Cognitive evaluation theory, which explains the effects of extrinsic motivators on intrinsic motivation, received some initial attention in the organizational literature. However, the simple dichotomy between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation made the theory difficult to apply to work settings. Differentiating extrinsic motivation into types that differ in their degree of autonomy led to self-determination theory, which has received widespread attention in the education, health care, and sport domains. This article describes self-determination theory as a theory of work motivation and shows its relevance to theories of organizational behavior. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.