The beliefs that underlie autonomy-supportive and controlling teaching: A multinational investigation

Johnmarshall Reeve, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Avi Assor, Ikhlas Ahmad, Sung Hyeon Cheon, Hyungshim Jang, Haya Kaplan, Jennifer D. Moss, Bodil Stokke Olaussen, C. K.John Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


We investigated the role of three beliefs in predicting teachers' motivating style toward students-namely, how effective, how normative, and how easy-to-implement autonomy-supportive and controlling teaching were each believed to be. We further examined national collectivism-individualism as a predictor of individual teachers' motivating style and beliefs about motivating style, as we expected that a collectivistic perspective would tend teachers toward the controlling style and toward positive beliefs about that style. Participants were 815 full-time PreK-12 public school teachers from eight different nations that varied in collectivism-individualism. All three teacher beliefs explained independent and substantial variance in teachers' self-described motivating styles. Believed effectiveness was a particularly strong predictor of self-described motivating style. Collectivism-individualism predicted which teachers were most likely to self-describe a controlling motivating style, and a mediation analysis showed that teachers in collectivistic nations self-described a controlling style because they believed it to be culturally normative classroom practice. These findings enhance the literature on the antecedents of teachers' motivating styles by showing that teacher beliefs strongly predict motivating style, and that culture informs one of these beliefs-namely, normalcy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Antecedents of motivating style
  • Autonomy support
  • Collectivism
  • Motivating style
  • Teacher beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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