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Expectancy Theory

Expectancy theory is a theory in organizational behavior that explains motivation by studying the decision-making process. It looks at how people are motivated by their expectations of the probability of receiving a valued reward. This theory was proposed by Yale School of Management professor Victor Broom, who suggested that the decision-making process, not just desired outcomes, affected motivation.

There are three components to the expectancy theory: expectancy, instrumentality and valence. These three components together contribute to an individuals overall motivation.

  1. Expectancy: In the decision-making process, one’s expectations are the beliefs they hold that some expended effort will lead to a desired outcome or performance goal. One’s self-confidence, past experiences, and locus of control, along with the actual difficulty of the goal, affect one’s expectations.
  2. Instrumentality: In the decision-making process, instrumentality is ones belief in the probability of receiving some award based on ones performance. One perceives a higher probability of receiving a reward if performance based rewards are provided consistently, set out in written policies or procedures, or promised by a trustworthy manager. This probability must be linked to performance. If an individual believes he or she will receive a reward despite poor performance, motivation will be lower.
  3. Valence: Motivation is related to the value an individual places on an expected reward.

Victor H Vroom’s Most notable works include Work and Motivation (1994) (which outlines his expectancy theory), Leadership and Decision Making (1973), and The New Leadership (1988).

Organization Motivation Plans

Thoroughly identified significant elements of an organization motivation plan that encourages high job satisfaction, high productivity, high quality work, and low turnover (i.e., job flexibility, training, recognition).

Expectancy theory is applied.

Examine ideals and theories of making a workable plan to improve the emotional skills and competencies of people in the work place. Why do competencies need to be improved within a work place?

Expectancy Theory?

What are the key tenets of expectancy theory? What has research had to say about this theory?