Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Motivation, Empowerment, and Cognitive  Style in a Community of Practice

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posted on 2021-11-12, 00:50 authored by Tegg, Simon

Social work and Participatory GIS researchers have focused on the social empowerment of disadvantaged groups while neglecting psychological aspects of empowerment. Social empowerment generally refers to an increase in political or economic power for the disadvantaged. Psychological empowerment generally refers to internal , motivational processes. Community development projects must often balance the two, and the diverse needs, interests, and ideologies of practitioners and participants. It is proposed that two psychological theories can explain how psychological empowerment occurs and varies. These theories are the Empathiser-Sytemiser theory of cognitive style (Baron-Cohen et al., 2005), and Self-Determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 2000). The links between these theories and the implications for empowerment are explored through a case study of a community gardening group and community mapping in Wellington, New Zealand. The thesis argues that empowerment-oriented efforts are especially valuable during economic decline and transition.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


de Roiste, Mairead