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Balancing Expectations of Superiors and Subordinates Essay

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Updated: Jan 11th, 2019


The measure of expectancy theory depends on attitude of employees as the only measure for their relationships (DuBrin, 388, 2008). Every person has a different perception of achieving firm’s set targets/goals.

They also have various personal targets such as the anticipate goals set during their elevated efforts in performances. The expectancy theory is one of the standardized measures of how people make their own business decisions depending on the differences of behavioural patterns, which determine the alternatives they are likely to choose.

These behavioural patterns are known as the motivational forces (MF) over tasks, actions or business conducts, which determines performance (DuBrin, 388, 2008). According DuBrin (388, 2008), Vroom’s Expectancy theory presents the motivational force as a measure that depends on three factors namely, Valence, expectancy and instrumentality. Motivational force is thus a product of the three factors.

MF= Valence * Expectancy * Instrumentality

Reference of the Expectancy theory

The emotional point of reference that each employee has towards satisfactory achievement of personal goals refers to valence. One needs to place some motivating goals such as the rewards they anticipate at the end of the contract.

These rewards can be needs, goals or personal values such as better remuneration packages, promotion, and engagement into a program. From the case study, Andrew’s valence was the promised nomination for the firm’s management course, which would provide opportunity for possible posting as a future executive.

Andrew anticipated higher income was indirect since his primary concern was possibility of getting promotion to a management position after the firm’s managerial studies. The program sponsored by the company is highly respected since upon completion, successful learners have high possibilities of becoming executives in the firm. Andrew hard and long input hours were in the aim of securing a place at the program.

Valence depends on one’s expectations of satisfaction. It is a force that makes people to react differently for a given situation for instance, the position one get appointed to may be having situations that cause a lot of anxiety but one can give in all other aspirations, to achieve the goals amidst crisis. It is individual’s attitude towards determining the motivational levels.

These personal perceptions are subject to intrinsic beliefs for instance, a person might shy away from a task or role due to value for personal peace of mind, while those with greater value for money will work towards the goals to enhance their pays.

Valence is therefore not the final product or satisfaction that one gets after attaining a goal, but the expectations for some personal goals (DuBrin, 389, 2008). This means that employees who lack motivating factors have zero valences. They have negative point of reference or find no need of attaining goals.

Contrary David felt that Andrew had not attained the require competence to get a nomination for a position to the graduates ‘management training program due to the reports about his performance on the assigned tasks, and this injured his further prospects in the firm. According to DuBrin (389, 2008), Expectancy Theory indicates that expectancy is a personal conviction over ability or strength to meet firm or self-set targets/goals.

It is personal desire to achieve expected levels, especially those set by the management. The desire makes one to have a strong conviction over personal ability to deliver, therefore one is able to place expectancy based on prior analysis of efforts and performance on similar tasks. At the attachment and casual levels, Andrew had the submissive and agreeing personality that went well with the supervisors as well as the customers.

This good quality made him a good sales person and presented him as an amiable personality among his clients who had become regular customers. His advice to clients enhanced his relationship with supervisors since it was crucial for their decision-making and need to return to the store. His reputation at the store during internship and casual programs was excellent and the relationship with the store manager caused his recall after his six-month certificate course to serve as the assistant manager. David was sure that

Andrew would meet the expectancy levels based on his prior performances.

The recall also boosted Andrew’s confidence and therefore all along he expected that his efforts would lead to anticipated performance. He was sure that positive interactions with others and hard work would improve customer experiences, and consequently improve sales. Andrew was a self-proclaimed achiever as indicated by his actions.

He was immensely confident of achieving the set objective of enhancing employees- customers’ relationship and gain a subsequent accomplishment of his set-objective, to win nomination for the prestigious company’s managerial course. Contrary, when an employee feels that the efforts may fail to meet the set targets, their probable expectations are lower. The level of confidence determines the employees’ expectancy and eventually boosts motivational levels.

In accordance with McShane et al (331, 2010) Expectancy Theory indicates that when the employee is confidence enough, the managements are ready to live up to the end of the bargain since his involvement is a good deal. This influential or convincing level is termed as instrumentality. European clubs bargain for good international athletes and are often ready to pay highly since they eventually anticipate better results and consequently better financial benefits for their clubs.

Instrumentality is therefore the probability that a certain engagement will deliver better outcomes based on the relationship between prior perceived performances and offered rewards. It is a personal believe that ability to meet performance levels translates to better or hefty rewards. In most firms people believe that better performances such as better production leads to bigger rises in salary or levels of command.

Various companies offer commission for achievement of certain levels of performances. In such a situation, employees will be motivated to achieve the set level for the material gains.

The companies therefore fail to establish a better, constant method of motivation. The extra gain is the valence since it creates satisfaction. The set target is achievable, but it depends on one’s confidence over ability. In such a case, the valence and personal expectancy of higher compensation are very instrumental in determining possibilities of working hard to realize the set target.

In line with Gitman and McDaniel (246, 2008), “The product between perceived levels of satisfaction, the personal confidence of achieving the level and the rewards that one hopes to achieve makes up a motivated person.” “Valence* Expectancy* Instrumentality = Motivation”. Since motivation forces is a product of the three factors, if any of them is zero, then there is lack of a motivating force.

