Expectancy Theory of Motivation

Expectancy Theory of Motivation

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(February 25, 2014)

 

Expectancy Theory of Motivation

Expectancy theory is concerned with the mental processes in regard to the behavior and decisions of individuals. Leaders and managers use expectancy theory in comprehending how people in the workplace make decisions concerning diversity in behavioral alternatives. Expectancy theory argues that individuals act in different ways based on motivation, which shapes their behavior. Motivation of such individuals is pegged on the results. The choices of individuals are attached to the expected results and the end results. Expectancy theory is prominent in explaining the behavioral processes of individuals and the motivations attached to the behavioral options. Individuals make choices on how to act depending on the value and desired end results.

            It is worth noting that the term expectancy reflects on the anticipation or the expectation in getting or acquiring something. In the same concept, expectancy theory reflects on a framework showing the way individuals act or behave depending on context and available motivations (Green, 2002). Behaviors are chosen over other possible behaviors depending on the motivations of the individuals.

Expectancy theory is instrumental in selecting the condition or quality of serving a purpose; there is value attached to purpose, situation, object and state whether positive or negative. According to Victor Vroom’s Expectation Theory, he argued that the individuals behave the way they do based on selected results (Green, 2002). For example, individuals work hard because of the expected rewards where the rewards are attached to the extra effort. The motivation behavior of the individuals in the workplaces is influenced by the nature of rewards. The cognitive processes are applied on how the individuals process different motivational factors.

            Processing is critical before the final choice is made. Decision making processes does not only rely on the rewards, there are other factors that influence the decision making processes. Motivation is a process and not one day phenomenon, which is controlled by the person making the choices among many possible alternatives. Motivation is attached to the expectancy of individuals as related to efforts (Green, 2002). In this context, the valence is connected to the desirability of the results as instrumentality is connected to the performance. Expectancy theory has been influential in explaining why individuals choose some behaviors in preference of other possible behaviors. The behavioral process is directly connected to achieving the desired results (Green, 2002).

            Expectancy theory of motivation has three key components identifying with valence (V), Expectancy (E) and the instrumentality (I). There are different relationships existing in the three elements.

Effort – performance expectancy (E>P expectancy)

Performance – Outcome expectancy (P>O expectancy)

            The relationships of the three components of expectancy theory of motivation connect as illustrated herein.

Expectancy                 : Effort       Performance expressed as (E      P)

Instrumentality            : Performance        Outcome expressed as (P      O)

Valence                       : Valence – V (R)

Expectancy: Effort       Performance expressed as (E      P)

            Expectancy is attached to the belief that the effort (E) of individuals will contribute to the individual attaining the performance (P) desired. Expectancy in most cases relates to the self efficacy, self confidence, control, perceived difficulty of the task and on experience of an individual. High expectancy is attached to the individual’s ability to control the outcome to the desired end (Green, 2002).

Instrumentality: Performance        Outcome expressed as (P      O)

            Instrumentality is the general belief that an individual will be rewarded if the required performance is attained (Green, 2002). The reward may not necessarily be in monetary value; it may be in recognition, a form of promotion, token or a sense of accomplishment among others. If the reward is equal to the performance levels, then instrumentality is low.

Valence: Valence – V (R)

            Valence reflects on the value on which individual attaches to the rewards (R). This depends on the sources of motivation, needs, values and goals of an individual. There are different factors influencing the valence of an individual depending on the desired results. Some of the factors are goals, will of an individual, values, sources of motivation, needs and preferences (Green, 2002). 

            Expectancy theory of motivation is critical in defining the motivation of the workforce within an organization. Leaders and managers can use the theory in understanding how employees on an individual basis are motivated. Leaders and managers in return can develop useful decisions on what motivates employees depending on the behavioral alternatives (Green, 2002). Managers and leaders use the theory in facilitating better understanding between outcomes and the performance of the employees. In most cases, the theory advises managers and leaders to tie the available rewards to the direct performance of the employees. It is worth noting that employees are motivated by different things, managers and leaders must make sure that the employees are willing to accept the form of rewards offered (Green, 2002).

Expectancy theory reflects on the mental processes that are involved in the selection of choices. The theory considers motivation as a critical component in the organizational behavior as expressed by Vroom in the theory. Better performance of the organization is attached to added effort offered by the employees to the organization, hence advancing the employee productivity and capabilities.

            Case Study (Management Situation)

            The company offers branded professional audio products, with the organization marketing itself in audio products of the highest quality. The company has set high production goals which are spearheaded by a new production process. It is worth noting that the human capital within the company is not motivated to carry out the changes. Supervisors and employees are not motivated to offer high production goals and standards. Supervisors are not committed to attaining high production goals and standards, the supervisors are capable of realizing high production goals and standards with motivation.

            Employees within the company are against the high production goals and standards. Supervisor B had informally discussed the issues with the employees of supervisor A and realized that some of employees argued that the high production goals and standards involved more physical movements or hand dexterity. The extra effort needed was not worth the high production goals and standards. There exists no difference in salaries among employees who accomplish and those who fail to accomplish the department goals. The organizational culture was not supporting the high production goals and standards basing on slow performance of employees and changes in salaries and finally on the fact the bonus paychecks were so small to guarantee the extra effort. Most employees preferred overtime over bonus paychecks.

            Expectancy theory of motivation is critical in defining the motivation of the workforce within this company. Top management teams within the company will use the theory in understanding how the supervisors A, B and employees on an individual basis are motivated. Once the supervisors and employees are motivated, they will be willing to meet the high production goals and standards. Top management teams in return will develop useful decisions on what motivates the supervisors and employees depending on the behavioral alternatives (Green, 2002). Top management teams in the company will use the theory in facilitating better understanding between outcomes and the performance of the employees. The theory will advise the top management teams on tying the available rewards to the direct performance of the employees.

Employees and Supervisors are motivated by varying circumstances, top management teams have the responsibility of making sure that the employees are willing to accept the form of rewards that will be offered by the company (Green, 2002). Supervisors and employees are motivated by personal thanks, praise in public, facilitating two way communications, offering feedback, responding to any form of queries, tailoring the rewards to individual employees. Other ways of motivating supervisors and employees are in offering a happy-work environment, setting a clear direction, high involvement, reasonable rewards, development of employees, training of employees, sense of ownership and celebration among others. Top management teams within the company must communicate the benefits of the changes for the organization and also for the employees, this is critical in gaining rapport.

Expectancy theory will reflect on the mental processes involved in the selection of choices among the supervisors and employees. The theory has considered motivation as a critical component in the organizational behavior as expressed by Vroom in the theory. Better performance of the organization through gaining high production goals and standards is attached to the added effort offered by the employees to the organization, hence advancing the employee productivity and capabilities.

References

Green, T. B. (2002). Performance and Motivation Strategies for Today’s Workforce: A Guide to Expectancy Theory Applications. Westport, Connecticut: Quorum Books .

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