Previous studies that investigated the employees’ motivations in their workplace environments have often relied on the SDT to explore the relationship between the employees’ extrinsic and intrinsic motivations [12
]. These contributions suggested that whilst intrinsic motivations would lead individuals to engage in activities because they are interesting and satisfying, extrinsic motivations would necessitate external goals to entice them to pursue certain behaviors. Many employers strive in their endeavors to motivate their employees to improve their performance and productivity [32
]. They may use different approaches including extrinsic motivations to internalize organizational behaviors in their members of staff [34
]. Some academic commentators argued that the individuals’ intrinsic motivations may decrease if they perceive that external contingencies such as incentives and rewards are being used to entice them to engage in certain activities or to do them well [35
]. Employees are usually coerced to follow their employers’ desired behaviors in workplace organizations [26
]. However, their actions can also be triggered by personal interests and desires. In this case, it is likely that they will enjoy doing them [38
2.1. Intrinsic Motivations
SDT presumes that individuals are determined to find purpose in their personal life and to fulfill themselves by achieving goals. The persons’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are a means to influence their behaviors. SDT theorists contend that human beings are inclined to engage in persistent behaviors to enhance their self-efficacy and to satisfy their self-actualization needs [39
]. Three intrinsic needs, including competence, autonomy and relatedness can motivate persons to initiate self-determined behaviors [12
]. These psychological, innate needs are required for their emotional health and well-being [9
]. Therefore, individuals rely on each other, as they can develop in a social context. Of course, individuals have different traits, characteristics, values and beliefs. Some persons may develop stronger intrinsic needs than others.
In a similar vein, the cognitive evaluation theory (CET) seeks to explain how social and environmental factors could facilitate or hinder intrinsic motivations [40
]. Similar to SDT, CET can be used to investigate the individuals’ needs of competence, autonomy and relatedness [15
]. In fact, it is considered as a sub theory of SDT, as it explains the effects of external consequences on internal motivations [41
]. Both theories were often used explore the employees’ motivations and performance in their workplace environment [28
Employees are usually frustrated if they believe that they have a lower locus of control to perform the task [34
]. Their autonomy may be undermined if they perceive that they are controlled by tangible, motivational factors [11
]. Therefore, employees are self-determined when they feel autonomous and competent [39
]. For this to happen, they require the support of their colleagues. CET suggests that the relatedness construct provides a sense of security, thereby contributing to increase the individuals’ intrinsic motivations [15
]. Moreover, according to SDT, positive reinforcement, praise and rewards would motivate employees to engage in desired behaviors, whilst fulfilling their needs for competence. Collaborative working climates that promote supportive behaviors and relatedness [15
] would facilitate the internalization of the organizations’ shared values, beliefs and norms of behavior. The interdependence of employees can influence collective behaviors and can affect how they interact with each other, with customers and with other stakeholders [46
]. An organizational culture that fosters relatedness among workgroups, flexibility and innovation will increase their employees’ motivations [15
The employees’ basic needs for relatedness, competence and autonomy are linked with their intrinsic motivations, including morale and job satisfaction [15
]. Their intrinsic motivations are driven by the emotions that emerge while they are engaging in specific activities on their job. These inherent motivations can have a positive effect on their work outcomes [49
]. They will lead them to engage in productive behaviors, if they enjoy doing their job [14
]. Hence, their organizational performance is an outcome of the employees’ subjective feeling of well-being. This leads to the first hypothesis.
Hypothesis 1 (H1).
Intrinsic motivation is a positive and significant antecedent of organizational performance in workplace environments.
