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Behavioral Influences - Expectancy Theory of Motivation

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Task 317.1.1-06

Expectancy Theory: Theory and Relationships Defined

The Expectancy Theory as presented by Victor Vroom offers an explanation to the motivations behind employee performance and productivity. The theory states that "employees will be motivated to exert a high level of effort when they believe that effort will lead to a good performance appraisal; that a good appraisal will lead to organizational rewards such as a bonus, a salary increase, or a promotion; and that the rewards will satisfy the employees' personal goals." (Robbins& Judge, 2007)

There are three key relationship factors that determine an employee's willingness to put forth the effort to meet or exceed goals presented to them by their employers. These three are effort-performance relationship, performance-reward relationship and reward-personal goal relationship. All three of these are directly linked to the theory's definition in the previous paragraph.

The Effort-Performance Relationship is the direct relationship between an employee's effort towards a task and its effect on the employees performance review. An employee will evaluate if an effort is worth their time and energy by the likely hood of it affecting their performance review in a positive way. If the employee believes that any amount of effort will not get recognized they will not expend the energy to reach the company set goals.

The Performance-Reward Relationship goes one step further. This particular relationship is where the question of tangible reward comes into play, such as if an employee were to see a positive review as a result of their efforts, what are the chances of that positive review resulting in a bonus, salary increase or a promotion. If an employee sees the reward system to be unrelated to actual performance, performance will not be a focus for the employee.

Lastly, there is the Reward-Personal Goals Relationship, which can be one of the more difficult for a company to navigate. This relationship involves the employee evaluating the rewards received and if and how they benefited them in their personal goals. For instance, if an employee was working toward a promotion and the reward they were given was an increase in salary, the reward would not have helped them achieve their personal goal and as a result would not give them the motivation to work toward the success completion of the next project assigned to them. Chances are, the supervisor would get a minimal effort at best.

Relationships Applied

It is important that as an employer, you recognize that these relationships are based on perception and that it is not your perception, but your employees' perceptions that will determine the success of your efforts to increase motivation. You may want to take some time to listen to your employees' ideas, requests and grievances before you reconstruct a review/reward system. This is not to say that the employees should run the company, however, if it is perceived that you are making a real effort to work with them, your success is more likely.

We have the following as a given: A new process has been put into place in order for employees to meet the company's higher production goals. There has been some trouble with the employees under Supervisor A getting on board with the new program.

 Some of them do not seem to put forth any effort to master the 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.

Supervisor B has spoken informally to some of Supervisor A's employees about the



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