LET1: Leadership Concepts and Application
In the business community employee motivation has long been a major concern for managers. There have been many theories that endeavor to explain motivation, and the underlying stimuli that affect it. One of the more widely accepted of these theories is the expectancy theory.
Victor Vroom originated the expectancy theory of motivation in 1964 (Sandler, 2008). His theory is comprised of three main principles: valence, instrumentality, and expectancy, which has led to it often being referred to as the VIE theory (Roper, Grau, and Fischer, 2006). To get a better understanding of the basics of the theory, the three variables need to be analyzed individually.
Expectancy is linked to the relationship of effort to performance. This is the conviction that if the person expends the effort they will successfully perform as required. The basis of this perception is; knowledge gained from performance of similar tasks, how challenging they feel actual performance will be, and the self-assurance of the individual (Scholl, 2002). Once the person anticipates accomplishment of the goal, they then can relate performance to the reward.
Vroom’s idea of instrumentality has to do with the correlation of performance to reward. This is the belief of the individual that if they perform or reach their goal they will receive the desired reward. This may be partially dependent on the person’s trust that management will follow-through and provide the promised reward (Scholl, 2002). Having concluded that through performance the goal can be attained, and will be rewarded, a determination must be made as to the value of the reward.
Valence is how valuable the reward is to the person involved, and may be either positive or negative. Being both personal and distinct, valence varies from person to person (Scholl, 2002). For example: if the reward is a promotion, but along with the promotion comes a requirement to work extended hours, the advancement may be of sufficient value to be worthwhile to one person; however, to another person with extensive outside interests, this may not be so attractive. The dominance of perception, as illustrated in the previous example, is an important aspect of the expectancy theory.
Expectancy theory is based on the perceptions of the individual. Motivation will be low should the person perceive that the goal is unattainable, that even if the objective is met that they will not be rewarded, or the reward is regarded as of little value. Conversely, if the perception is that the goal can be achieved, will be rewarded, and the reward is of ample value, then motivation will be high. It has become obvious that to apply the expectancy theory it is not necessary to make drastic overall changes to a process, it is only essential to change the perceptions of those involved.
In order to apply the expectancy theory in the given scenario, first it should be determined which particular perceptions need to be addressed. By looking at the responses that Supervisor B received from his informal query, there is insight into what would be required.
First, some have the perception that they are incapable of attaining the established goals due to a lack of dexterity. This low expectancy could be raised by providing additional training and exercises that increase dexterity. By implementing training in conjunction with encouragement from the trainer and supervisor that the employee is improving, and can be successful in reaching the set standard, their perception can be changed thus positively influencing expectancy. As perception is increased that performance is possible, it is also necessary to ensure that the workers trust that they will receive the promised reward.
In the specified case, instrumentality would conceivably be the easiest measure of expectancy theory to realize. The reasoning begins with