2.2. Extrinsic Motivations
There are different types of intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivations. Extrinsic motivations comprise externally regulated behaviors, introjected regulations of behavior, regulations through identification as well as integrated regulations. These external motivations can usually have a negative effect on the individuals’ intrinsic motivations [35
]. Many researchers contended that if employees are incentivized to perform organizational tasks, they will create the perception among them that their motivation is primarily triggered by extrinsic rewards. The employees’ motivations may shift to extrinsic factors and undermine their pre-existing, intrinsic motivations [37
Arguably, this may not always be the case. It may appear that intrinsic and extrinsic motivations represent opposite poles of the same dimension or, rather, distinct, independent dimensions of motivation [52
]. The external rewards or incentives may not necessarily reduce their intrinsic motivations. Although there may be situations where extrinsic motivations are perceived as controlling and coercive, people can differ in their propensity to perceive situations as controlling [36
]. Individuals may internalize extrinsic regulations when they feel secure and cared for. The internalization of extrinsic motivation is also linked to their feelings of competence in carrying out their jobs. The employees’ autonomy is particularly important when trying to integrate external motivations and regulations into their sense of self [10
]. However, to integrate employers’ regulations they should be knowledgeable about their extrinsic goals [54
Therefore, the individuals’ competence, sense of relatedness and autonomy can help them internalize extrinsic regulations into intrinsic motivations and personal behaviors. Their identified motivations are often felt to be caused by themselves [35
]. Hence, they are considered as autonomous forms of external motivations that are driven by their own values, goals and experiences [56
]. Individuals may be intrigued to perform certain activities not because they find them interesting and enjoyable, but because they perceive their utilitarian value or meaning [35
]. However, the extrinsic goals, rewards, regulations and associated cues (that are external) can influence their self-evaluations [54
]. As a result, they may be willing to engage in activities that would enable them to achieve goals that are self-defining and that can help them express their identity. Hence, their identified regulations would sustain their intrinsic motivations and their needs for psychological well-being [16
]. The identified motivations can also have a positive effect on their organizational performance [50
]. This leads to the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 2 (H2).
Identified motivation is a positive and significant antecedent of intrinsic motivation in workplace environments.
Hypothesis 2a (H2a).
Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between identified motivation and organizational performance.
The SDT theorists suggest that other external motivations are manifested when individuals replicate behaviors or follow controlled regulations to comply in expected behaviors. However, they may not necessarily accept them. Their introjection occurs when persons do not internalize the regulations as their own [15
]. The introjected motivations would entice individuals to engage in certain behaviors or to commit themselves to performing activities, because there are compelled to do so, to satisfy their self-esteem and ego enhancement. The individuals’ introjected motivations trigger behaviors that are intended to avoid guilty feelings or to demonstrate their ability of self-worthiness. Thus, the perceived locus of control and the causality of their behaviors are external to them [34
In a similar vein, it is very likely that employees would experience certain pressures from their organizations’ introjected regulations to behave in a certain manner. As a result, their actions are not self-determined. Therefore, employees are not fully accepting the said regulations as their own. Relevant studies that were focused on individuals’ introjected motivations and their effect on their performance have yielded different findings [35
]. Yet, many authors pointed out that introjected motivations and other external motivations are unstable forms of regulation, that will or will not always have an effect on intrinsic motivations [36
]. Hence, there is a possibility that introjected motivations may be internalized and accepted by employees. If it is the case, they could trigger a positive effect on their organizational performance. This leads to the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 3 (H3).
Introjected motivation is a significant and positive antecedent of intrinsic motivation in workplace environments.
Hypothesis 3a (H3a).
Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between introjected motivation and organizational performance.
The individuals’ externally regulated behaviors will usually involve incentives or rewards. External motivations are the least autonomous type of extrinsic motivations, as the individuals’ actions are completely influenced by an external locus of control [34
]. The introjected as well as the identified motivations have higher degrees of autonomy or self-determination than external motivations [15
]. Thus, external motivations are clearly manifested when the persons’ behavioral regulations have been internalized by them. Their internalization occurs when people perform tasks to obtain rewards or avoid punishments. Hence, they recognize their organizations’ regulatory structures and their values [57
Again, there were mixed findings in the academic literature that shed light on the relationship between the employees’ external regulations and their work performance [35
]. Whilst some studies suggested that external motivations such as rewards and incentives were a significant antecedent of performance, other research reported that such external regulations may not always undermine intrinsic motivations [26
]. Some researchers contended that external motivations are necessary to enhance the employees’ motivations, organizational performance and productivity levels [59
]. Very often, they held that external regulations foster dedicative performance in workplace environments. Their commitment to their job may result in an increased organizational performance. This leads to the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 4 (H4).
External motivation is a positive and significant antecedent of intrinsic motivation in workplace environments.
Hypothesis 4a (H4a).
Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between external motivation and organizational performance.
