Literature Review: Expectancy Theory

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  • Topic: Motivation, Expectancy theory, Victor Vroom
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Running Head: Vroom’s Expectancy theory

Literature Review:
Vroom’s Expectancy theory

Literature review:
Pavel Smirnov
Vroom’s Expectancy theory
Word count:
Advanced Writing Skills, GEN 2133
Date 07.04.2013

Literature Review:0
Literature review:0
Pavel Smirnov0
Vroom’s Expectancy theory0
Advanced Writing Skills, GEN 21330
1Literature review2
1.2Expectancy Theory2
2Reference List5

Literature review

The expectancy theory of motivation has become an increasingly popular model for predicting work performance and job preference. The empirical tests of this model have typically employed correlation analysis to test the strength of the relationship between a measure of motivational force and the subjects' work performance ratings of their preferences for specific jobs. This research has been systematically examined in recent reviews of expectancy theory literature. Several major methodological problems and inconsistent interpretations of the expectancy model were identified, leading to at least one conclusion that, "The predictive power of the total (expectancy) theory is thus essentially unknown." Another shortcoming of the previous empirical studies is that they focused solely on the question of whether the expectancy model could reliably predict the dependent variables of work performance or job preferences. (Van Eerde, W., & Thierry, H. 1996) Expectancy Theory

Vroom (1964) defined expectancy as a subjective probability of an action or effort (e) leading to an outcome or performance (p) expressed as e -• p. In practice, expectancy has also been measured as the perceived relation or correlation between an action and an outcome. In addition, expectancy has been interpreted as the subjective probability that effort leads to the outcome of performance or second-level outcome (o) expressed as e -• o. The latter view confounds expectancy with instrumentality (p -• o). In order to establish whether the original definition is related to higher effect sizes, we coded expectancy of an action (e -• p) and expectancy of second level outcomes (e -• o). Although Vroom (1964) conceptualized expectancy as having more than one level, we decided to include the measurement of one level of expectancy because this type of measurement was a rule rather than an exception. Summated expectancy scores, however, were not included because we considered these as too distant from the original conceptualization. (Oliver, R. L. 1974). Expectancy theory has three central components: (1) expectancy – one’s belief that effort leads to performance, (2) instrumentality – one’s belief that performance will lead to outcomes, and (3) valence – one’s evaluation of the attractiveness of the outcomes. Together, these three factors predict an individual’s level of motivation. While there has been support for expectancy theory through the years, there are two major criticisms. First, researchers have debated whether to use an additive or multiplicative model. The results of a recent meta-analysis by Van Eerde and Thierry (1996) advocated the use of the additive model over any of the multiplicative models. Second, there has been a debate on the use of within-subject versus between-subjects methodologies. Vroom (1964) theorized that expectancy theory would best predict a person’s behavior from a choice of a set of possible behaviors (within-subject). However, in the context of an academic class, each student has already decided to take the test, which indicates that passing the class is the primary outcome for which students are motivated. Thus, a between-subjects design is appropriate for the type of research question examined in this study (Sanchez et al., 2000). Given the multi-dimensional nature of expectancy theory, each of the three unique factors should have an influence on the self-regulation of performance over time....
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