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Archive for January, 2018

Social Determinism Theory and Me

January 29th, 2018

Over the past few years I’ve shifted my work interests (getting paid for work with non-profits) to addressing issues related to senior’s health. In particular my interest included matters related to:

  • accessibility & inclusion;
  • isolation & depression;
  • belonging & social connections;
  • recreation activities to improve health.

Harold Jarche’s ongoing posts on the evolving nature of work is a good mirror that helps me make sense of my changes. Simply put, my current work with seniors gives me a greater sense of autonomy, continued (and expanding) use of my skills (competence) and finally a greater sense of belonging with people through my work.

Below are the 2 references that triggered my self reflection on how SDT is impacting my life.

Harold Jarche’s Post – a compass for the future of work

It is certain that we cannot tell the future. We don’t need a roadmap for the future of work. Instead we need a good compass. That compass should be based on what we know about being human. We do know what motivates people. According to self-determination theory(SDT) there are three universal human drivers: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. We need some control over our lives, we want to be good at something, and we want to feel that we belong with other people. These drivers are what make us do what we do.

“That is, the social context can either support or thwart the natural tendencies toward active engagement and psychological growth, or it can catalyze lack of integration, defense, and fulfillment of need-substitutes. Thus, it is the dialectic between the active organism and the social context that is the basis for SDT’s predictions about behavior, experience, and development.

Within SDT, the nutriments for healthy development and functioning are specified using the concept of basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. To the extent that the needs are ongoingly satisfied, people will develop and function effectively and experience wellness, but to the extent that they are thwarted, people will more likely evidence ill-being and non-optimal functioning.”

When we look at the future of work, the loss of current jobs, and the effects of automation we should use the SDT compass to guide us, not a list of what the jobs of the future may look like. These maps get stale too quickly. In preparing for this new world of work, policy makers and organizational leaders should look at how they can enhance autonomy, competence, and relatedness for everyone. The future of work will then take care of itself.

Self-Determination Theory (SDT) represents a broad framework for the study of human motivation and personality. SDT articulates a meta-theory for framing motivational studies, a formal theory that defines intrinsic and varied extrinsic sources of motivation, and a description of the respective roles of intrinsic and types of extrinsic motivation in cognitive and social development and in individual differences. Perhaps more importantly, SDT propositions also focus on how social and cultural factors facilitate or undermine people’s sense of volition and initiative, in addition to their well-being and the quality of their performance.  Conditions supporting the individual’s experience of autonomy, competence,and relatedness are argued to foster the most volitional and high quality forms of motivation and engagement for activities, including enhanced performance, persistence, and creativity. In addition, SDT proposes that the degree to which any of these three psychological needs is unsupported or thwarted within a social context will have a robust detrimental impact on wellness in that setting.

Workplace-Network Learning