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Motivation at Work

Updated on September 13, 2011

motivation at work

Motivation is a continuous decision to direct effort to one activity instead of others. Motivation is the driving force by which workers achieve their goals/objectives. Forces which merge behaviour under lay the tendency to persist. It has an internal force and can be measured through observation.

While needs theories of motivation concentrates upon what motivates people, process theories concentrate on how motivation occurs. Process theories include

1.      Vroom’s expectancy model

2.      Equity theory

3.      Goal setting theory

1.      Vroom’s expectancy model

This theory is based on the belief that motivation is determined by the nature of the reward people expect to get as a result of job performance. Man is a rational being and will try to maximize his perceived value of such rewards.

People are highly motivated if they believe that a certain type of behaviour will lead to a certain type of outcome. There are three important elements in the model which are;

·         Expectancy; this is a person’s perception of the likely hood that a particular outcome will result from a particular behaviour or action. This likely hood is based on probability and describes the relationship between an act and its outcome. The higher the expectancy the more likely that a worker will behave in the desired way. This expectation of outcome is known as the first level of outcome.

·         Instrumentality; this factor relates to a person’s belief and expectation that his performance will lead to a particular desired reward. It is the degree of association of the first level outcome with the second level outcome. It is the performance reward relationship.

·         Valence; valence is the value a person assigns to his desired reward. It is not the actual value of the reward but the perceptual value of the reward in the mind of the worker that is important. As human beings our perception of value differs greatly. For example a bonus of $1000 will seem little to one worker and yet the same amount will seem big to another worker. Although the position of the worker in the organisation plays a big role in valence, it’s not always the case. Workers can be at the same position but still view rewards differently.   

Motivation = Expectancy x Instrumentality x Valence

2.      Equity Theory

It is based on the assumption that the source of job dissatisfaction is the feeling of employees that they are not treated fairly by management. The workers want to get fair rewards for their efforts.

Equity theory is based upon the recognition that employees are not concerned with the rewards they receive for their efforts but also with the relationship of their rewards with the rewards received by others.


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