Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Bradley Thompson

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Tara Hornor

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Bill Hunt


It has been said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 30% of students who graduated from high school do not enroll in college (NCES, 2018). This phenomenological study integrates several instruments to identify the motivational elements of amotivation, autonomy, extrinsic, and intrinsic motivational stimuli. The research data reveal that intrinsic motivational factors play a more significant role in the decision-making process. The participants in this study revealed their extrinsic and intrinsic motivation for postsecondary endeavors by articulating how they perceive decision-making for their actions. Participants of dual- and single-parent households scored higher for extrinsic over intrinsic factors. The data leads to the conclusion that students of dual-parent households have a great idea of individualism, but a greater need to prove themselves to others through a fear of failure. It was also determined that students of single-parent households are reluctant to make decisions on their own through an increased fear of failure. Engagement, and the values of desire and hope, lead to the application of intrinsic decision-making. Educators and learners have reached a fork in the road.


The compass for the journey in the presented research pointed toward the question of decision-making for postsecondary endeavors. Self-determination theory claims that individuals have a “wholly” trinity of fundamental psychological requirements; autonomy, competence, and relatedness. It has been ascertained that when these psychological requirements are met in students, their decision-making process and well-being substantially increases (Ryan & Deci, 2009). The data from the presented research indicates the higher the intrinsic factors, the greater the motivation to flourish, and that a higher need for extrinsic factors, do not necessarily lead to lower motivation. Educators and learners have reached a fork in the road. To take the path to encourage autonomy, engagement, and motivation to flourish through informed decisions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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