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Corporate Communication: Work-related Communication Problem Essay

A work-related communication problem in corporate communication

An examination of how an organization can motivate it employees by promoting effective communication based on the Expectancy value theory and Uncertainty reduction theory.

General Summary of the Problems of This Type

The main purpose of human relations is to promote a highly productive workforce that will contribute towards the realization of organizational goals. However, it is a challenging task to persuade employees to conform to organization’s culture and goals.

In order for persuasion process to be successful, the listener must be in a position to accept the arguments presented by the speaker (Gupta, 2011). In case the listener does not accept the arguments presented by the speaker, the persuasion cannot be successful.

Expectancy Value Theory

The expectancy value theory of motivation is a theory that mainly seeks to predict and explain individuals’ attitudes towards certain things or issues. This theory involves the calculations that individuals make in developing attitudes towards certain things. It was founded by Martin Fishbein. Every individual has their own goals that they intend to achieve.

Our attitudes have a significant effect on our behavior, intent, and goals (Anja et al., 2010). In communication, it involves the social influence especially attitude and the attitude change. This theory has played a significant role especially in humans relations. It has been used by several organizations in their human relations strategies.

Based on this theory, behavior can be viewed as a function of expectancy that one has as well as the goal to which one is determined to realize (Anja et al., 2010).

This idea is usually applied in many circumstances by individuals when faced by different behavior possibilities. For instance, one will tend to choose the combination of behavior that will yield the largest combination of expected success.

The value expectancy theory posits that all people are goal oriented beings. In day to day activities, individuals are involved in behaviors that tend to optimize their needs. That is, maximization of the benefits and minimization of the risks.

Therefore, the behavior people perform in accordance to their beliefs and values are determined by their ends (Anja et al., 2010).

Before taking any particular course of action, individuals are involved in a number of calculations in order to come up with appropriate courses of actions that will tend to maximize their benefits. Evaluation involves the degree of affect either positive or negative that affects an individual.

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Uncertainty reduction theory was initially posed as axioms whose main target was explanation of describing the relationship between uncertainty and various communication factors. This theory was mainly developed in an effort to describe the relationship between several factors in dyadic exchange (Jennifer & Haunani, 2008).

These include verbal communication, information seeking behavior, reciprocity, non-verbal expressiveness, liking, similarity and intimacy (Jennifer & Haunani, 2008). This theory is attributed to the work of Berger and Calabrese.

In every situation, uncertainty is not desired and therefore need for motivation. In day to day encounters, people do communicate in order to reduce uncertainty. The process of reducing uncertainty can be viewed to follow a pattern which involves several stages.

These stages include entry, personal, and exit. In the entry stage, various aspects like sex, age, economy and other demographic information is accessed (Jennifer & Haunani, 2008). In this stage, interactions are basically determined by the norms and rules of communication.

The personal stage commences when individuals begins to share values, beliefs, and other personal data. At this stage, individuals decide to feature their interaction plans (Jennifer & Haunani, 2008). At this point, the communicators may liaise in making decisions on how to maintain a good relationship among them.

According to Berger, there are three main ways though which people seeks information about other people. These include the passive strategies, active strategies, and interactive strategies. People are always determined to improve their capability to predict their own and other peoples’ behavior.

The degree of similarity also plays a significant role in reducing the degree of uncertainty in a communication. The more people are close in terms of attitudes, appearance, and backgrounds; the low is the level of uncertainty in their operations.

Expectancy value theory; Discussion, Strength and Weaknesses

Over the past, the Expectancy theory has been used by a number of people. The value expectancy theory has been used in explanation of expectation value theories. These include the behavioral decision theory, Rotter’s social learning theory, and Fishbein’s theory of reasoned action.

This theory therefore plays a major role by laying a foundation for better understanding of the human behavior. Through the application of the expectancy theory, an organization is able to clearly understand the importance of employee motivation. Consequently, employees will perform better and become more loyal to the community.

Despite of these strengths, the value expectancy theory suffers from the fact that it is difficult to quantify the value of rewards and performance.

