptoms via the mediating roles of intrinsic motivation, introjected regulation and amotivation. The current findings highlight how perceived organisational support for autonomy relates to motivational differences in a Chinese work context, and the potential relevance of autonomy support for employee well‐being.

© 2014 International Union of Psychological Science