Expectancy Theory of Motivation at Use in the Workplace Essay

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What is Motivation? Motivation is a word popularly used to explain why people behave as they do. Some psychologists and scientists view motivation as the factor that determines behavior, as expressed in the phrase “all behavior is motivated” (World Book, 1992). Some scientists view motivation as the factor that energizes behavior. According to this viewpoint, motivation provides the energy in behavior, while habits, abilities, and skills give direction. or in the case of this task, guidance to what to do. The Expectancy Theory of Motivation is constantly at work in any organization that has employees.

Most employees come to work because they get paid, doesn’t matter if they enjoy the type of work they are doing. Enjoying the work is another benefit all together. Employees generally make choices from the opportunities that are available and the probability of realizing valuable outcomes. This mindset helps determine how much energy and enthusiasm an employee is going to use in achieving these goals. This should be the same for this company even though a new production process has been implemented. The three key components and relationships in the expectancy theory of motivation are expectancy, instrumentality, and valence, remain the same.

Expectancy (Effort-Performance Relationship) is the perceived probability of success. It refers to the degree, to which a person believes that their efforts will lead to the completion of a task. The perception of that individual is that the effort that they put forward will actually result in the accomplishment of the preferred performance. Expectancy is heavily weighted by an employee’s personality, past experiences and self-confidence. Some of the employees have said they cannot be successful with that process because it requires more hand dexterity than they believe they are capable of.

As a result, their attitude for motivation is low to non-existent. If an employee believes they can’t be successful, regardless of the rewards, he or she will have little to no motivation. The managers should figure out what they need to do to adjust the workings to employee success. How can they as managers make it easier for those with difficulties to obtain the preferred success in their effort? Perhaps management can begin by setting aside some time and implementing additional training in the new process. Even implementing some hand dexterity exercises employees can participate in each morning.

There are many easy hand dexterity exercises developed simply to massage and stretch the joints and muscles of the hand, creating greater strength, flexibility and coordination. As with all forms of exercise, attitude is the key to success. A poor attitude can lead to a lack of motivation to continue, so the employees must bring a good attitude to the table. Instrumentality (Performance-Reward Relationship) is the correlation or link between success and accomplishing a goal (Porter and Lawler, 1988). It refers to the probability that their performance will lead to a desired reward (valence).

This reward may come in the form of a pay increase, promotion, recognition or sense of accomplishment. It is important to note that when it is perceived that valued rewards follow all levels of performance, in other words, no matter what you do or don’t do, the reward is the same; then performance is low. In sports, for example, if a football coach is known to give varsity letters to everyone on the team, regardless of their execution level, then performance is low, but if varsity letters are based on accomplishments on the football field, then performance is high.

Some of the employees haven’t put forth any effort to master the new process. Those who have mastered the process to the point that they can readily make it work are not putting forth enough effort to reach the production goals the company has given. Even those who can readily make the process work and who are often top producers are not concerned about achieving the goals. In questioning, some who do not have difficulty with the process feel that it is not worth putting in extra effort to reach the production goals, because there is usually no difference in salary among those who meet department goals and those who don’t.

Employees believe that workers at the company have to be very slow before performance will have a negative impact on their salary. Employees are not being held accountable for their performance efforts, basically, those who are top producers are rewarded the same as those who aren’t. Treating employees fairly by rewarding successful performance, and critiquing unsuccessful performance will go a long way in increasing motivation and productivity. Having said that, a reworking of the reward system may change all that as well as provide the motivation that these employees need.

Their motivation can become, “If I produce more than anyone else in the company, will I get the biggest raise? Or maybe a faster promotion? Or maybe extra time off? ” I believe that implementation of a fair pay and reward systems in the company will have a positive effect on all the employee’s performance perceptions. Valence (Reward-Personal Goals Relationship) is the value of realizing a goal, or achievement. It can be said that valences refer to the level of satisfaction people expect to get from the outcome, as opposed to the actual satisfaction they get once they have attained the reward (Valence, 2006).

According to management, the employees believe that when a bonus is given for reaching production goals, the amount that shows on paychecks (after all withholdings) is so small that it’s not worth the effort. In comparison, overtime pay for a few extra hours more than offsets the benefit of a bonus. So for employees this brings about questions such as, “do I want a bonus? Is it even worth the extra effort? Do I really want a promotion? ” If the answer is yes, then a positive valence can be achieved.

If the employee believes that outcomes associated with successful task completion will be negative; fatigue, stress, and lack of recognition, then it will have no value for that employee. Making sure the valence is important to the employee is vital. It may take a little effort, but management must discover what the employee values. Relying solely on monetary rewards may not be the way. Perhaps an employee that values time with their family; offer them time off instead of pay, or an employee who values a certain job assignment; training in that position can be offered.

Some employees may require nothing more than recognition, and that can be used as reward. There are many forms of reward that can be implemented and used as successful motivation. In conclusion, expectancy, instrumentality, and valence are codependent and necessary for proper motivation in the workplace. Employees want to believe they will be rewarded for their effort(s) and the amount of effort they are willing to put in is based on their belief of a reward (Vroom, 2009).

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