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Expectancy Theory in Motivation Management Essay

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Updated: Jun 25th, 2020


Expectancy theory was developed in 1964 by Victor Vroom of Yale School of Management. It tries to relate the ways that human resources can be motivated in their day to day duties. Motivation is the drive an individual has; it makes him persevere to attain set goals either in life or in an organization. People have different personalities and so are they motivated by different things. Ones motivator is not static but changes with among others age, economic status, and social status. An organization requires both human and physical resources to attain its set goals and objectives.

Management should attain company’s set goals. Motivation is a continuous process; attainment of one goal leads to another goal and a different motivational system. A motivation system/process is a combination of variable with the expected end result as an increased enthusiasm and morale in ones work (Oneil and Drillings, 1994). Expectancy theory is of the opinion that employees perform better when they realize that their efforts will be rewarded and recognized. This paper discusses expectancy theory; it does so using a hypothetical case study.

Explain the three key components and relationships in the expectancy theory of motivation

The theory of expectancy is based on three main components and relationships. The components do not work in isolation but they jointly are applicable to situations at different extent determined by personality of individual employees. These relationships are;

Effort – performance”

The center of attention here is on the possibility that the individual’s exertion be distinguished in his performance evaluation. If there is a system that recognizes efforts, then employees will be motivated and put more efforts in all they do in anticipation of recognition during appraisal. The theory recognizes that employees need to be rewarded if they perform their duties diligently. Different people are motivated by different things/actions and thus recognizing the best way of motivating them is crucial in an effective motivational system.


The relationship between good performance and reward by the company are recognized by the theory. A company adopting this theory should have a good system which recognizes a well performance by members. This gives a connection between a reward and performance; it reasons from the angle that if employees when appraised are rewarded accordingly, they are likely to be motivated and produce more output in anticipation of rewards. From this angle the efficiency management should maintain a well structured appraisal method that recognizes and reward performance. On the same line, there should be punishment mechanisms which ensure that those people who do not perform are warned. The punishment mechanism should be adequate enough to teach an offender a lesson at the same time deter the occurrence of a similar behavior in the future, by the same person and by others (Robbins and Judge, 2010).

Rewards-personal goals

It entails the charisma of the probable incentive to the individual. The aim is to encourage personal innovations and creativity by having a system that rewards these personal initiatives. It aims at rewarding ones talent, expertise or area of professionalism which adds more value to an organization. If rewarded it encourages creativity, innovation, and exploitations of ones talent as one anticipates high reward.

Explain how you would apply the expectancy theory of motivation in the given scenario

Before explaining how the theory can be adopted in the scenario of branded professional audio products manufacturers, let’s understand issues in employees;

Supervisors of A’s has not fully appreciated the new system

This is repelling to change; when change has been effected in a company, there should be general acceptance of the new system. Departmental managers should be the one who are guiding the process. A Performance-reward approach can be used to motivate and set targets to the manager to ensure that he performs effectively.

Some employees feel that the new system requires more hand dexterity than they believe they are capable of

The feeling by employees should be altered by the use of an effort-performance relationship approach. This is where they will be made to appreciate that after they adopt the new system their terms and condition of work will be improved.

Feel that it is not worth putting in extra effort to reach the production goals

To alter this feeling an effort-performance relationship approach will assist where employees should be made aware that their efforts will be recognized by the set system and they stand to gain from the new system.

Some feel that despite their efforts there is no proportional salary increment; those who meet organizational goals and those who do not, the salary increment the same.

To change this feeling the management should adopt a Rewards-personal goals relationship approach, this is where they make employees believe that if they put effort in what they are doing they are going to be rewarded. The use of scientific appraisal method like balanced score card should be implemented to ensure that there is fair treatment of employees. These policies should be made aware to staffs when one realizes the career path that he is likely to follow in his company, it is a source of motivation.

Their bonus is so small and then there is no adequate compensation of overtime.

After the management has understood the above situation, it should embark on measures to revert the trend. From the above analyses the employees of the company are not motivated.

The following should be done

  • Interpolate the marginal benefit of overtime; after it has been determined then overtime rate should be determined. It should not be dictated by what the employees need but by the marginal benefit. This is an effort-performance relationship.
  • The company should adopt a Rewards-personal goals relationship, this is because the company seems to lack an appraisal system; an appraisal system should be implemented to ensure that there is justice to performers and the others. Those who perform highly should be motivated (in this case the complaints that employees are bringing in monetary motivation should be attended to). Salary increments should be on the attainment of organizational goals as well as how well an employee performs his duties.
  • Annual bonuses should be based on attainment of ones targets.
  • To facilitate innovation and creativity, the management should have a policy that rewards individual efforts. This is one that if someone has done extemporary well he is rewarded as an individual. In the case of new system, it is noted that Supervisor A is not appreciating the system. It is dangerous since they will build a similar attitude to employees, the end results will be de-motivation, and to curb these managers should be sensitized on how the system will benefit them and the organization at large, this is a Performance-reward relationship.

To enable employees perform their duties effectively at all times, continuous system and employee’s appraisal is important. When this is done, it helps management establish areas that needs improvement. This is a two system in which human resource department receives and gives feedback from /to employees.

In cases where the weak point is as a result of employees ignorant, then programs are set up to address this. Some organizations have employees training as a continuous process with the aim of ensuring that the employees are up-to-date with the changes in the industry. Motivational measures should be put in place to ensure that employees are loyal to the organization and they work efficiently. This ranges from attractive salaries or/and benefits to developing a good working environment. This ensures that employees are retained as assets in the organization.


The success of an organization is dependent on how well available human resources are combined to produce an effective operation. Organizational behavior is the resultant of all ways deployed to create mutual benefit between employee and employer. When all structures are set, people need to be motivated. Motivation is the drive an individual has; it makes him persevere to attain set goals either in life or in an organization.

The quality of decision that management makes determine the success of an organization; some of the decision directly affect human resources and thus they need to be sensitive to individual employee’s motivator. There are different theories of motivation; expectancy theory was developed in 1964 by Victor Vroom of Yale School of Management. The theory has three relationships namely Effort-performance relationship, Performance-reward relationship, and Rewards-personal goals relationship.

Reference List

Oneil, H. F., and Drillings, M. Jr. (1994). Motivation: theory and research. New Jersey: Routledge.

Robbins, S. P. and Judge, T. (2010). Essentials of Organizational Behavior. 10 Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

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