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Capturing autonomy, competence, and relatedness at work: Construction and initial validation of the Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale

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Abstract

The satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, as defined in Self-Determination Theory, has been identified as an important predictor of individuals' optimal functioning in various life domains. The study of work-related need satisfaction seems, however, hampered by the lack of a validated measure. To assist future research, the present study aimed to develop and validate a Work-related Basic Need Satisfaction scale (W-BNS). Using four Dutch-speaking samples, evidence was found for the three-factor structure of the scale, the discriminant validity, and the reliability of the three need satisfaction subscales as well as their criterion-related and predictive validity. The W-BNS may therefore be considered as a promising tool for future research and practice.
Capturing autonomy, competence, and
relatedness at work: Construction and initial
validation of the Work-related Basic Need
Satisfaction scale
Anja Vanden Broeck
1
*, Maarten Vansteenkiste
2
,Hans De Witte
1
,
BartSoenens
2
and Willy Lens
1
1
University of Leuven, Belgium
2
Ghent University,Belgium
The satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence,and
relatedness, as defined in Self-Determination Theory, has been identified as an important
predictor of individuals’ optimal functioning in various life domains. The study of
work-related need satisfaction seems, however,hampered by the lack of avalidated
measure. To assist futureresearch, the present study aimed to develop and validate
aWork-related Basic Need Satisfaction scale (W-BNS). Using four Dutch-speaking
samples, evidence was found for the three-factor structure of the scale,the discriminant
validity,and the reliability of the three need satisfaction subscales as well as their
criterion-related and predictive validity.The W-BNS maytherefore be consideredasa
promising tool for futureresearch and practice.
Various scholars have suggested that needs are the fundamentaldeterminants of
human behaviour (Latham &Pinder,2005).Maslow (1943), forinstance, defined
fivehierarchicallyordered needs ranging from physiologicalsustainabilityto
self-actualization.McClelland(1965) formulated, amongothers,the needs for
achievement, affiliation, and power.Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci&Ryan,
2000; Vansteenkiste, Ryan,&Deci, 2008)postulates three innatepsychological needs,
which have to be satisfied forindividuals to flourish, that is, the needs forautonomy
(i.e., experiencing asense of volition and psychological freedom), competence
(i.e., feeling effective), and relatedness (i.e., feeling loved and caredfor).
The empirical literature attesting to the beneficial effects of needsatisfaction as
defined in SDT is growing exponentially,bothingeneral and in specificlife-domains
(Deci &Ryan, 2008). The coherent development of the literature of work-related need
*Correspondence should be addressedtoAnja Vanden Broeck,University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
(e-mail: anja.vandenbroeck@psy.kuleuven.be).
The
British
Psychological
Society
981
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology(2010), 83, 981–1002
q2010 The British Psychological Society
www.bpsjournals.co.uk
DOI:10.1348/096317909X481382
satisfaction seems,however,tobehampered by the lack of aspecific validated measure,
leading to the reliance on ad hoc scales (e.g., Roca &Gagne´,2008). Using four different
samples,weaim to develop and validateawork-related basic need satisfaction measure,
which might foster the study of need satisfaction in the workplace.
Basic psychologicalneed satisfaction in SDT
Conceptualization
In SDT,basic psychological need satisfaction is assumed to represent the underlying
motivational mechanism that energizesand directspeople’sbehaviour (Deci&Ryan,
2000).Psychological need satisfaction is regarded as the essential nutriment for
individuals’ optimal functioning and well-being, as water,minerals, and sunshine are
essential forplants to bloom (Deci &Ryan,2000; Ryan, 1995). In SDT,threebasic needs
are distinguished: the needs forautonomy,competence, and relatedness.
First, the need forautonomy represents individuals’inherent desire to feel volitional
and to experience asense of choice and psychological freedom when carrying out an
activity(deCharms, 1968; Deci &Ryan, 2000).Although related, SDT’sconceptof
autonomy is somewhatdifferentfrom the conceptualizations of autonomy typicallyheld
in organizational psychology (e.g., Morgeson&Humphrey, 2006). Karasek (1979), for
instance, equated autonomy with decision latitudeand control over skill utilization.
Hackman and Oldham (1976) defined autonomy in terms of ‘substantial freedom,
independence and discretion to the individual in scheduling the workand in
determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out’ (p. 258). First, unlike SDT
which referstothe subjective experience of psychological freedomand choice during
activityengagement, these definitions refer to autonomy as atask characteristic. Second,
although autonomy as atask characteristic is likely to contribute to feelings of
psychological freedom, people might also experience autonomy satisfaction whenthey
dependonothersand even when theyfollow others’ requests. Employees might,for
instance, follow-up arequestfrom their supervisor (and thus fail to be independent)
but nonethelessact willingly because their supervisor provided themameaningful
rationalefor doing so (Soenens et al.,2007).
Second, the need forcompetence is defined as individuals’ inherent desire to feel
effectiveininteracting with the environment (Deci &Ryan,2000; White, 1959). It is
prominent in the propensity to explore and manipulate the environment and to engage
in challenging tasks to test and extend one’sskills.Competence satisfaction allows
individuals to adapt to complexand changingenvironments,whereas competence
frustration is likely to result in helplessness and alack of motivation (Deci &Ryan,
2000).The needfor competence is ratheruncontroversial in organizational psychology.
Similar constructs figure in Vroom’s (1964) Expectancy-Value Theoryand Bandura’s
(1997)Self-Efficacy Theory, although some differences deservebeing mentioned.
Specifically,outcome expectancies and self-efficacyrepresent acquired cognitions with
respect to one’scapacities to successfully accomplish specific future tasks. These
aspects are therefore positivelyvalued as far as theyhelpone in reaching desired goals.
The need forcompetence, on the other hand,represents an inborn need. Competence
satisfaction refers to amoregeneral,affective experience of effectiveness which results
from mastering atask.Despite these conceptual differences between self-efficacy and
the need forcompetence, both are likely to be correlated at the empirical level.
Finally, the need forrelatednessisdefined as individuals’inherent propensity to
feel connected to others, that is, to be amember of agroup, to love and care and be
982 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
loved and cared for(Baumeister &Leary, 1995). The need forrelatednessissatisfied
when people experience asense of communion and develop close and intimate
relationships with others(Deci&Ryan,2000).The assumption that individuals have the
natural tendency to integrate themselves in the social matrix and benefit from being
cared forisequally emphasized in developmental approaches such as Attachment
Theory(Bowlby,1969). It is consistent with concepts in organizational psychology
such as social support(Viswesvaran, Sanchez, &Fisher, 1999)and lonelinessatwork
(Wright, Burt, &Strongman, 2006).
