A Comparative Study of the Environmental and Cultural Impacts on Self-Determination Theory within Cameroon, Finland, and Spain
Katz, Heidi (2017-08-09)
Aineistoon ei liity tiedostoja.
The purpose of this study was to test Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in different cultures, and to understand how the constructs of SDT vary between collectivist and individualist cultures. SDT claims that universally we have three psychological needs -autonomy, relatedness, and perceived competence - and if these needs are met then intrinsic motivation and well-being increase. Some argue that solely individualist countries value these needs, but the SDT theorists posit that regardless of value, the three needs are still within each of us to varying degrees. The three countries selected for this study each have a different cultural classification: Finland is a highly individualist country, Spain has aspects of both the collectivist and individualist cultures, and Cameroon is seen as collectivist. Several previously utilized questionnaires were modified and translated for use in this study, and two additional questionnaires were created to test degrees of freedom and control students face in their daily routines. The addition of the two questionnaires was based on the ideas of Urie Bronfenbrenner, who discusses how people develop based off of immediate and interconnected environmental impressions. From this line of thought one could conclude that the psychological needs and motivational types may vary between countries due to implicit messages students receive and ways they develop differently. In analysing the data, the Cameroonian students reported the highest levels of all regulation types (both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation), and satisfaction of psychological needs, despite being the most controlling country. Spanish students reported levels in between Cameroon and Finland, with Finnish students being seemingly less satisfied and obtaining less support than the two other groups despite their individualist nature. However, Finland had the highest score on the relative autonomy index, which was calculated from combing all regulation type subscales. From the results, specific conclusions about SDT were not drawn, rather the results revealed response patterns within countries and insight into whether SDT, as it is currently understood, can be successfully tested and applied cross-culturally. The results revealed the challenge in testing SDT within cultures where people may not value the psychological needs and may not formulate personal, critical opinions. Due to these findings, cross-cultural comparisons are questioned as an effective tool to improving schools. Instead, it is suggested that schools look internally to the best approach in meeting the needs, goals and values of students and society.