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Understanding the Expectancy Theory of Motivation Just Got Easier

Expectancy Theory of Motivation
It is the author's intention to explore the motivating forces that propel the employees to achieve the set targets, by delving into the Expectancy Theory of Motivation. Undermentioned are the essential components that constitute the theory.
Aparna Iyer
Last Updated: Apr 5, 2018
The Expectancy Theory of Motivation was developed by Victor Vroom of the Yale School of Management, in the year 1964. He was of the opinion that people made a conscious choice, while deciding whether or not to perform at the workplace. However, the choice made by the employee depended entirely on the employee's level of motivation, which in turn, was a function of three factors.
Understand the Theory
The expectancy theory is based on fulfilling the employee interest to cutthroat dissatisfaction. The apotheosis of satisfaction is what the theory ideally achieves. However, this component borders on an Utopian premise of co-relating the performance and payoffs. This, generally, is the case; however, not to a large extent. Expectations in the form of rewards is an emphasized component of this theory. Besides, the theory focuses on optimizing satisfaction that inadvertently leads to pleasure debilitating the quotient of pain.
The expectancy theory must imply that the employee receives rich rewards for the efforts invested. Opportunities must be provided to the employee to elevate his career graph. For this, an organization must design positions that are intellectually stimulating, challenging, and exciting. This motivates the employee prim his job opportunities.
The expectancy theory of motivation can be understood by examining the relationship between the attitudes of the employees, their perception regarding the feasibility of achieving the targets, and the rewards they hope to receive as a consequence of elevated performance.
Valence refers to the emotional orientation of a person with respect to the satisfaction that one hopes to receive. Does one expect to be satisfied on receiving rewards? Whether one is willing to thrust oneself in the midst of an anxiety-ridden situation, or is willing to give up almost anything in order to avoid a chaotic situation, depends entirely on one's mental makeup. However, this attitude would be the deciding factor to determine the level of employee motivation. It is evident that in order to be motivated, a person needs to perceive the reward as a highly desirable incentive.
Perceptions, after all, are a question of intrinsic beliefs. A person, who values money, will be motivated to work toward a goal that would ensure him/her of a better compensation. One who values peace of mind will do almost anything to shy away from work and responsibilities, if one perceives that these will not go hand in hand with the V sign.
Valence should not be confused with the actual satisfaction that one attains after accomplishing the target. It is the expected satisfaction that one hopes to experience after the attainment of the set goals. An employee, who is not positively oriented with respect to the perceived consequences of the attainment of goals, will have a zero valence.
Expectancy is a person's strength of convictions as regards the ability to attain goals. People, who desire the rewards that the management is expected to bestow upon them on account of superior performance, should have strong convictions regarding their ability to deliver.
An employee should feel that the efforts he/she would like to put into work would yield the desired results. It is ultimately a question of how confident one feels about oneself. A self-proclaimed achiever may be immensely confident of the ability to perform astoundingly, while a doubting Thomas may have an entirely different perspective.
An employee, who feels that the efforts will not yield the desired results in terms of achieving the set targets, will have a low probability of expectancy. Probability of an event can assume values between 0 and 1. How well an employee scores on this scale of confidence, will have a direct bearing on the employee's level of motivation.
Instrumentality refers to how convinced the employee is with regard to the management living up to its end of the bargain. The system of commissions, whereby the salesperson is compensated on achieving the set targets, is a good example of the perfect correlation between valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. Valence or the perception that one would be satisfied on achieving the targets, results in the salesperson conquering the set targets.
The targets, in turn were perceived attainable on account of the confidence that the salesperson had in his/her abilities. Valence and expectancy became instrumental in propelling the employee to achieve the targets, since the employee expected to be suitably compensated on reaching the end of the spectrum.
A motivated employee, thus, is the product of the perceived level of satisfaction, the confidence to achieve, and the rewards that the employee hopes to receive on achieving the set goals. In other words: Valence + Expectancy + Instrumentality = Motivation.