Characteristics of the basic psychological needs
The SDT view on the basic psychological needs differs in several ways from other
well-known needperspectives (e.g., Maslow,1943; McClelland, 1965). First, Maslow
considershuman needs to be hierarchically ordered:higher orderneeds only become
prominent when lower order needs are sufficiently satisfied. In contrast, SDT does not
postulate aparticular order in which the three needs have to be met. Instead, all three
needs are considered important forindividuals’flourishing. Second, McClelland
considersneeds to be acquired through learning or socialization: individuals who are
lauded afterachieving aparticular goal learntoattach positive feelings to achievement
situations and,asaresult, develop astrong need forachievement (Winterbottom, 1959).
Rather than learned, SDT considersthe basic psychological needs to be innate,
fundamentalpropensities,much like biological needs (Deci &Ryan, 2000).SDT herein
alignswith Baumeister and Leary(1995) and White (1959).Although individuals from
different agegroups and different culturesmay express and satisfy their basic
psychological needs in differentways, everybody is thuslikely to benefit from having
the basic psychological needs satisfied. In line with this claim,various studies have
provided evidence forthe importance of need satisfaction in various agegroups
(e.g., Soenens et al.,2007) and in culturally very diverse samples (e.g., Deci et al.,2001;
Vansteenkiste, Lens, Soenens, &Luyckx, 2006).
Third, as McClelland focusesupon differences in need strength or the importance
individuals attach to particular needs, he assumes, forinstance,that individuals with a
high need forachievement are morestrongly motivated in achievement situations
compared to individuals with alow need forachievement. In contrast, SDT does not
focus upon individual differences in needstrength, but considersthe degree to which
people are able to satisfy their fundamental needs as the most important predictor
foroptimal functioning (Deci &Ryan,2000). Consequently,SDT maintains that, for
instance, positivelyperceived feedback is beneficial forall employees as it satisfies their
inbornneedfor competence (Mouratidis, Vansteenkiste, Lens, &Sideridis, 2008).
Finally, both Maslow and McClelland adopt adeficit approach towardsneeds.
According to Maslow,particular needs becomelesspotent when theyare reasonably
well gratified. Similarly,McClelland assumes that aparticular need drives behaviouruntil
sufficient need satisfaction is reached. Then, the behaviour is stopped until the need
becomes salient again.For instance, people with ahigh need foraffiliationwill search
forwarmsocial contacts. Once such contact has taken place, the need is temporarily
reduced and the behaviour wanes. According to SDT,individuals do not need to
experience adeficit forthe needs to fuel behaviour. Rather,individuals are attracted to
situations in which need satisfaction mayoccur.Once their needs are satisfied, theyare
likely to feel energized and to activelyengageinsubsequent need fulfilling activities
(Deci &Ryan,2000).
Need satisfaction at work 983
SDT’sempirical basis
Consistent with SDT,several studies have shown positive relations between need
satisfaction and optimal functioning, both at the interpersonal and intra-individual level
(e.g., Mouratidis et al.,2008; Reis, Sheldon, Gable, Roscoe, &Ryan, 2000) and in general
(Sheldon, Elliot, Kim, &Kasser,2001) as well as acrossdifferentlife-domains (see Deci &
Ryan,2008, foranoverview). In the context of work, initial evidence was found for
positive relations between acomposite score of need satisfaction (i.e., aggregated across
the three needs) and employees’ work-related well-being (i.e., job satisfaction, work
engagement, and lower burnout), favourable attitudes (i.e., decreased turnover-
intentions, increased readiness to change), and higher performance (seeGagne´&Deci,
2005; Vanden Broeck, Vansteenkiste, &DeWitte, 2008, foroverviews). Work-related
need satisfaction has furthermore been related to increased general well-being and
to less ill-being (e.g., Baard, Deci, &Ryan,2004). Finally, studies in which the three
needs wereexamined separately showed that each of the three needs correlated
positivelywith employees’ optimal functioning (e.g., Lynch, Plant, &Ryan, 2005),
which is consistent with SDT’sclaim that the satisfaction of each of the three basic
needs contributes to individuals’flourishing (Deci &Ryan,2000).
Satisfaction of the three needs may,however,relate differently to controlled
motivation. According to SDT,controlled motivationresults from experiencing external
(i.e., abonus, supervisoryapproval) or internal (i.e., guilt, shame) contingenciesto
conduct aparticular behaviour.Itiscontrasted with autonomousmotivation, which is
prominent when employees engageinanactivitybecause theyconsider it personally
valuable or intrinsicallyinteresting (Deci &Ryan,2000). Autonomous motivation corre-
lates positivelywith, forinstance, work-related well-being and optimal performance
as it is conducive to the satisfaction of the three basic needs (Gagne
´&Deci, 2005;
Vanden Broeck, Vansteenkiste, &DeWitte, 2008).When employees feel controlled, in
contrast, their need forautonomy is clearly forestalled (Deci &Ryan,2000). Employees,
who are, forinstance,forced to meet adeadline, will experience littlevolition in
executing the task. Despite this pressure, theymight, however,manage to satisfy their
needs forcompetenceand relatedness by accomplishing the assigned task or by
receiving social supportfrom others. Such satisfaction is, however,not guaranteed as
feeling pressured to engageinaworkactivity is not necessarily accompanied by feelings
of effectiveness and interpersonal connection (Markland &Tobin, 2010).
Apartfrom relatingtoemployees’ optimal functioning, basic need satisfaction is also
useful to understand the motivating impact of supervisors’ leadership styles (e.g., Deci
et al.,2001) and job characteristics (Van den Broeck, Vansteenkiste, &DeWitte, 2008),
and their relationships with employees’ well-being and performance.
Present research
Clearly,the construct of basic need satisfaction maybeuseful to gain insight in
employees’ functioning and to examinethe motivational potential of organizational
factors.Inthis promising body of research, however,different ad hocinstruments have
been used.Examples are the basic need satisfaction at work scale (Baard et al.,2004;
Deci et al.,2001; Vansteenkiste et al.,2007) and the workmotivation scale (Ilardi,
Leone, Kasser,&Ryan, 1993; Kasser,Davey,&Ryan, 1992). This might hamper the
coherent and cumulative development of this line of researchfor various reasons.First,
the scales used thus far have not been formally validated. Second, these scales
sometimes contain items that do not tap into the satisfaction of the basic needs as such.
