The indirect effect of autonomy on job satisfaction through collective psychological ownership: the case of social workers in China

Xuebing Su, Victor Wong, Kun Liang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study used a nationally representative random sample of social workers (N = 3896) collected from a cross-sectional study of the First Wave of the China Social Work Longitudinal Study in 2019. This study examined the indirect effect of autonomy on job satisfaction through the mechanism of collective psychological ownership (CPO) characterized by sharedness. The results showed that autonomy had a positive association with CPO, and that CPO had a positive association with job satisfaction. The results also revealed that autonomy influenced job satisfaction indirectly through the psychological mechanism of CPO. The discussion of findings provides insights into the research and practice of a less-territorial notion of collective psychological ownership theory. The findings will inspire organizational management in terms of enhancing the job satisfaction of social workers through strengthening their autonomy and CPO. The existing territorial notion of psychological ownership (PO) has shown its negative outcomes such as groupthink and resistance to sharing and changes in organizational contexts. Emphasizing the importance of sharedness, CPO embodying two specific factors, namely, shared decision-making and shared hardship endurance, is an emerging concept in organizational management. This is the first study examining the impact of a less-territorial notion of CPO in organizational contexts with a nationally representative sample.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2021


  • Autonomy
  • Collective psychological ownership
  • Job satisfaction
  • Sharedness
  • Social worker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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