Effective Motivation Through Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation explains how people make decisions regarding various behavioral alternatives. Expectancy theory offers the following propositions:

1. When deciding among behavioral options, individuals select the option with the greatest motivation forces.

2. The motivational force for a behavior, action, or task is a function of three distinct perceptions: Expectancy, Instrumentality, and Value. The motivational force is the product of the three perceptions:

so, Motivation = Expectancy x Reward x Value

1. Expectancy probability is the expectancy that a person’s effort will lead to the desired performance and is based on past experience, self-confidence, and the perceived difficulty of the performance goal. Example: If I work harder than everyone else in the company, will I produce more?

2. Reward is based on the perceived performance-reward relationship. This is the belief that if someone does meet performance expectations, he or she will receive a greater reward. Example: If I produce more than anyone else in the sales force, will I get a bigger raise or a faster promotion?

3. Value refers to the value the individual personally places on the rewards. This is a function of his or her needs, goals, and values. Example: Do I want a bigger raise? Is it worth the extra effort? Do I want a promotion?

The combination of these three will determine the effort that the employee will put in. If the employee doesn’t actually value the reward they are offered, the effort will correspondingly be less. Similarly, if the person doesn’t think that the effort will attract the reward, the motivation will be low as well.

It’s only when all three are in alignment that the effort will be made to achieve the final reward.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 19 November, 2010

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