984 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
For instance,the basic need satisfaction at work scale includes items which refer to job
characteristics such as social support (e.g., ‘People at work tell me Iamgoodatwhat I
do’), which may represent an antecedent of basic need satisfaction rather than the
experience of need satisfaction perse .Alternatively, the workmotivationscale assesses
potential consequencesofbasic need satisfaction such as intrinsicmotivation (e.g.,
‘How much do you enjoy your work’). Third, little researchhas been conducted to gain
insightinthe role of need frustration. Thisisanimportant issue in light of previous
critical accounts suggesting that SDT is exclusivelyconcernedwith human flourishing
(Pyszczynski,Greenberg, &Solomon, 2000). It is furthermore important to examine
whetherneedsatisfaction and need frustration fall along one single bipolarcontinuum
or rather represent two separate constructs. The latter possibility may be suggested
based on the researchonthe distinction between pleasureand displeasure (Barrett,
Mesquita, Ochsner,&Gross, 2007; Watson &Tellegen,1985)and the workbyHerzberg
(1968), whoconsidered satisfaction and dissatisfactioninthe workplace as two
fundamentallydifferentprocesses with differentantecedents and consequences.
To account forthe limitations of currently available scales,this study aims to develop
aWork-related Basic Need Satisfaction scale (W-BNS) and providefirstevidence forits
validitybyexamining the Dutch version. To this end, the following stepswere taken
(DeVellis,2003; Hinkin, 1998).InPhase 1, alargeitem poolwas generated. In Phase 2, a
final set of items was selected based on item analysis, exploratoryfactor analysis (EFA),
and item–total correlations. In Phase 3, confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA)was used to
furthervalidate the factor structure of the scale and to examine the discriminant validity
of the differentneeds. In Phase 4, other psychometric properties of the scale were
examined, such as the scale’sinternal consistency reliability and the degree to which
method-effects confound this self-reportmeasure. Specifically,weexamined the role of
impression management, that is, individuals’ tendency to create and maintain desired
perceptions of themselves (Paulhus,1991), as impression management has been
identifiedasapotential confound in self-report researchinorganizational psychology
(e.g., Ferris, Brown, Berry,&Lian, 2008).
Finally, in Phase 5, we examined the discriminant, criterion-related,and predictive
validityofthe W-BNS. To this end, we first examined whether the W-BNS related to
environmentalfactors.Inline with previousstudies (e.g., Va nden Broeck,
Vansteenkiste, De Witte, &Lens, 2008),weexaminedthe associations between work-
related needsatisfaction and job resources as job resources are considered to yield a
strong motivational impact (Bakker &Demerouti, 2007).Specifically,weexpected
positive associations between need satisfaction and task autonomy,skill utilization, and
social support(Karasek, 1979).Noprevious studies have examined unique associations
of the threeneeds with these job resources. Nevertheless, based on conceptual grounds,
we hypothesized that task autonomy is moreclosely related to autonomy satisfaction
than to the satisfaction of the otherneeds (Hypothesis 1a), whereas skill utilization and
social supportrelate most strongly to the competence (Hypothesis 1b) and relatedness
satisfaction (Hypothesis 1c), respectively.
In line with SDT and previous work, we furthermore examined the associations
between need satisfaction and employees’ optimal functioning in terms of job
satisfaction, workengagement, burnout,life satisfaction, organizational commitment,
and performance to assess the criterion-related validityofthe scale. Specifically,the
three needs were expected to relate positivelytojob satisfaction and workengagement
(Hypotheses 2a and 2b) and negatively to burnout (Hypothesis 2c), as need satisfaction
is considered to relate positively to both hedonicand eudaimonic well-being
Need satisfaction at work 985
(Ryan, Huta,&Deci, 2008) and negativelytoill-being (Ryan &Deci, 2000). Work-related
need satisfaction was also hypothesized to relate positivelytogeneral well-being
as indexed by life-satisfaction (Hypothesis2d). This correlation may,however,be
less strong than the correlations with the aforementioned aspects of domain specific
well-being as domain-specificmeasures of need satisfaction are theorizedtorelate more
strongly to domain specific, relative to general, indicatorsofoptimal functioning
(Vallerand, 1997). Further,work-related need satisfaction was expected to relate
positivelytoorganizational commitment (Hypothesis2e) as SDT maintains that
individuals are more attracted to situations where their needs have been satisfied
(Greguras &Diefendorff, 2009). Specifically,weexamined affective organizational
commitment as this may be considered the main component of organizational
commitment, which is most predictive of, forinstance, job satisfaction and positive
affect,and is strongly influenced by organizational aspects such as leadership and job
characteristics (Allen&Meyer,1990). Finally, in line with the assumption that need
satisfaction also influences behaviour(Baard et al.,2004), need satisfaction was
hypothesized to relate positivelytoperformance (Hypothesis 2f). Furthermore, all three
needs were expected to relate positivelytoemployees’ autonomous motivation
(Hypothesis3a).Divergent relationshipsmay,however,emergefor controlled
motivation (Deci &Ryan,2000). Specifically, the need forautonomy was hypothesized
to be forestalled by controlled motivation, while this would not necessarily be the case
forthe needs forcompetence and relatedness (Hypothesis 3b).
FinallyinPhase 5, we examined the potential of the W-BNS to predict an objective,
outcome over time, that is, actual turnover.Asmentioned, SDT maintains that
individuals feel naturally attracted to and will becomecommitted to situations in which
their needs are satisfied.Conversely,needfrustration might promptemployees to leave
the organization. In line with this, acomposite score of need satisfaction (Vansteenkiste
et al.,2007) and the separate needs of competence and relatedness (Richer,Blanchard,
&Vallerand, 2002) have previously been found to relate negatively to turnover-
intentions. The present study extends this researchbyexamining whether need
satisfaction is predictive of actual turnover over aperiodof6months (Hypothesis 4).
