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The Motivators’ Orientations Questionnaires (PIS & PAW)

The Problems in Schools Questionnaire and the Problems at Work Questionnaire were developed using the same format and the same basic concept. Each assesses whether individuals in a position of authority, whose job is, in part, to motivate others, tend to be oriented toward controlling the behavior of those others versus supporting their autonomy. The Problems in Schools Questionnaire (PIS) assesses whether teachers tend to be controlling versus autonomy supportive with their students. The Problems at Work Questionnaire (PAW) assesses whether managers tend to be controlling versus autonomy supportive with their employees. The measures are composed of eight vignettes, each of which is followed by four items. The four items following each vignette represent four different behavioral options for dealing with the problem that is posed in the vignette: one is Highly Autonomy Supportive (HA), one is Moderately Autonomy Supportive (MA), one is Moderately Controlling (MC), and one is Highly Controlling (HC). Respondents rate the degree of appropriateness of each of the four options (on a seven-point scale) for each of the eight situations. Thus, there are a total of 32 ratings.

Note that the Motivators’ Orientations Questionnaires (PIS and PAW) were designed to be completed by the teachers and the managers, respectively. In contrast, the SDT-based scales referred to as the Perceived Autonomy Support (The Climate) Questionnaires were designed to be completed by the people being motivated–that is, by the students about their teachers’ autonomy support versus control and by the subordinates about their managers’ autonomy support versus control.

This scales are believed to measure a relatively stable orientation in adults toward their approach to motivating others; in other words, it is believed to reflect an individual difference variable in the motivators. The responses are in terms of behavioral options, but these are believed to reflect characteristics of the respondent.

Description of The Problems in Schools Questionnaire (PIS)

The PIS was designed for use in schools, with teachers completing the scale about their own orientation toward motivating students, and the studies by Deci, Schwartz, Sheinman, and Ryan (1981) validated the scale for use in that way. It has also been used with parents, who report on their approach to motivating their children.

Description of The Problems at Work Questionnaire (PAW)

The PAW was designed for managers and was validated in a study by Deci, Connell, and Ryan (1989). The study indicated, for example, that managers who were oriented more toward supporting their subordinates autonomy had subordinates who were more satisfied with their jobs and had a higher level of trust in the organization.


Main Questionnaire


Problems in Schools Questionnaire (PIS)

(1981) Journal of Educational Psychology

An instrument to assess adults' orientations toward control versus autonomy with children: Reflections on intrinsic motivation and perceived competence

Deci, E. L. Schwartz, A. J. Sheinman, L. Ryan, R. M.

(1999) Journal of Educational Psychology

Autonomy-supportive teachers: How they teach and motivate students

Reeve, J. Bolt, E. Cai, Y.

Problems at Work Questionnaire (PAW)

(1989) Journal of Applied Psychology

Self-determination in a work organization

Deci, E. L. Connell, J. P. Ryan, R. M.