Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joanne Quinn, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jung Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Loran Jarrett, D.B.A.

Committee Member

Paul Solomon, Ph.D.


affective commitment, gender, intrinsic motivation, job satisfaction, turnover intention, wealth advice


In this paper, we use Self Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000A, Deci & Ryan, 2008) as the underlying theory to help determine the factors that may influence wealth advisors to consider leaving (or being committed) to their positions. Baard et al. (2004) established that Self-determination theory was relevant to motivation in the workplace. This quantitative study utilizes a survey instrument that incorporates many already proven reliable and valid items from Self-determination Theory to better understand the wealth advisor work motivation framework. This topic is important within financial services since positive work motivation has been tied to positive work outcomes such as job satisfaction and affective work commitment. Additionally, the industry has tried extensively to recruit females to the financial management sector, yet still finds that women are a distinct minority. More executive females and senior managers (23%) exit the financial services labor market compared to males at the same levels (17%) (Mercer Study, 2016; Mattia, M., 2018). A conceptual model based on a combination of previous self-determination-oriented research (in other domains) and work satisfaction research is posited and tested via structural equations modeling among 197 wealth advisors (both male and female). In combination with the SEM analysis we conducted a number of multiple regressions and mediation analyses. The findings show that our conceptual model provides an adequate fit to the sample data. The results confirm that autonomous motivation strongly influences work satisfaction and that the extrinsic motivators have less strong (but significant) effects on work satisfaction. In turn work satisfaction drives affective work commitment which is a very strong determiner of turnover intention. We also find that autonomous motivation mediates the effect of supervisor autonomy support on turnover intention. The final section of the quantitative analysis was dedicated to the consideration of gender differences. Regression models that included the self-determination constructs and a gender variable were developed for affective work commitment and turnover intention. The results indicate that the gender variable was not significant with respect to either outcome. We do find models however, that have fairly strong explanatory power and we detail those in the present study. Very few academic studies have addressed the issue of work motivation in this segment of financial services and no study to our knowledge incorporated a theoretical framework to guide the research. This paper extends the currently scant research dedicated to better understanding the determinants that lead to both job retention consideration and job leaving consideration factors among male and female wealth advisors. We also add to the research by offering a brief analysis of gender with respect to the motivational factors of considered in the present study.The results from this study can be used by both practitioners and those in academia. Future work could include the creation of interventions that will help sustain the commitment of wealth advisors and in particular support the industry efforts to retain females. Academic applications include deeper dives into the role of gender among those that have already left the profession, and the inclusion on other relevant motivational constructs.