Expectancy Theory is a process theory of motivation emphasizing individual perceptions of the environment and interactions as a result of personal expectations (Issac, 2001). The theory evaluates the outcomes of employees’ behavior by measuring individual possible actions. Based on three vital factors that are expectancy, instrumentality, and valence, expectancy models help us understand why some employees are more motivated than others. Here is one question arising how this theory can be applied to the group activity. For the first step, the expectancy is the belief one’s effort will result in attainment of desired performance goals. In the view of this theory, when participants for the group activity received the papers to make a paper airplane, they might have doubted the success of the activity. Some said that even though participants put a lot of effort, it would not result in the successful performance. However, most of them, including our group, went the extra mile by developing their ideas to success the activity. Why did they think differently toward the same performance task? One of the reasons is that the participator group seemed to be likely to feel less comfortable. From the perspective of this theory, participants, putting an extra effort might have had higher self-efficacy that is defined a primary determinant of the expectancy. The reasons they had higher self-efficacy were their past accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional cues (Colquitt, Lepine, & Wesson, 2013). From their past experiences, they might have more knowledge of making the airplane. Also, the member of their groups encouraged each other so that they could feel more confident to challenge the task. The instrumentally, the belief that if one meets performance expectations, he/she will receive a greater reward, is followed after the expectancy. Within the given time limit, the participants focused on how they made the specific style of paper airplanes. As the professor’s instruction, every airplane we made correctly would count towards profit, and every plane made incorrectly would count against profit. We believed that we could gain profit by carefully looking at the model and emulating its example. The last step is valence, referring the value individuals place on rewards with their performance. The example of valence can be the question showing that the outcome is worth the expenditure of time and effort. In fact, due to individual differences, people often assign different valences to rewards, such as bonus or incentive. In this activity, most participants were more motivated when they believed successful performance helped them gain profit. These outcomes attained are the factor called “extrinsic motivation” affecting the act of performance task (Colquitt, Lepine, & Wesson, 2013). For example, when money stimulates people’s desire and boosts their performance outcomes, we were influenced by the belief we could make profit. Some seemed to have more intrinsically motivated by enjoining the situation. Based on the expectancy theory, participants with higher total motivation (both intrinsic and extrinsic) for rewards seemed to have higher successful performance than do those with lower motivation for rewards. However, none of our planes met specifications. As a result, none were accepted, and we made no profit. The reward would have occurred if each member had been successful in achieving the goal to which the reward was attached. In this activity, we could examine the relationship between motivational rewards and actual conduct. Even though none of us demonstrate the actual relationship, we could see the situation that people with higher motivation were willing to show an enthusiastic attitude. They might have more potential than others with lower motivation. Thus, motivation is merely one of crucial factors to reach a goal according to expectancy theory.
Colquitt, J. A., Lepine. J. A, & Wesson, M. J....
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