Method
Procedure and participants
Four samples (total N¼1 ;185) were used throughout the five phases of this research:
alargeconvenience sample and threeorganization-specific samples.Sample 1was
collected by 120 undergraduate students of alargeuniversity in the Dutch-speaking part
of Belgium. As partofanintroductorycourse on quantitative research, the students
distributed five questionnairesamong friendsorrelatives with at least 3yearsofworking
experience as an employee. The questionnaires includedaletter explaining that
participation wasvoluntaryand anonymous. The completed questionnaires were either
pickedupbythe students in sealed envelopes or weredirectly sent back to the
researchersbythe participants using pre-stamped envelopes. In total, 560 complete
questionnaireswerereturned. Sample 2constituted an independent sample of 194
researchersworking at the same university in the Dutch-speaking partofBelgium. They
were recruited via an announcement in the on-line newsletter of the university.Sample
3included 170 Belgian employees of aHR-service company (response rate 30%).
Sample 4comprised 261 Dutch call centre agents (response rate 87%).The data forthe
latter two samples were collected via avoluntaryand confidential Internetsurvey,
986 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
which participants filled out during regular working hours. Information about
participants’background variables is displayed in Table 1. Table 2provides an overview
of how the samples were used throughout the fivephases, along with the variables
assessed in each sample.
Measures
Impression management
Impression management was assessed in Sample 2with the 20-item Impression
Management Scale of the BalancedInventoryofDesirable Responding (Paulhus,1991).
Participants responded to items such as ‘I sometimes tell lies if Ihave to’ (a¼:83).
Job resources
Task autonomy,skill utilization, and social supportwere measured in Samples 3and 4.
Acrossthe samples,slightly differentmeasures were used.InSample 3, task autonomy
was measured with fiveitems developed by Rosenthal,Guest,and Peccei (1996)
such as ‘I can decide formyown which task Iexecute’ ( a¼:76). Skill utilization
was assessed with two items of Va nVeldhoven and Meijman (1994) such as ‘My job
Ta ble 1. Demographic characteristics of the participants in the four samples
Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3Sample 4
N560 194 170 261
Gender
Male (%) 51 35 33 46
Female (%) 49 65 67 54
Age
Range (years) 21–63 22–54 22–60 18–58
Mean (years) 38.62 29.52 36.70 28.23
SD (years) 11.25 6.43 8.17 9.00
Education
Primaryorsecondary
education (%)
39 02941
Bachelor’sdegree(%) 44 05654
Masters’ degree(%) 17 100 15 5
Professional level
Blue collar worker (%) 17 000
Administrative personnel (%) 40 041100
Professionals (%) 20 65 35 0
Managers (%) 535240
Hours worked
Full-time (%) 77 100 73 71
Part-time (%) 23 02728
Contract
Fixed (%) 93 –9413
Te mporary(%) 7–686
Te nure
Range 1month to
37 years
3months to
31 years
1month to
39 years
1week to
7years
Mean (years) 9.50 6.52 9.78 1.24
SD (years) 9.96 6.42 10.55 1.72
Need satisfaction at work 987
requires me to be creative’ ( r¼:50). Social support was measured with five items
of Rosenthal et al. (1996) such as ‘My colleagues help me to getthings done’ (a¼:84).
In Sample 4, task autonomy was assessed with two items of Va nder Doef and Maes
(1999)such as ‘My job allowsmetomake alot of decisions on my own’ ( r¼:43). Skill
utilization was assessed with eight items of Va nder Doef and Maes (1999) such as
‘My job requires me to learnnew skills’ (a¼:76). Social support was assessed with
six items of VanVeldhoven and Meijman (1994) such as ‘I can ask my colleagues for
help’ (a¼:90).
Employees’ functioning
Job satisfaction, workengagement, burnout, life satisfaction, and affective commitment
were assessed in Samples 3and 4with the samemeasurements. Autonomous and
controlled motivation were measured in Sample 3. Turnover was available in Sample 4.
Jobsatisfactionwas measured with one face-valid item ‘How satisfiedare you, all in all,
with your job?’ Thisitem relates strongly to amulti-item assessment of job satisfaction
(Wanous, Reichers, &Hudy,1997).Work engagement was measured with the five items
forvigour of the Utrecht Work EngagementScale (Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma,
&Bakker,2002) such as ‘A tmywork, Ifeel burstingwith energy’ (aSample 3¼:91,
aSample 4¼: 90). Vigour is considered the main component of workengagement
(Gonza´ lez-Roma
´ ,Schaufeli, Bakker,&Lloret, 2006).Burnout was assessed with the five
items forexhaustion of the Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout InventoryGeneral
Survey(Schaufeli &Van Dierendonck, 2000) such as ‘I feel totally exhausted on my job’
Ta ble 2. Overview of the sample throughout the five phases
Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3Sample 4
Phase 1
Item development
Phase 2
Item selection x
Phase 3
Factor structure xxxx
Phase 4
Intercorrelations xxxx
Reliability xxxx
Method effects x
Phase 5
Criterion-related and discriminant validity
Job resources
(i.e.task autonomy, skill utilization,
social support)
xx
Well-being
(i.e.jobsatisfaction, engagement,
burnout)
xx
Organizational commitment xx
Performance xx
Motivation x
Predictivevalidity
Tu rnover x
988 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
( aSample 3¼:90, aSample 4¼:90). Exhaustion is considered the central aspect of burnout
(Maslach,Schaufeli, &Leiter,2001).Lifesatisfaction was tapped with the item ‘How
satisfied are you, all in all, with your life’. Affective organizational commitment was
measured with five items of Cook and Wall (1980).Itincludes items such as ‘I am quite
proud to be able to tell people forwhomIwork’ (aSample 3¼:83, aSample 4¼: 89). Similar
to the scale of affectiveorganizational commitment of Allen and Meyer (1990),these
items tap into workers’ feelings of pride (i.e., identification) and attachment (i.e.,
loyalty)tothe organization and their willingness to invest effort in their jobs forthe sake
of the organization (i.e., involvement; Allen &Meyer,1990).Performance was tapped
via the self-reportperformance scale of Abramis (1994) in Sample 3. Thismeasure
includes five items such as ‘How well did you achieveyour objectives during the last
week’ (a¼:90). In line with this,inSample 4, respondents rated their performance on
eight self-reportitems such as ‘Towhat extent didyou take careofthe quality of your
calls’ ( a¼:83).These items were developed in collaboration with the HR managerto
assess job specific performance.
