A Book Review: Work and Motivation
Missouri State University
Work and Motivation published in 1964 by Victor Vroom is a compilation of studies done by researchers in social psychology. Vroom’s main purpose for writing Work and Motivation was to link what has already been done in the field of social psychology into a piece from which future research could be derived. Work and Motivation is divided into five parts, the introductory speaks about the cognitive model, which funnels the entire book. Part two covers the choice of work role. Part three looks at the problem of satisfaction with work roles. Part four deals with the performance in work roles, then finally, part five, the conclusion which simply summarizes the entire book. This book review will be broken into eight parts. Chapters one and two are explained together because they embodied the essential points of the book. Each section thereafter will convey briefly the important parts of each chapter. Each had its own significance to Vroom’s ideology. It is important to note that the research done by Vroom was not all conclusive, in fact he stated many times that further work should be done to reach a final solution or explanation of the issue at hand. Work and Motivation laid the framework for future research and shortly after the expectancy theory was developed. 1 Introduction and Historical Perspective/ 2 Motivational- A Point of View The cognitive model is the main focus and often referred to throughout the whole book. The model entails the assumption that “the choices made by a person among alternative courses of action are lawfully related to psychological events occurring contemporaneously with the behavior” (Vroom, 14). Key concepts of the cognitive model include valence, also known as instrumentality, expectancy, and force. The term valence is referred to as affective orientations toward particular outcomes, which can result in either negative or positive valences (Vroom, 15). A person’s longing or distaste for something is dependent upon the associations they make with the intended outcomes. One is expected to choose choice A over choice B if choice A gives them the satisfaction they desire. Vroom presents two propositions, the first concerning valence: “The valence of an outcome to a person is a monotonically increasing function of the algebraic sum of the products of the valences of all other outcomes and his conceptions of its instrumentality for the attainment of these other outcomes” (Vroom, 17). The concept of expectancy is a momentary belief concerning the likelihood that a particular act will be followed by a particular outcome (Vroom, 17). In other words, expectancy is the belief that a result will occur because of an action, whether good or bad. Vroom explains that most decisions are done blindly and it is sometimes impossible to know the outcome before taking action, therefore causing one to take on a risk and rely on their expectations for outcomes. Vroom defines the concept of force as “behavior on the part of a person is assumed to be the result of a field of forces each of which has direction and magnitude” (Vroom, 18). Therefore, force is dependent upon what a person’s expectations are. If expectations are positive or negative the force will either decrease or increase; furthermore, if expectations are indifferent there will be no changes in force. The second proposition is derived from the concept of force, stated as: “The force on a person to perform an act is a monotonically increasing function of algebraic sum of the products of the valences of all outcomes and the strength of his expectancies that the act will be followed by the attainment of these outcomes” (Vroom, 19). Vroom points out that his two propositions are similar but vary in small context, the first predicts the valence of outcomes while the second proposition focuses on the actions one takes in response to the outcome. It is important that...
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