Autonomous vs. heteronomous mode of action control and task performance: The role of the situational context and action vs. state orientation

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Abstract

The article presents the results of two experimental studies in which I investigated the effect of the situational context (autonomy-supportive vs. external control) and action vs. state orientation on perseverance and efficacy in task performance. The results of Study 1 (n = 40) confirmed that in a context which supports autonomy - as opposed to one which induces external control - people are much more likely to be not only more persistent and effective in their actions but also much more interested in the performed task. Interest in the performed task seems to also be - to some extent- a mediator in the relationship between persistence and efficacy. The results of Study 2 (n = 69) confirmed that a context, which supports autonomy positively, affects both persistence and efficacy. At the same time, the study shows that in a context, which supports autonomy, action-oriented people are more persistent and efficient in their actions than are state-oriented people. What is more, in an autonomy-supporting context, action-oriented people have a more positive attitude towards a given task than do state-oriented people.

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Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

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