Autonomous and controlled motivation
Autonomous and controlled motivation were measured with 16 self-constructeditems,
which were inspired by the self-regulatoryscales of Ryan and Connell (1989) and
Vansteenkiste, Sierens,Soenens, Luyckx, and Lens (2009).Theseitems tapped
employees’ motivation to put effort in their jobs out of external (e.g., ‘Because others
put pressure on me to do so’) or internal (e.g., ‘Because Iwill feel bad aboutmyself
otherwise’) pressure or because theyfind their jobpersonally important (e.g., ‘Because
puttingefforts in my job alignswith my personal values’)orinteresting and enjoyable
(e.g., ‘Because Ienjoy this workverymuch’). Consistent with previous research
(e.g., Vansteenkiste, Lens, Dewitte, De Witte, &Deci, 2004), items referring to external
and internal pressure were grouped as controlled motivation (a¼:70), whereas the
items regarding personal significance and enjoyment weregrouped as autonomous
motivation ( a¼: 90).
Turnover-rates
Turnover-rates were provided by the HR manager. Six months after participants had
reportedontheir need satisfaction, it was noted whether each of the participants was
still employed in the organization. By that time 31% of the participants ( N¼80) had left;
75% of these leavers(N¼60) had initiated the contract termination themselves and
were labelled as cases of self-initiated turnover.
Phase 1: Item development
To develop an item pool, we first studied the literature and available measures of need
satisfaction. Then, we selected and developed appropriate items taking the following
criteria into account. First, items needed to reflect employees’ perceptions of need
satisfaction rather than antecedent need-supportive conditions or potential conse-
quences. Second,specific worksetting terminology was avoided such that the scale
would be applicabletoall workcontexts. Finally, both positive (i.e., need satisfaction)
and negative (i.e., need frustration) items were included forthe above-mentioned
theoretical reasons as well as to avoid that an acquiescence bias (i.e., the tendency to
Need satisfaction at work 989
agree with all items; Billiet &McClendon, 2000) would contaminate participants’
answers.
All items wereformulated as declarative statements following the stem ‘The
following statements aim to tap into your personal experiences at work’. Responses
were made on afive-point Likertscale ranging from 1(totallydisagree) to 5(totally
agree). The largepool of items wasfurther reduced by the authorsand apanel of four
academic judges whowere all familiarwithSDT’s conceptualizationofbasic
psychological needs. The final item pool included 26 items: 8items forautonomy,
10 forrelatedness, and 8for competence. Before administration, these items were
randomly ordered.
Phase 2: Item selection
First, we examined item completeness and the distributions of the item scores as
indicated by the mean, median, standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis in Sample 1.
The number of missing values was low,ranging from 0to1%, and was consideredto
be random (Cohen &Cohen, 1983).The means of all items ranged from 1.58 to 4.20.
All standard deviations exceeded 0.50, being indicative of adequate variability (Stumpf,
Colarelli, &Hartman,1983). Skewness values showed that particularly the relatedness-
frustration items showed atendency forlow scores.
In anextstep,weconducted EFA(principal components analysis) using an oblique
rotation (i.e., PROMAX).The scree plot suggested that three or four factorscould be
retained (Cattell, 1966). Subsequent parallel analysis (O’Conner,2000) supported the
four-factor solution. The first three factorsclearly represented the needs forrelatedness,
competence, and autonomy,respectively. The fourth factor was more difficultto
interpret as it included one autonomy satisfaction item (i.e., ‘I feel pressured at work’)
and two competencesatisfaction items (i.e., ‘I reallyhave to makeanefforttodomyjob
well’ and ‘I sometimesthink my job is difficult’). As we aimed to reducethe total number
of items, we deletedthese threeitems leaving aset of 23 items (7 autonomy,10
relatedness, and 6competenceitems).Wefurther optimized the scale length using
corrected item-total correlations.Asshown in Appendix, all items met the cut-off
criterion of .30 (Nunnally &Bernstein, 1994). To arrive at six items per need, further
item deletion within the autonomy and relatednesssubscales was carried out via a
process of stepwise removal of the items with lower corrected item-total correlations,
therebykeeping the balance of need satisfaction and need frustration items. In the final
set of 18 items,the scales of autonomy and relatednesscontained three satisfactionand
three frustration items,while the competence scale includedfour satisfaction and two
frustration items.
The factor structureofthis final set of items was thenexamined via EFA(Table 3).
Both the scree test and parallel analysis favoured the three-factor structure, which
clearly included the needs forcompetence, relatedness, and autonomy.All items had a
minimum patternloading of j .58jon their expected factorand no cross-loadings above
j.14jemerged.
Phase 3: Factor structure
Next, we examined the factorstructureofthe need satisfaction scale and tested the
discriminant validity of the differentsubscales. To this end, aCFA was conducted, using
maximum-likelihood estimation in Lisrel 8.54 (Jo¨reskog &Srbom, 2004).Torule out
potential methodological explanations if the results of the CFAinSample 2would fail
990 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
to confirmthe earlier results obtained in the EFAinSample 1, CFAwas performed in
Sample 1aswell as in Sample 2(VanProoijen &Van Der Kloot, 2001).
In each sample, the hypothesized three-dimensionalmodel (ModelA)was
compared with three differenttwo-dimensional models in which two needs were
taken together and contrasted with the remaining need (Models B–D) and with the
one-factor model combining all three dimensions (Model E). Additionally,the three-
factormodel was compared to atwo-factor model (Model F) differentiating between
need satisfaction and need frustration items.Inaddition to these first-order factor
models, two higher order factor structureswereexamined. Specifically,inModel G,
the three needs were modelled as higherorder factorswith each of them being
represented by afirstorder needsatisfaction and need frustrationcomponent. In Model
H, need frustration and need satisfaction weremodelledashigher order factors, each
enclosing three first-order factors including either the satisfaction or the frustration
items of the needs.
As suggested by Hu and Bentler (1999), model fit was evaluated using three goodness
of fit indices: the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), the comparative fit
index(CFI), and the standardized root mean square residuals (SRMR). RMSEA below .05
in combination with SRMRvalues below .09 indicate excellentfit, whereas values below
.08 and .10, respectively, indicate good fit (Byrne, 2001). CFI cut-offvalues of .95
indicate excellent fit, whereas valuesof.90 indicate good fit (Hu &Bentler,1999).
