The predictive power of approach and autonomous goal motivation for work engagement among public sector employees

The predictive power of approach and autonomous goal motivation for work engagement among public sector employees

Christian Ehrlich

Oxford Brookes University, UK

This paper compares the relative predictive power of approach goal motivation and autonomous goal motivation for work engagement among public sector employees. To do so, it employs the goal-striving reasons framework within which people’s approach goal motivation is measured as well as the self-concordance theory which measures people’s autonomous goal motivation. Findings are based on cross-sectional and longitudinal data of 132 public service employees at time 1 and 78 employees at time 2. Overall, the results show, using multiple regression analysis, that approach goal motivation significantly predicts work engagement whereas autonomous goal motivation is not a significant predictor of work engagement. On an individual goal-reason level, a similar picture emerges. Pleasure and altruism, the two approaching goal-striving reasons, are descriptively more strongly correlated with work engagement than their comparable self-concordance reason of intrinsic and identified goal motivation. When testing the predictive power of pleasure and altruism with intrinsic and identified goal motivation simultaneously, using multiple regression analysis, pleasure remains the only significant predictor of work engagement at time one and time two. The findings suggest that approach motivation is a stronger predictor of work engagement than autonomous goal motivation for public sector employees. Additionally, the findings also indicate that pleasure is more important for the work engagement of public sector employees than their altruistic goal motivation on an individual goal-reason level.

Keywords: goal-striving reasons framework, self-concordance, work engagement, public sector employees.

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How to cite this article:
Christian Ehrlich. The predictive power of approach and autonomous goal motivation for work engagement among public sector employees . International Journal of Psychological Research and Reviews, 2021, 4:49. DOI: 10.28933/ijprr-2021-03-3105


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