Exploring Intrinsic Motivation and Satisfaction Using Self-Determination Theory A Study of Gig Workers on Knowledge-Based Service Platforms in China

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Liqian Yang
Chanchai Bunchapattanasakda


Many scholars have discussed the gig economy and gig workers since 2015–2016. Knowledge-based service platforms are growing rapidly with the development of technology. In China, over the past seven years, there have been 1,021 financial investments totaling 131.3 billion Yuan in knowledge-based service platforms. Limited research has been undertaken on gig workers’ intrinsic motivation and satisfaction with such platforms. The present research study was based on self-determination theory to study gig workers’ intrinsic motivation and satisfaction on the six biggest knowledge-based service platforms in China. It fills a research gap in the study of gig workers’ motivation. A self-administrated questionnaire was distributed online to respondents to collect data. Finally, 1,049 valid responses were obtained. The research compared gig workers with and without full-time jobs. The Partial Least Squared method was applied to analyze and generate the results. It was found that self-determination and social capital positively influenced intrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation positively influenced gig workers’ satisfaction on knowledge-based service platforms. Also, older gig workers in full-time jobs showed less work satisfaction than the younger group. Some practical suggestions were made to platforms as well as to gig workers.

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