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Motivation of Self-determination Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 1768 words Published: 14th Aug 2018

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Summary of Findings

This study explore the different type of motivations of Self Determination Theory, and its three key needs (competence, relatedness, autonomy) towards the social networking game. Therefore, the research question “What motivates college students to play social networking game?” is explained according to the results of the study. It was found that although more people play the game to spend their leisure time, but the major needs for them is the competence as we can see from the data collected, competence has the highest overall mean value. According to Ryan and Deci (2002) humans thrive to experience mastery and to get a sense of confidence. It is also the search for optimal challenge that motivates people to maintain their performance and to improve their skills so that they could reach another higher level. The need for competence is satisfied if an individual feels masterful, efficient, and confident towards the thing that they are doing for example in playing the game. So from this study, we found that competence needs is the major reason that they engaged in the social networking game.

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In this study, we found that both needs competence and autonomy are partially related with each other as need of competence is satisfied if an individual feel masterful, efficient, and confident towards the thing that they are doing and when he/she successfully reached the goal after overcoming many obstacles, the sense of competence will formed (Takatalo, 2010). This is similar to the characteristic of the needs of autonomy as it is also mean that having a feeling of control over a particular performance and the way they are performed.

In Section A which is aimed to test the competence level of the players, we found that most respondent think that they are only have least motivation if their rank in the game has been dropped. Which mean the rank in the game will not affect much of the engagement of the players in game. Not only that, we can see that rank is not a very important element that why players engage in the game as they not necessary will continue to play the game even if they successfully maintain in the high ranking in the leader board. However, most of the players are still feeling quite happy when they successfully achieve their favourite position on the leader board in social networking game. As according to Sweetser and Wyeth (2005), positive feeling towards the game and sense of competence could be form when the players are feeling in control in the game, and thus, players are feeling happy when they completed the task and reach their favourable rank. We can also see that most of the players are very enjoy in playing those social networking game. Social networking successfully provides the happiness for the players to engage in them. Although many college students will not be motivated to play the game when their ranking is dropped, but if once they reach their rank and successfully in high rank, they will feel more motivated to play.

In Autonomy, from the study we can also see that most of the players seldom search for information before they play social networking game. They are also seldom spend the time to search for all the information or guideline such as blog, cheats and many others in order to win the games. This shows that they are barely play the game for their own sake without searching for the information. Peers play an important in influencing the people to play a particular social networking game. This can be proved by the results as more respondent are influenced by the friends to engage in the game. However, people do not spend much of their time to play social networking game in a day as they do not like to engage in the game for very long hour. Not only that, they also seldom send the help request to friends to overcome the difficult task. They might think that they are able to challenge the tasks by themselves in order to get the feeling of control over a particular game and this, they will feel autonomous. As mentioned by Ryan and Deci (2002), Autonomy is also means that having a feeling of control over a particular performance and the way they are performed. In order for an individual to feel autonomous, an individual need to feel satisfied or accepted with the actions that they select to engage in. We can also see that from the statistic they are prefer the game that are more challenging in order to get the sense of autonomous. They do not like to play the game which is easy as it may lead to boredom.

The need for relatedness is the need to feel meaningfully connected to important others (Ryan &Deci, 2002). In our results, we can see that people are seldom interacting with their friends or gaming partner in social networking game. According to Rigby and Ryan (2011), an individual’s sense of relatedness will be diminished if he or she is feeling isolated or having the indifference by the others. In this case, the need of relatedness will be reduced as they do not often engaging with the other players. Besides, they also seldom play the game that related to their daily life as they think that it is not important element to decide whether they should play a particular game or not. Most of the respondents also do not learn certain life skill by playing those social networking game as they are only play the game for their own sake. By the way, they do feel that by playing the games, their friendship among each other will become closer. It means the social networking game provide a good platform for the people to stay closely to their relationship. Lastly, they will feel sense of accomplishment when their friend ask them do help in the game which able to make them happy.

Implications of Findings

Implications of findings on this Self-Determination Theory and practice are discussed in this section.

Implication of theory

This study aimed to test the validity of the construct in the Self-Determination Theory especially with the three key needs on social networking gaming. This theory might be functional for researcher to develop the motivational theory based on the results that have done in this study. The three elements in Self-Determination Theory (autonomy, competence, relatedness) provide different results to study different needs of college student on social networking gaming and thus, this theory provided a guideline for the researcher to further investigate. The three constructs in this theory might give the inspiration for the scholars to develop their new theory based on the constructs.

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Implication of practice

Our results can provide a guideline for the social networking gaming developer to create the game that can really motivate or engage those college students to play in. Based on the statistics with the result of three different needs (competence, autonomy, relatedness) of Self Determination Theory, social networking developers are able to evaluate it and develop the game according to these so that they will produce an interesting game to the people. From this study, major need is competence as most of the people are motivated to play the game which is challenging so that they can challenge themselves to overcome the difficult tasks. So, future game developers are able to refer this direction to create the games which are good enough to motivate the people to engage in it.

Limitations of Study

In of progress of this research, a few limitations were found. The research method that we used is non-probability sampling method. Samples selected to participate in the research but the result of the research could not represent what other population’s thought. Snowball sample is one type of non-probability sampling method, we used snowball sample in this research as we distributed our questionnaire to our peers who are engaging with the social networking game and ask them to send the survey to their peers who are gamers too. In this case, the first person we distribute is important as he or she might influence others answer and influence the final result. This is because the first person has the strong impact on the sample. In the other words, snowball sampling might lead to bias in result and thus, it affects the overall statistics. Thus, this result could not be generalized.

Suggestion for future research

Our study is based on the sample of college student collected in our country. In order to generalize the results, a future research should be carry out and adjust the model with different samples such as segmented by age or geography. This is to see whether the different age groups like children or adult have the similar motivations in social networking game or not.

Motivation of college students on social networking game is an interesting topic to study as it is very broad for researchers to discuss. But this aspect of research was seldom done by the researchers because more of the researches are focusing on the impact that social networking game bring to the teenagers or college students. So, more future studies are needed to examine the relationship between the motivation and teenager’s behaviour in order to figure out more significant and specific results. Local researchers needed to put more effort in studying this aspect, this is because there are a few number of researches have done the study about this kind of topic in other countries, but as the cultural background are different among the cultures, it is important to do a cross-culture student of social networking games so that we can determine the difference among cultures.

Besides that, there are a lot more theories that are suitable to use to study the motivation of people in engaging the game. Researchers are able to use different theories to study about the topic so that we will see different result which might be fresh in this industry. Self-Determination Theory is a broad theory which contains a lot of sub theories. These sub theories are also very useful in determining the motivations of the people towards the game. Perhaps a future research study can be done by using all these theories to get a new result and see whether the relationship of the theories that used in the study are functional or interesting or not. The examples of the mini theories under Self Determination Theory are Cognitive Evaluation Theory, Organismic Integration Theory, Causality Orientations Theory, Basic Psychological Needs Theory and many others.


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