Satorra–Bentler scaled x
2
(SBS- x
2
;Satorra &Bentler,1994) difference tests were used to
evaluate the differences in fit.Asdata screening using Prelis 2.71 (Jo¨reskog &Srbom,
2004) revealed data non-normality at the univariate and the multivariate level, in all
subsequent models, both the covariance matrix and the asymptotic covariance matrix
Ta ble 3. Pattern coefficients of the EFAonthe items of the W-BNS
Components
12 3
Idon’treallyfeel connected with other people at my job (R) .05 2.84 .09
At work,Ifeel part of agroup .05 .68 .08
Idon’treallymix with other people at my job (R) .03 2.82 .08
At work,Ican talk with people about things that really matter to me 2.03 .60 .20
Ioften feel alone when Iamwith my colleagues (R) 2.09 2.72 .06
Some people Iwork with areclose friends of mine 2.03 .72 .06
Idon’treallyfeel competent in my job (R) 2.59 .11 .08
Ireally master my tasks at my job .81 2.01 2.10
Ifeel competent at my job .85 2.01 2.05
Idoubt whether Iamable to execute my job properly (R) 2.58 2.04 2.20
Iamgood at the things Idoinmyjob .82 .04 2.01
Ihavethe feeling that Ican even accomplish the most difficult tasks at work .71 .05 .07
Ifeel likeIcan be myself at my job .14 2.12 .61
At work,Ioften feel likeIhave to follow other people’scommands (R) .09 2.07 2.85
If Icould choose,Iwould do things at work differently (R) .10 2.05 2.82
The tasks Ihavetodoatwork are in line with what Ireallywant to do .07 .01 .70
Ifeel free to do my job the wayIthink it could best be done .11 2.01 .65
In my job, Ifeel forced to do things Idonot want to do (R) .04 .11 2.64
Note.(R) Reversed item. The highest loadings areshown in bold.
Need satisfaction at work 991
Ta ble 4. Fit indices for the various measurement models of need satisfaction in Samples 1and 2
Sample Models SBS-x
2
df pRMSEA CFI SRMR Compared with DSBS-x
2
df p
Sample 1Model AAutonomyversus relatedness versus competence 247.00 132 .001 .04 .98 .05
Model BAutonomy-relatedness versus competence 672.72 134 .001 .09 .94 .07 A425.72 2.000
Model CAutonomy-competence versus relatedness 779.65 134 .001 .09 .93 .08 A532.65 2.000
Model DAutonomyversus relatedness-competence 1,234.14 134 .001 .12 .89 .10 A987.14 2.000
Model EAutonomy-relatedness-competence 1,343.70 135 .001 .13 .87 .10 A1,096.70 3.000
Model FNeed satisfaction versus need frustration 1,353.88 134 .001 .13 .88 .10 A1,106.88 2.000
Model GSecond order factors of the three needs 167.11 126 .01 .02 .99 .04
Model HSecond order factors of satisfaction versus frustration 327.74 128 .001 .05 .96 .07 G160.63 2.000
Sample 2Model AAutonomyversus relatedness versus competence 204.18 132 .001 .05 .96 .07
Model BAutonomy-relatedness versus competence 581.68 134 .001 .13 .89 .13 A377.50 2.000
Model CAutonomy-competence versus relatedness 472.93 134 .001 .11 .90 .11 A268.75 2.000
Model DAutonomyversus relatedness-competence 1,236.74 134 .001 .20 .78 .18 A1,032.56 2.000
Model EAutonomy-relatedness-competence 1,086.08 135 .001 .18 .77 .17 A881.90 3.000
Model FNeed satisfaction versus need frustration 1,086.21 134 .001 .18 .77 .17 A882.03 2.000
Model GSecond order factors of the three needs 170.51 126 .01 .04 .97 .06
Model HSecond order factors of satisfaction versus frustration 346.66 128 .001 .09 .90 .13 G176.15 2.000
992 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
were used, and the SBS-x
2
(Satorra &Bentler,1994) instead of the common x
2
was
inspected (see Table 4).
Results revealed that the three-factor solution (ModelA)fitted the data well in both
Samples 1and 2(Table 4). Moreover,significant differences in x
2
-value indicated that
Model Ayielded asuperior fit compared to any other first-order factor model in both
samples.All items had significant loadings (ranging from .50 to .85, p,:001, with
an averageloading of .67 in bothsamples)ontheir intended latent factor.Further,
as respectsthe second-order factor models, Model Gwas superior to Model H.
1
These
results indicate that the W-BNS items are most meaningfullygrouped content-wise
(i.e., in termsofthe needs forautonomy,competence,and relatedness; Model G)
rather than in terms of the distinction between the positively(i.e., satisfaction)
and negatively(i.e., frustration) worded items (Model H). In sum, the results of
the CFAfavoured the three-factor structure of the questionnaire and indicated the
distinctiveness of the subscalesfor autonomy,relatedness, and competence. The
three-factor model also yielded good fit in Sample 3, SBS-x2ð132Þ¼234:91, p,:001;
CFI ¼:93, RMSEA ¼:07; SRMR ¼:09, and Sample 4, SBS-x 2ð132Þ¼232:42, p,:001;
CFI ¼:92, RMSEA ¼:08; SRMR¼:08, which provides furtherevidence forthe scale’s
internal structure.
Phase 4: Intercorrelations,reliability,and method effects
Acrossthe four samples,the latent variables of autonomy and competencesatisfaction
correlated on average.46, autonomy and relatednesssatisfaction correlated on average
.58, andcompetence andrelatednesssatisfaction correlated on average .28.
The reliabilities of the autonomy,competence, and relatedness satisfaction scales
were on average.81, .85, and .82, respectively.
Although the scales were reliable, as the W-BNS relies on self-report, methodeffects
may contaminated the responses. To examinethis issue, we investigated whether
impression management biases the participants’ responses. Analyses were performed in
Sample 2, following the procedure outlined by Williams and Anderson (1994). First, a
baseline model was computed in which impression management does not confound the
responses on the W-BNS.Inthis model, the relations betweenthe latent variable for
impression managementand the three needswere constrainedtozero; SBS-
x 2ð662Þ¼935 :65, p,:001; RMSEA ¼:05; CFI ¼:93; and SRMR ¼:09. Second, a
confounded measurement model was inspected in which impression management was
assumedtoinfluence the responses on the W-BNS. In this model, paths wereallowed
between impression managementand the indicatorsofthe differentneeds, that is, the
18 need-items;SBS-x2ð644Þ¼913:68, p,:001; RMSEA ¼:05; CFI ¼:94; and
SRMR ¼:07. The size of the paths between impression management and each of the
items of the W-BNS ranged between .01 and .29, with an averageloading of .11. The
confounded model did not yield improved fit compared to the baseline model, D SBS-
x 2ð18Þ¼21:97, ns, which suggested that impression managementdid not significantly
confound participants’ answersonthe W-BNS.
