New publication on motivation, leadership, purpose, values and basic psychological needs

Motivation lies at the core of human behavior. It explains why we do what we do. In this article, we seek an explanation for the influence of leadership, purpose, and values on employee engagement through motivation. Engaged employees derive energy from their work, are dedicated, show higher psychological well-being, and perform better. We suspected that motivation, as defined in self-determination theory, is an underlying mechanism that could explain the relationship between leadership and positive outcomes. To this end, we conducted five empirical studies in which the fulfillment of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and connectedness played a central role. We found that engaging leadership, a higher corporate purpose, and intrinsic values stimulated motivation and engagement. The fulfillment of psychological needs (notably autonomy) played an important role in these relationships. A sixth study tested leadership and inspiration in an intervention study. The intervention led to higher motivation among participants, lower absenteeism among employees, and better business performance. Navigating motivation at work supports employees to flourish, develop, and find significance (download full paper).