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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Proactivity involves self-starting and future-focused action that aims to bring about change, either in the self or in one’s work environment. In this chapter, drawing particularly on self-determination theory, we outline and develop current conceptualizations of how proactivity is motivated, and how to promote proactivity that is effective in bringing about change. We propose that autonomous regulation increases the likelihood that proactivity results in positive change for both individuals and organizations, and introduce a dynamic model that represents the positive upward spiral of autonomously regulated proactivity. Autonomously regulated proactivity involves a more complete goal regulation process and a greater sense of ownership and involvement of the self, thus making it more likely for proactive goals to be achieved. Via the satisfaction of psychological needs, autonomously regulated proactivity enables high levels of individual proactivity that are sustained over time, and stimulates proactivity that is in line with organizational goals. We outline how organizations can encourage autonomously regulated individual proactivity that enhances employees’ well-being and personal growth, and contributes to organizational effectiveness.

Keywords: proactivity, self-determination, psychological need satisfaction, autonomous regulation, goal regulation

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