1
The first-order factor model included in Models Gand Hyielded adequate fit in both Sample 1; SBS-
x
2ð120Þ¼132:32, ns;
CFI ¼:99, RMSEA ¼:02; SRMR ¼: 03, and Sample 2; SBS-
x
2ð120Þ¼165:74, p,:001; CFI ¼: 97, RMSEA ¼: 04;
SRMR ¼: 06. In both samples,the satisfaction and frustration components of eachofthe needs were highly related, with
correlations ranging from 2 :87 to 2 :98. Therefore,the satisfaction–frustration structure may be consideredofsecondary
importance relative to the content-based differentiation of the needs,whichisalso evident in the superiority of Model Gover
Model H.
Need satisfaction at work 993
Phase 5: Criterion-related and discriminant validity
Prior to assessing the criterion-related validityofW-BNS, it was considered important
to examinethe potential overlap betweenwork-related need satisfaction, environ-
mentalaspects, and employees’ functioning. CFA(available upon request) indicated
that four-factor models differentiating each of the three needs (first factor) from
the criterion-related variables yielded agood fit to the data, which was better
compared to the alternative three-factor models in which the criterion-related
variables were modelledasalatent factor together with one of the needs. These results
suggest that the need satisfaction measures can be distinguished from the criterion-
related variables.
The correlations betweensatisfaction of the three needs and the criterion-related
variables are presented in Table 5. The comparison of these correlations using
the procedure of Meng, Rosenthal, and Rubin(1992) learned that task autonomy
was morestrongly related to autonomy satisfaction than to satisfaction of the needs
forcompetence(zSample 3¼2: 53; zSample 4¼3 :96, p ’s ,:001) andrelatedness
( zSample 3¼5:42, p,:001; zSample 4¼2:61, p,:01). These results support Hypothesis
1a. In line with Hypothesis 1b in Sample 3, skill utilization was more strongly associated
with competencesatisfactionthanwithautonomy satisfaction (zSample 3¼2 :04,
p,:05) but was equally related to competence satisfaction and relatedness satisfaction
( zSample 3¼1:12, ns). Hypothesis 1b could thus be partially corroborated in Sample 3.
In Sample 4, skill utilization was more strongly related to autonomy ( zSample 4¼27 :04,
p,:001) and to relatedness(zSample 4¼24 :91, p,: 001) than to competence
satisfaction, to which it was unrelated.Hypothesis 1b wasthusrejected in Sample 4.
In line with Hypothesis 1c, social supportwas more strongly related to relatedness
thanautonomy(zSample 3¼3:47; zSample 4¼3:68, p ’s ,:001) andcompetence
( zSample 3¼5:28; zSample 4¼3:76, p’s ,:001) satisfaction.
Ta ble 5. Zero-order correlations between need satisfaction, job resources, and employees’ functioning
in Samples 3and 4
Need for
autonomy
Need for
competence
Need for
relatedness
Sample 3Sample 4Sample 3Sample 4Sample 3Sample 4
Job resources
1. Ta sk autonomy.45** .47** .23** .22** .02 .33**
2. Skill utilization .13 .55** .32** .10 .21** .38**
3. Social support.34** .39** .10 .33** .58** .58**
Optimal functioning
4. Job satisfaction .66** .54** .18* .15* .41** .40**
5. Vigor .54** .49** .41** .31** .38** .40**
6. Exhaustion 2.52** 2.28** 2.27** 2.26** 2.32** 2.23**
7. Life satisfaction .30** .22** .24** .16** .41** .32**
8. Organizational commitment .51** .58** .18* .18** .36** .42**
9. Performance .31** .21** .44** .35** .19* .18**
10. Autonomous motivation .59** .23** .40**
11. Controlled motivation 2.18* .00 .00
*p,:05; **p,: 01:
994 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
As expected, satisfaction of each of the three needs waspositivelyassociated with
job satisfaction (Hypothesis 2a) and vigour (Hypothesis 2b) and negativelywith
exhaustion(Hypothesis 2c). Further,inline with Hypothesis 2d, satisfaction of the
three needs was positivelyrelated to life satisfaction. As expected, the associations with
life satisfaction weresomewhatless strong than the associations with work-related
indicatorsofwell-being. Twoexceptions need to be mentioned: competence satisfac-
tion related more strongly to life satisfaction than to job satisfaction and satisfaction of
the need forrelatedness was more strongly related to life satisfaction than to vigour in
Sample 3. In line with the hypotheses, work-related need satisfaction related positively
to affective organizational commitment (Hypothesis 2e) and self-reported performance
(Hypothesis 2f). Finally,asexpected,all three needs related positivelytoautonomous
motivation (Hypothesis 3a), while only autonomy satisfaction related negatively to
controlled motivation (Hypothesis 3b).
To assess the predictive validityofneed satisfaction with respect to turnover,a
logistic regression analysis wasperformed in Sample 4. In line with the expectations
(Hypothesis 4), autonomy satisfaction associated negativelywith effectiveturn-over
(odd ratio ¼:37, p,:001), but no significant associations were found forcompetence
(odd ratio ¼1:07; ns) or relatedness (odd ratio ¼1 :05; ns) satisfaction. Hypothesis 4
was thus partially corroborated.
Discussion
In SDT,satisfaction of the basic needs forautonomy,competence, and relatedness is
considered as acrucial condition forindividuals’ thriving (Deci &Ryan,2000). Several
studies,across differentlife domains, have provided evidence forthis claim (e.g., Deci &
Ryan,2008; Vansteenkiste et al.,2008). Researchonneedsatisfaction in the field of
organizational psychology,however,might be hampered by the lack of avalid and
reliable domain-specific measure of need satisfaction. Therefore, the purposeofthe
present study was to develop aW-BNS and validateits Dutch version.
Results across four samples, totalling 1,185 employees,provided good supportfor
the psychometric properties of the W-BNS.Across the four samples, the scale
demonstratedaclean factorstructure. Consistent with SDT,the three needs satisfaction
measures werefound to represent related yetdistinctconstructs. Furthermore,the
satisfaction and frustration items could best be modelled as simultaneous indicatorsofa
higher order need construct,suggestingthat satisfaction and frustration of each of the
needs may best be conceivedofasopposite poles of the same underlying continuum.
The subscales foreach of the needs proved to have good reliability and participants’
answerstothe items were not significantly affected by impression management.
