Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Morse, David T.

Committee Member

Young, J. Scott

Committee Member

Morse, Linda W.

Committee Member

Elder, Anastasia

Committee Member

Jacquin, Kristine

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education


The role of motivation and its relationship with desired outcomes has been studied in a variety of contexts as evidenced in the literature. Motivation, its origin, type, and its effect, has been theorized to range from non-existent to the main driving force behind all behavior. Self-determination theory, a more recent motivational theory, posits that motivation is a driving force of behavior; however, the amount of control one has to perform freely a given task determines whether this motivation is internally (autonomously) generated or externally (controlled) generated. The idea of motivation affecting outcomes is clearly evidenced in research geared toward finding the role of motivation on satisfaction of a given job, task, or assignment. This research reviewed studies that focused on motivation and its role on job satisfaction. A theoretical thread was postulated that intrinsic motivation is as good as, if not better in most instances, than extrinsic motivation in determining job satisfaction. Also, job satisfaction leads to greater lengths of tenure in a given job. Both of these statements were affirmed from a review of the literature. However, one question remains: what type of intrinsic motivation factors best correlate to job satisfaction (and its potential effect of improving tenure)? Therefore, the overall objective of this study is to determine whether various forms of intrinsic motivation correlate with an employee’s satisfaction with their job or career. The study was conducted using a survey method that incorporated the participation of 172 participants from two very similar psychiatric hospitals in the southeastern United States. Multiple linear regression was used to determine if any relationship existed between three intrinsic motivation factors (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) and job satisfaction. The results of this study suggest that positive relationships do exist between that of autonomy and relatedness intrinsic motivation factors and job satisfaction scores. The combined predictor factors (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) yielded an R2 = .145, indicating that almost 15% of the total job satisfaction scores can be explained by these three variables. Additional, exploratory regression analyses were conducted using experimental statements and selected demographic information. Conclusions and recommendations for future research are also given.