The study reported here is based on our thorough review on 97 articles published in English before May, 2018 as a result of our extensive literature searches. Based on the core hypotheses of the self-determination theory and applying the theoretical framework of “environment - basic psychological needs - work motivation - outcome”, we systematically analyzed and summarized the current streams and future directions of research on the causes and outcomes of work motivation. Our research reveals that employees’ basic psychological need satisfaction and autonomous motivation as intermediary variables can explain the positive impact of autonomy-supportive working environment, and employees’ individual characteristics on their work behavior, attitude, and mental health. Future research focuses that we are proposing include: (1) specific factors of controlled working environment and their impact on employees’ basic psychological need satisfaction and thwarting, controlled motivation, amotivation, work behavior, attitude, and mental health, (2) mediators and moderators of different motivation types and their effect on employee performance, behavior and attitude, and (3) impacts of external rewards, including pay and performance-based bonuses, on employees’ work motivation, basic psychological need satisfaction, performance, and mental health as well as the boundary conditions of these effects.
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