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Ryan & Deci: Self Determination Theory (SDT) – Content Models of Motivation

Ryan & Deci are the founders of Self Determination Theory (SDT). It’s possibly the most substantial modern body of research on motivation. As such, it is essential for modern managers to understand the basics.

Watching this video is worth 3 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)

This video is part of course module number 3.7.3
Program 3: Managing and Leading Individuals
Course 7: Motivation
Section 3: Content Models of Motivation

Primary videos that precede this video include:
Introduction to Motivation https://youtu.be/hbPGqPLv2s4
The Fundamentals of Motivation https://youtu.be/IVjnAZ-8-dY

Primary Content (or needs) Models of Motivation videos include:
– Abraham Maslow & The Hierarchy of Needs https://youtu.be/gz5zNx3KnrE
– Clayton Alderfer & ERG Theory https://youtu.be/a01zosRYGnk
– Frederick Herzberg & Two Factor Theory https://youtu.be/f_qyDfZYfXQ
– David McClelland & Three Motivational Needs Theory https://youtu.be/jxNhGE3gPcA
– Daniel Pink & Motivation 3.0 https://youtu.be/5A5vxXwv92Q

Richard Ryan and Edward Deci created Self Determination Theory (SDT). Their research focuses on:
– Dominant role of Intrinsic Motivation in behavior. Intrinsic Motivation is our natural drive to satisfy internal needs.
– Conditions under which Extrinsic Motivation will & won’t work. Extrinsic Motivation comes from outside us.

Social context provides extrinsic motivators & inhibitors.
An individual has an inherent tendency toward action & growth. But we need to be nurtured by our external environment to fulfill that potential.

We have three fundamental, innate needs. Ryan & Deci call them Psychological Nutrients. Fulfilling all three is essential for wellbeing and effective functioning. If any is unmet, our motivation falls. They are:
1. Autonomy (Primary)
Ability to make our own choices. Extrinsic rewards that aim to boost intrinsically motivated behavior will undermine autonomy and so frustrate motivation
2. Competence
Control over outcomes, experience, mastery, self-confidence. Unexpected feedback has a direct impact on intrinsic motivation.
3. Relatedness
Interaction, caring, security of relationships

Compare this with our videos on the work of:
Clayton Alderfer: https://youtu.be/a01zosRYGnk
David McClelland: https://youtu.be/jxNhGE3gPcA

Our Intrinsic motivation for autonomy and competence needs a sense of security. That arises from relatedness. Without a nurturing environment, we can’t feel safe in asserting autonomy – though we may do so as a form of control-taking to combat uncertainty or even fear.

We find extrinsic motivators effective only when they don’t rob us of our sense of autonomy. We are only comfortable with external regulation when we are secure in our social relationships. Otherwise, we feel it as controlling

Also review our next video: Daniel Pink & Motivation 3.0 https://youtu.be/5A5vxXwv92Q

1. Think about your own experiences. When have well-intentioned attempts to offer extrinsic motivation had little or no effect – or maybe an adverse effect – on your motivation? (2 MC CPD Points)
2. Think about how you motivate your team. To what extent are you providing rich opportunities for autonomy, competence, and relatedness? What else can you do to use the principles of Self Determination Theory to improve motivation of your team? (4 MC CPD Points)

Free Resources
CPD Tools: https://gum.co/MC-CPD
Paid resources
Management Courses Onboarding Kit: https://gum.co/MC-ObK ($3)

Why do We do what We do: Understanding Self Motivation (Edward Deci) https://geni.us/KrBjgvY
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us https://geni.us/uq3EBO

For a solid introduction to motivation:
HBR Guide to Motivating People https://geni.us/sO2IKgn

The best of modern thinking on motivation, in accessible business books. These are all modern classics:
– Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action https://geni.us/vjErAN
– Lead, Motivate, Engage: How to INSPIRE Your Team to Win at Work https://geni.us/ABkZEx
– Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smart https://geni.us/E39I
– Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations https://geni.us/uMaP
– The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work https://geni.us/tiEkeH

Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
You can record your Management Courses CPD points on our free downloadable CPD record log.
Download it at https://gum.co/MC-CPD

Each video has two levels of MC CPD points. For this video:
– If you simply watched the video, record 3 MC CPD points
– If you also carried out all of the recommended exercises, score a total of 9 MC CPD points

Links to our book recommendations are affiliated through Amazon


What Motivates People? The Top Motivation Models [Compilation]
What is Software as a Service, SaaS? …and PaaS …and IaaS
Sollution Selling: Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling
What is the Triple Bottom Line?
What is the Sales Funnel?
NLP Time Line Therapy: What are Time Lines?
Social Awareness: What is it and How to Build it
Self Motivation: What is it and How to Build it
Self Regulation: What is it and How to Build It
Self Awareness: What is it and How to Build it
What is a USP? A Unique Selling Proposition
Seth Godin: What are Tribes?
What is 360-Degree Feedback? And a 4-step Process.
What is the Starfish Model for Giving Feedback?
Porter & Lawler: Expectancy Theory on Steroids
Edward Lawler: Vroom Enhanced with Two Types of Expectancy
William Ouchi: Theory Z Organizations and Motivation
French and Raven: Social Power Bases in Organizations
Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company
Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization
Accelerate Team Development with Swift Trust
The Tuckman Model – Tuckman Team Development Model
What is a Team?
The Psychology of Motivation: Understand the Basics
Basics of Motivation: Building Morale in your Team
Basics of Motivation: Incentives – do they work?
Hackman and Oldham: Job Characteristics Model of Motivation
Work Orientation Theory: John Goldthorpe and How Attitudes affect Motivation
Edwin Locke: Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation
Daniel Pink and Motivation 3.0 – Content Models of Motivation
Chris Argyris and the Immaturity-Maturity Model of Motivation: Treat People as Adults
Rensis Likert and High Producing Managers – Process Models of Motivation
David McClelland and Three Motivational Needs – Content Theories of Motivation
Clayton Alderfer and ERG Theory – Content Models of Motivation
Frederick Herzberg and the Two-factor Theory – Content Models of Motivation
Abraham Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs – Content Model of Motivation
Douglas McGregor and Theory X & Theory Y: Process of Model of Motivation
John Stacy Adams and Equity Theory: Process of Model of Motivation
Victor Vroom and Expectancy Theory: Process of Model of Motivation
Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne Experiment: Process of Model of Motivation
The Trust Equation – Gravitas needs Trust
The Fundamentals of Motivation – Motives, Drives, and being Blocked
Introduction to Motivation: Key Questions Answered

Mike Clayton

About Mike Clayton 

Dr Mike Clayton is a (former) Project Manager and now a management educator. Having trained thousands of people at live workshops, seminars, and conferences, he now delivers training mainly via video. He has 14 books with international publishers and runs two successful YouTube channels. He is also the founder of OnlinePMCourses.com

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