A self-regulation account of the job performance–job satisfaction relationship

Heike Heidemeier*, Klaus Moser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

2 Citations (Scopus)


We present a self-regulation account of the job performance–job satisfaction relationship according to which job performance leads to job satisfaction, if it involves optimal expectancies for successful performance. Using response surface methodology (n = 747 employees), we found that employees who held overly negative (self-effacement) or overly positive self-perceptions of performance (self-enhancement) gained less satisfaction from their jobs. As hypothesized by self-discrepancy theory, self-effacement promoted fear-related negative emotions, whereas self-enhancement was linked to disappointment. Self-enhancers also reported lower trust and reduced satisfaction with interpersonal relationships, which may partly explain why self-enhancement had particularly detrimental effects. Furthermore, among employees high in performance-goal orientation, attaining high normative performance, as indicated by above-average supervisor evaluations, rather than optimal expectancies for success, explained job satisfaction. Our findings support the conclusion that need satisfaction and the ensuing self-regulatory processes determine the shape and the size of the performance–satisfaction relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1313-1328
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • job performance
  • job satisfaction
  • performance-goal orientation
  • self-evaluation
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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