How challenging was your work today? The role of autonomous work motivation


Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The main aim of this study was to investigate whether autonomous motivation for work can explain the distinctive associations between hindrance and challenge demands and work-related well-being (i.e., positive affect and work engagement) on a within-person level. Autonomous work motivation represents the degree to which motivation for putting effort in work is intrinsic (i.e., with a sense of volition and personal choice) or has been internalized (i.e., without feelings of internal or external pressure). In order to test our hypotheses, we employed a diary methodology and followed 153 secondary school teachers throughout five consecutive working days. The results of multilevel modelling provided support for the hypothesized research model. On days when teachers experienced more challenges, they also experienced more positive affect and more engagement in their work on the same day, and this relationship could be explained by (higher) autonomous work motivation on that day. In contrast, on days when teachers experienced more hindrance demands, they experienced less positive affect and less work engagement, and this process was explained by (reduced) autonomous work motivation that day. Our findings add to the literature by showing that daily autonomous motivation as a motivational process can explain why daily challenge and hindrance demands are differentially related to positive well-being at work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-93
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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