2.3. Job Security
The employees could be motivated to increase their job productivity in exchange for higher salaries and for further recognition from their employer [60
]. Conversely, deteriorating working conditions and job insecurity can lead to worsened employees’ attitudes and behaviors [21
]. Those employees who are experiencing job insecurity ought to safeguard their employment while they are carrying out their usual duties and responsibilities.
The job security can be defined as the employees’ psychological state relating to their expectations about job continuity in their foreseeable future [61
]. Most researchers treat job security as a subjective, perceptual variable that is based on environmental cues [62
]. The employees who are working for the same organization, who have the same job, will usually experience different levels of job security [62
]. They may perceive that their job is insecure due to internal pressures such as organizational restructuring, reduced conditions of employment and/or since they are engaged on a temporary basis or on a short-term contract. Alternatively, external factors such as political, economic and/or social forces can also present possible risks to the employees’ jobs. No matter the source, job insecurity represents a substantial threat to the individuals’ intrinsic motivations [22
The employees’ psychological contract is based on their working conditions and on their ongoing relationships with their employer. Hence, their job security relies on their continuous engagement, mutual trust and agreement from the part of both sides of the employer and the employee [64
]. When employees perceive that their job is in peril, they may not engage in altruistic behaviors [62
]. If they perceive low levels of job security, they tend to be less productive in their workplace environment [23
]. Their low levels of job security (or job insecurity) can have a negative impact on their psychological well-being and work behaviors [65
]. Several researchers reported that job insecurity can lead to negative attitudes and adverse behavioral effects in workplace environments [66
Employees find it difficult to remain motivated if they perceive the risk of losing their job and their economic well-being. Their job insecurity would affect their attitudes and intrinsic motivations because they feel their loss of autonomy whilst they are grappling to preserve their jobs [10
]. The employers should not undermine their employees’ sense of autonomy [22
]. They went on to suggest that employees ought to be assured of their job security. Their perceived job security can have a positive impact on their intrinsic motivations and organizational performance. This argumentation leads to the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 5 (H5).
Job security is a positive and significant antecedent of intrinsic motivation in workplace environments.
Hypothesis 5a (H5a).
Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between job security and organizational performance.
2.4. The Employers’ Social Responsibilities
The employees may perceive that their job is secure if their employer is responsive to their needs [67
]. There are different views on the social responsibility of the businesses. Whilst the supporters of the shareholder theory contend that the responsibility of the business is to increase profits [68
], other commentators argue that profitability and responsibility are compatible [69
]. Businesses are capable of implementing responsible behaviors, as they pursue profit-making activities. Their economic responsibility is to provide a decent return on investment to owners and shareholders; to create jobs and fair pay for their employees; to discover new resources; to promote technological advancement and innovation, and to create new products and services, along with its other objectives [70
]. Therefore, a firm’s first responsibility is to earn a profit and to ensure its survival, its sustainable growth and competitive advantage [71
Successful businesses are in a position to allocate discretionary resources to CSR, provide training and development opportunities to their workforce, to enhance their skills and competences [73
]. Organizations can encourage certain behaviors if their members are emotionally attached to them [75
]. Employees are motivated to work for firms if their values and ethics reflect their self-concept. This argumentation is also consistent with the social identity theory [76
]. The employees’ perceptions of their companies and of their behaviors can have a major impact on their commitment on the job [58
]. Many commentators maintained that laudable CSR behaviors may result in positive outcomes, including increased employee motivations [78
], job satisfaction [80
], trust [82
], employee retention [84
], employee loyalty [86
], and improved organizational performance in workplace environments [32
The employees will satisfy their psychological needs of belongingness with fair and trustworthy businesses who engage in CSR activities [79
]. Their employers’ CSR behaviors would have an effect on their intrinsic motivations, as they feel satisfied in their workplace environment [90
]. They may perceive that their employers challenge them and encourage their self-expression. Hence, CSR may also enhance the employees’ productivity and creativity [78
]. This reasoning leads to the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 6 (H6).
The employees’ perceptions about their firms’ social responsibility is a positive and significant antecedent of their intrinsic motivation in workplace environments.
Hypothesis 6a (H6a).
Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between the employees’ perceptions of their firms’ social responsibility and organizational performance.
illustrates the research model of this empirical study.