Here's the central law of employee motivation, of coaxing a great performance from your employees, day after day: Employees who are selected, oriented, and reinforced properly, and who are surrounded by peers of the same caliber, will thrive when given significant autonomy. Otherwise, they'll wither.
There are dozens of studies to support this, inside and outside of business life.
The case for autonomy: just look in the mirror.
Via The Learning Factor