Further,ingeneral, satisfaction of the three needs wasfound to be related to
environmentalaspects and employees’ functioning in apredictableway,providing
evidence forthe criterion-related validityofthe scale. In line with previous research
(e.g., Vanden Broeck, Va nsteenkiste, De Witte, &Lens, 2008) work-related need
satisfaction related positivelytojob resources. Specifically, as expected, task autonomy
was most strongly correlated to autonomy satisfaction, whereas social supportwas most
strongly related to relatedness satisfaction. The results of opportunities forskill
utilization were less clear and rather mixed across the two samples as the relation
between skill utilization and competence satisfaction wasnot consistently positive.
Anumber of possible explanations can be provided to explain this unexpected result.
Need satisfaction at work 995
First, this mightsuggest that thecompetence subscale of theW-BNS leaves room for
improvement. Second,fromatheoreticalpoint of view,the opportunity to useone’s
skills maynot guaranteethatone masters each of thetasks.Satisfactionofthe need for
competence is,however, largelydependent upon such feelings of mastery. Thus,skill
utilization mightyield amore distant relation to competence satisfaction: its
competence-satisfyingeffect would, forexample,dependonthe noveltyand difficulty
of thetask. This mighthavebeenparticularly influential in Sample 4, whichconsisted
predominatelyofemployees with lowerlevelsofeducation:especiallyfor these
individuals, newtasks mightbetoo demandingtoexperiencecompetencesatisfaction.
We wouldliketoencourage further research to examinethisissue in greaterdetail.
Consistent with the assumption that need satisfaction relates to both hedonic and
eudaimonic well-being, as well as ill-being (Ryan &Deci, 2000; Ryan et al.,2008),
satisfaction of the three needs related positivelytojob satisfaction and vigour (i.e., the
main component of workengagement) and negativelytoexhaustion (i.e., the core of
burnout). The positive associations between need satisfaction and well-being also
emerged forthe more general and domain-encompassing outcomeoflife satisfaction.
Still, in line with our expectations, work-related need satisfaction tended to relate
somewhatless strongly to life satisfaction than to the aspects of work-related well-being.
The latter set of findings supports the divergentvalidityofthe needsatisfaction measure
and highlights the importance of domain-specificmeasurements (Vallerand, 1997).
Results furthermore confirmed the hypothesized positive associations between need
satisfaction, affective commitment, and performance, indicating that the beneficial
effects of needsatisfaction go beyond employees’well-being. Satisfaction of each of the
needs also related positivelytoemployees autonomous motivation, whereas only
autonomy satisfaction related negatively to controlled motivation. The latter finding
furtherjustifies the differentiation between the threeneeds and provides further
evidence that the relationships between each of the three need satisfaction variables and
employees’ functioning are not attributable to commonmethod-variance. Finally, need
satisfaction also related to an objective indicator,that is, turnover.However,only
autonomy satisfaction seemed to prevent turnover.This finding is consistent with
researchinother life domains,showing that autonomous functioning is associated
with less school drop-out (e.g., Vallerand, Fortier,&Guay,1997; Vansteenkiste, Zhou,
Lens, &Soenens, 2005).
Limitations and suggestions for further research
Some limitations needtobeacknowledged. First, the currentmeasurement relies on
employees’ self-reports to assess the internal process of needsatisfaction. Although
the present findings indicate that impression management did not significantlybias
the results, futurestudies might examinewhether other methodological artefacts or
personality factorsmay influence responses to the W-BNS (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee,
&Podsakoff, 2003). Second, the present findings supportthe criterion-related validityof
the W-BNS by means of cross-sectionalassociations (Hinkin, 1998)and its predictive
validityregarding turnover.Future studies mayfurther examinecausal relations between
work-related needsatisfaction and its antecedents (e.g., leadership and remuneration
systems) and consequences (e.g., productive and counterproductive behaviour) by
means of longitudinal, cross-lagged, or (field-) experimentalstudies. Other studies
might focus on intra-individual differences in need satisfaction and their correlates,
forexample, by using diarystudies.Indeed, within individuals,day-to-day variations in
996 Anja Vanden Broecketal.
optimal functioning are likely to becomeprominent as afunction of the degree in which
altering situations satisfy the basic psychological needs (Reis et al.,2000).
Third, the present study included aheterogeneous convenience sample as well as
different organization-specific samples. Future researchindifferentsectors and coun-
tries may,however,further add to the generalizabilityofthe findings. In afirststep, the
present study validated the Dutch version of the scale. We hope these results may
encourage future researchtovalidate the scale in otherlanguages.
Finally, futurestudies might also examinethe relative contributionofeach of the
needs in the prediction of various outcomes. The currentresults indicate that all three
needs associate with employees’ well-being, whereas only (the lack of) autonomy
satisfaction was predictive of turnover.Future researchmay explore whether the needs
forautonomy,competence,and relatedness yield different relations with particular
outcomes such that each of the needs relates to unique aspects of workers’ optimal
functioning (e.g., Greguras &Diefendorpff, 2009). The currentmeasure allows for
testing this assumption.
Conclusions
In sum, the present results support the psychometric properties of the Dutch version of
the work-related need satisfaction scale. We hope this measure may assist researchers
who seek to study employees’ need satisfaction. In our view,the use of avalidated need
satisfaction measure rather than the reliance on ad hoc need satisfaction measures
allows formore consistent cross-study comparisons and contributestoamore unified
development of this field. On the practical level, these results indicate that work-related
need satisfaction versus frustration yieldsimplications forindividuals’functioning, both
on the joband in general. Employees might therefore want to assess and regulate the
need supportive character of their jobs and seek forenvironments which nourish
their motivational energy and stimulateoptimal functioning. Need satisfaction might
be apoint of interest fororganizations as well, as it might be helpful in assessing and
improving the motivational impact of organizational aspects such as job design (Van den
Broeck, Vansteenkiste, De Witte, &Lens, 2008). Paying attention to employees’ need
satisfaction might furthermoreenhance employees’ functioning and, therefore, help to
reduce costs associated with stress or turnover,and increase productivity.Wehope that
the availabilityofabalanced,valid, and reliable measurement of needsatisfaction at
workstimulates workand organizational psychologists to examinethese issues and to
study the role of need satisfaction in the context of workingeneral.
Acknowledgements
The first author’scontribution was supported by agrant from the Fund forScientific Research
Flanders(FWO-Vlaanderen). We wouldlike to thank Filip Germeijs forhis help in the data
collection, Lance Ferris forhis helpful suggestions in conducting this research, and Jenefer
Husman forreading and commenting on an earlier draft of the manuscript.
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