Self-determination theory (SDT) is based on three innate human requirements: Competence, Relatedness, and Autonomy.
Deci and Ryan [the researchers] claim that there are three essential elements of the theory:
1. Humans are inherently proactive with their potential and mastering their inner forces (such as drives and emotions)
2. Humans have an inherent tendency toward growth development and integrated functioning
3. Optimal development and actions are inherent in humans but they don’t happen automatically
If we change our operating models we can change the world. Models premised on SDT will serve the needs of everyone, not just management or the shareholders.
“Psychological self-determination is expressed in three different dimensions. In the first dimension people want to live their lives the way they choose to live it. This is the sense of sanctuary. The second way people express their psychological self-determination is in the widespread desire for voice: we want to be heard and we want our voices to matter. The third way we want our psychological self-determination to be expressed is in our desire to be connected: we want to be part of communities.” —The Support Economy
Many of our current corporate, educational, and health care systems stand in the way of self-determination. We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves (community) but we also need to have control of our own lives. In our health, our learning, and our work: self-determination is the key to resilience. It also a key to democracy.
Without Autonomy we are disengaged.
Without Competence we are ineffective.
Without Relatedness we are aimless.
Engaged citizens require all three. The lack of these three innate human requirements leads to disenfranchised workers, reluctant voters, and drug epidemics. Look at any systemic human problem and you will likely see that at least one of these requirements is missing. It’s a simple model yet so few of our institutions and businesses even consider it.