Promoting Autonomy to Reduce Employee Deviance: The Mediating Role of Identified Motivation

  •  Julien Bureau    
  •  Geneviève Mageau    
  •  Alexandre Morin    
  •  Marylène Gagné    
  •  Jacques Forest    
  •  Konstantinos Papachristopoulos    
  •  Ashrah Lucas    
  •  Anaïs Thibault Landry    
  •  Chloé Parenteau    


The organizational environment is purported to have a profound impact on how employees behave at work. In particular, the extent to which the work environment can foster autonomy in employees has been shown to predict several positive outcomes for employees and organizations. This research explores the associations between employees’ experiences of autonomy at work and organizational deviance. We also investigate the mechanisms underlying this association and the possible role of identified motivation as a mediator of this relation. Three studies conducted in a variety of settings, countries, populations and assessment methods showed that employees who experience more autonomy at work tend to engage in lower levels of organizational deviance. Two studies also showed that this relation was mediated by identified motivation. Thus, employees’ experiences of autonomy at work seemed to foster higher levels of identified motivation towards work, which in turn predicted lower levels of organizational deviance. The present results may help guide managerial training and promote organizational cultures that are respectful of employee autonomy, potentially reducing the costs associated with organizational deviance.

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