Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan in Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. Plenum Press, New York, 1985) suggests that certain experiences, such as competence, are equally beneficial to everyone’s well-being (universal hypothesis), whereas Motive Disposition Theory (McClelland in Human motivation. Scott, Foresman, Glenview, IL, 1985) predicts that some people, such as those with a high achievement motive, should benefit particularly from such experiences (matching hypothesis). Existing research on motives as moderators of the relationship between basic need satisfaction and positive outcomes supports both these seemingly inconsistent views. Focusing on the achievement motive, we
sought to resolve this inconsistency by considering the specificity of the outcome variables. When predicting domain-specific well-being and flow, the achievement motive should interact with felt competence. However, when it comes to predicting general well-being and flow, felt competence should unfold its effects without being moderated
by the achievement motive. Two studies confirmed these assumptions indicating that the universal and matching hypotheses are complementary rather than mutually exclusive.