During the call up, Andrew was assigned role of restructuring the employee’s relationships with clients across the entire city store. His confidence emerged due to fact that most colleagues liked him even better than they liked their manager. They were free to discuss with him various business challenges and follow his guidance.

This was a boost on his expectancy probability and his confidence that his efforts would deliver required results. Andrew’s confidence strengthened his instrumental probability to meet the set expectations and therefore receive the promised reward. The reward was his immediate valence to win nomination for the prestigious management-training program.

Equity Theory of employees’ Motivation

According to Gitman and McDaniel (247, 2008), equity theory of employees motivation determines the relationship between the drudgery of an employee and the fairness of the management’s actions against their work. Berating staff due to failure to meet achievements is common in many organizations or firms.

There is a great correlation between an employee’s perception of supervisors’ treatments and efforts required for the task. This relationship determines the motivational level and any future decisions. Equity theory enables employees to find a balance between their input to a job/task and output (Gitman and McDaniel, 247, 2008).

The employees unconsciously place values for their contributions such as time factor (amount of time lost), qualifications, contributed experience, strength and capabilities. The output values are often promotion (status or power gains), recommendation, monetary gains, work flexibility, variety and perquisites, some of which one is able to gain after a promotion.

Andrew perceived David’s decision to nominate a colleague instead for the management course as unfair and considered a quit would be better than another year’s wait. His efforts were enormous since he had follow-up programs for the employees and worked extra hours due to the expectancy probability of winning the nomination. Although the efforts were great, he lacked strategy and evaluation procedures. Lengthy sessions were devoted to training and solving individual problems to perfect their presentations.

He forgot that the performance analysis, mainly analysis of company’s income from sales would be the key determinant of performance and not the employees’ abilities. At one time, Andrew considered the performance analysis to be David’s task and confidently thought that his strategies would deliver better results. This was a clear indication that achievement depends on performance of various people in the organization; therefore, cooperation and guidance are key aspects of performance.

Comparison of Case to Expectancy Theory

According to DuBrin (289, 2008), on expectancy theory, a highly motivated person is one who is able to achieve his/her valence, but achievement is also measurable in terms of whether the rewards are measurable to the efforts. Fair treatment therefore comes in when the remuneration is equivalent or close to the work input.

Although fair treatment is essential, employees should not be treated equally, despite others measuring up better in terms of their contributions to the firm. In line with DuBrin, (289, 2008), over rewarded employees perform better and have better produce compared to the under-rewarded employees.

David’s failure to nominate Andrew was a clear indication that there existed conflict over their valence. Andrew worked towards achieving the nomination from his supervisor, while David focused on his bonus gains after enormous sales volumes. However, there is negligence from both since Andrew would have found some means of determining his performances other than basing on possibility of performing better as per the employee’s responses.

David on the other hand should have been involved in evaluation procedures and thus offer guidance early enough to avoid poor outcomes that were converse to expectations. Andrew deserved better treatment and encouragement even when he failed to meet the sales levels. He had achieved the set goal of improving customer experiences but in a different manner, which failed to be productive enough.

Andrew felt the urge to quit and find something different such as enrol for the commerce degree elsewhere because his instrumental probability in line with expectancy theory has failed thus killing his motivating factor (Gitman and McDaniel, 247, 2008).

His output as the assistant manager at city store was in vain, since it was the only bridge for the managerial course and consequently long-term prosperity at Myer Company. Andrew was being compelled by consequences. According to Gitman and McDaniel (246, 2008), reinforcement theory states that behaviour exists as a meaning of one’s consequences.

The manager’s decision not to nominate him shutters Andrew’s self-confidence. Instead of just indicating his intentions of nominating one of Andrew’s colleagues for the program, David would have taken time to review Andrew’s performance together with him and point out the problems that caused failure. Providing alternative offered would also not shutter his motivation to a point of forfeiting his job for a different option.

Clarification and alternative rewards encourage employees to work smarter or work on the same tasks/situations, since their instrumental probability is still in existence although lowered. Poor relationship between managers and subordinates creates discouragement and feeling of failure among the subordinates. They often cannot question the responsibility of the manager and thus endure the whole burden solemnly.


Good Working Relationships

It is important to have good working relationships between managers and subordinates. The work relationship between David and Andrew must have gone wrong considering that David had initially promised Andrew direct nomination into the management program, as long as he performed well as assistant manager during his first six months of service.

Placing personal needs ahead of others destroys performances since there are high possibilities of obliterating any existing motivation among subordinates. David had a slow and hierarchical career progress, where he worked very hard in various companies to progress to the next level.

He did not have job mentors and considered his experience as an essential business learning procedure. Due to his prior business-performance relationship with Andrew at Myre, David believed in Andrew’s excellence and knew that by engaging him as assistant manager, he would improve the aspect of customer courtesy across the entire store.

This would eventually improve the store’s performances and he would gain better bonuses. On the other hand, having been awarded team responsibility in various sections of the store, Andrew found this to be an opportunity to prove and market his leadership skills among them for a possible senior management position in the future. They were both acting selfishly for some personal gains or relating to personal prior experiences.


DuBrin, A. J. (2008). Essentials of Management. Ohio, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning Publishers.

Gitman, L. J. & McDaniel, C. (2008). The Future of Business: The Essentials. Ohio, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning Publishers.

McShane, S., Olekalns, M. and Travaglione, T. (2010). Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim. 3rd Edition. North Ryde: McGraw-Hill Australia.

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