This may undermine the accuracy or application of this method in certain issues. Also, rewards may not be necessarily connected to the effort and the performance. For instance, rewards in a certain organization may be determined by various factors like education levels, job skills or may be contractual.

This theory makes very critical assumptions that all the necessities are in place. However, this is not always the case. An organization needs to have the necessary resources in order to be in a position to perform certain functions.

Uncertainty reduction theory; Strengths and Weaknesses

The main advantage of the uncertainty reduction theory is that it enables an organization to understand the importance of facilitating communication within the organization in order to improve on performance. By facilitating communication, an organization is able to minimize the level of uncertainty (Cornelissen 2004).

The main weakness of this method is that it assumes that all information passed is constructive. In some cases, destructive information may be passed across an organization, the fact that may lead to negative results.

Theory Application In Understand the Problem and Ways of Improving Communication

According to value theory, when expectancy, instrumentality and valence are met, an individual will become motivated (Gupta, 2011). The higher the internal force exerted on an individual, the more an individual will be motivated towards the realization of organizational goals. This aspect is very important in motivating employees in an organization.

There are several measures that an organization can apply in order to motivate its employees. For instance, an organization must be able to recognize the efforts of its employees. This can be done through promotions, financial motivation or any other kind of rewards.

By so doing, an organization will be able to exert motivational pressure on its employees (Melcher and Beller1967). Through continued rewarding process for employees’, performance, motivational pressure is developed among the employees. Consequently, employees will improve their performance significantly.

According to expectancy value theory, individuals’ behavior is significantly determined by their expectations or goals. When presented with a set of behaviors, an individual will be more inclined towards the behavior that tends to maximize their expectations.

This can be very important to an organization in effort to maximize the performance of its work force. Employees will always be tempted to engage themselves in behaviors that tend to maximize their benefits (Argenti 2007).

They will be more encouraged to engage in those practices which will help them meet their personal goals. For instance, in case there is a certain reward proposed by an organization for meeting certain targets, employees will be more determined to meet the targets set in order to get the reward. In this case, employees will be working harder in order to achieve the reward to meet their needs.

On the other hand, the uncertainty reduction theory emphasizes on the importance of communication in reducing uncertainties. This theory recognizes three stages in communication. These include entry, personal, and exit. This aspect can be applied in an organization.

In the beginning of communication process, individuals are in tension but this tension is neutralized in the final stage (Goodman 1994). This indicates the need for an organization to promote continued communication across the organization.

According to this theory, the less the differences among individuals, the lower will be the level of uncertainty. People will be able to communicate more freely when they share values. Therefore, an organization can promote communication among employees by promoting common culture.


In conclusion, this discussion has clearly revealed that the expectancy value theory and the uncertainty reduction theory can play a significant role in motivating employees in an organization. By applying these theories, an organization is able to realize the importance of motivating individuals.

This plays a significant role in promoting the overall performance of employees within an organization. When the productivity of employees increases, an organization is able to realize its goals effectively.

The expectancy value theories allow the employees to understand the factors that motivate employees within an organization. This understanding enables an organization to adopt the most appropriate measures that will maximize employees’ level of satisfaction.

References List

Anja, V. et al. (2010). Unemployed Individuals’ Work Values and Job Flexibility: An Explanation from Expectancy-Value Theory and Self-Determination Theory. Applied Psychology: an International Review, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p296-317. 2010.

Argenti, P.A. (2007). Strategic Corporate Communication. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Cornelissen, J. (2004). Corporate Communications: Theory And Practice. London: SAGE.

Goodman, M. (1994). Corporate Communication: Theory And Practice. New York: SUNY Press.

Gupta, S. (2011). Enhancing the Role of Corporate Communications: A Practice-based Approach. Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p114-132.

Jennifer, T. and Haunani, S. (2008). Parsing the Mechanisms that Increase Relational Intimacy: The Effects of Uncertainty Amount, Open Communication About Uncertainty, and the Reduction of Uncertainty. Human Communication Research, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p625-654.

Melcher, A. J. and Beller, R. (1967). Toward a Theory of Organization Communication: Consideration in Channel Selection. Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p39-52.

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