Do individual differences in need strength moderate the relations between basic psychological need satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior?

Wörtler, B., Van Yperen, N. W. & Barelds, D. P. H., 27-Jun-2019, In : Motivation and Emotion. 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

An important theoretical debate in the literature on psychological needs concerns the potential moderating role of individuals’ need strength in the effects of basic psychological need satisfaction. The present study adds to the relatively small literature with inconsistent findings by examining whether the relations between work-related basic psychological need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) and organizational citizenship behavior (i.e., constructive voluntary job performance) are enhanced when employees’ work-specific explicit need strength increases. Survey data from two samples of employees in the United States (N = 353; MAge = 38.13) and in the Netherlands (N = 298; MAge = 44.57) consistently showed that across the need domains, need satisfaction was positively associated with organizational citizenship behavior through work engagement. However, we only found minor evidence for a moderating role of need strength. These findings largely endorse core self-determination theory assertions, as they underscore the relevance of employees’ psychological need satisfaction rather than fit between high psychological need satisfaction and high need strength in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27-Jun-2019


  • Psychological needs, Need strength, Organizational citizenship behavior, Work engagement, elf-determination theory

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