Academic journal article Advances in Management

Case Study: Predicting Work Performance from Performance Plan Based on Self-Determination Theory

Academic journal article Advances in Management

Case Study: Predicting Work Performance from Performance Plan Based on Self-Determination Theory

Article excerpt


There are two definitions of performance in academia: One is results-oriented, the other is behaviors-oriented. Performances are a set of behaviors of an organizational unit's target. Campbell et al3 said that performance is a synonym for behavior which could be observed and is the human real behavior. Complete process of the performance is consisting of performance plan, performance control, performance assessment and performance feedback10. Performance plan is a process that supervisor and staffs discuss what kind of work and performance should be completed during the assessment period. It is a formation process of performance indicators and is the beginning of performance management11.

Performance plan is benefit for supervisor and staffs to clarify the importance of work. As the foundation of the performance assessment, performance plan should be finished before the performance assessment. It involves psychological activity, rational interests of the game and the impact of group rules. So performance plan is very important for the whole performance management.

Currently, most of enterprises' performance plans ignore the participation of employees. They do not adopt suggestion of supervisors, stuffs and customers. Performance plan has one assessment cycle only that it cannot achieve the desired effect. It is not only lack of differences in staff but also neglect the nature of the industry and overall target when formulating the performance plan. The performance plans just give stuffs a goal but ignore what degree the stuffs want to be.

The effective performance plan should be from the organization's actual situation. High performance plans lose their original role of the guidance because it cannot be completed. However, although the low performance plan is easy to complete, the organization's resource has not been used well and has been wasted easily.6 The useful performance plan should have characteristics as follows: Specifically assessment objectives; Different assessment cycles according to the different actual situation and assessment objectives; Comprehensive assessment of the main; Assessment criteria should follow the SMART principle; Transparence and fairness of the assessment information sources; Enhance employee engagement according to their own situation10. Discussion of these issues will provide a theoretical basis which could improve the quality of performance plan.

Self-Determination Theory (SDT)4 is a motivation theory about human behavior, which is concerned in the field of staff behavior management widely. The theory is proposed by American psychologist Deci and Ryan.4 SDT considers human motivation as the dynamics of the continuum between intrinsic motivation and external regulation. Self-determination is individual that makes a choice freedom fully based on awareness of individual's needs and environmental information5. Self-Determination Theory proposes that the information of environmental factors could meet the three psychological needs including competence, autonomy and relatedness. The three psychological needs could enhance intrinsic motivation and nourish the generation of autonomous extrinsic motivation which provides a clear path for motivating the transformation of management intervention.1,11 According to SDT theory, the effective performance plan should meet the characteristic of the three basic psychological needs and three basic psychological needs are mediators between performance plan and work performance.

Although SDT has been confirmed in many areas, it has not been used in performance management yet. This study intended to discuss characteristics of the effective performance plan based on SDT, then these performance plan's characteristics affect work performance through the satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs, thus confirming the idea of Self-Determination Theory's adaptability in the field of performance management research. …

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