Employee motivation is a big issue for effective human resource management of any organisation. Companies adopt various techniques to motivate the employees and increase the overall performance of the company.
In every aspect of life, motivation plays a key role in the defining the efforts put in and the outcome to be expected. Since ancient times, philosophers and scholars have pondered over the role of motivation in an individual’s efficiency to get a job done. This pondering over the years has led to the formation of various theories which aim to explain factors of motivations and enhance the performance of an individual.
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Some of the most important and widely adopted motivation theories are as follows:
Each of the above mentioned theories explains different factors which effect the motivation of an individual and how they can be utilised to increase the output and efficiency of work done by a person.
Each theory on its own is a very huge and interesting concept and requires sufficient time to comprehend so as to choose the best one for your needs. That is why; in this article we shall cover the Vroom’s Expectancy Theory and explains all of its related factors.
What is Vroom Expectancy theory?
Vroom’s expectancy theory or expectancy theory of motivation was coined in 1964 by Victor Harold Vroom is a Canadian professor of Business Studies at the Yale School of Management in Connecticut. During his academic courses and his career as a professor, Victor Vroom studied the various factors which affect the performance of an organisation such as, leadership, motivation and performance efficiency. Through his studies Victor did vigorous research on the above topic and came up with the Vroom’s Expectancy theory in 1964.
The Vroom’s Expectancy Theory explains the behavioural process of an individual which is involved in making a decision in choosing a trait among the rest.
According to the Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, an individual will perform in a particular manner because they are motivated to choose a certain behavioural trait over the other traits which they possess due to their expectation of the end result of the selected trait which will prove to be beneficial for them in some way. This theory explains the process an individual undergoes while selecting a motivation behaviour which directly depends upon the appeal of the final outcome. The expectancy theory also explains that the selection of the behaviour also depends on the perception of the correlation between the efforts, performance and the outcome by the individual which ultimately results in favourable rewards for the individual.
Key Elements of Vroom’s Expectancy Theory
As this theory describes that any employees’ performance is based on factors such as experience, knowledge, personality, ability and skills of each individual, therefore the vroom expectancy theory also separates efforts, performance and outcome.
Victor Vroom adopted three variables which account for an employee’s motivation. These variables are:
Expectancy is the notion of an employee, whereby they believe that, increased amount of efforts shall lead to increased performance and hence greater output. However, the expectancy of an employee from a task depends upon a few things.
Instrumentality can be defined as the faith which an employee puts in while undertaking any task, that this task or outcome will lead to their desired rewards. This reward can be anything, from job satisfaction, to a salary hike, promotion or any other materialistic reward.
Once predominant case of instrumentality is the incentives related to the job. Incentives are the added benefits on top of the salary which an employee gets after completing the tasks related to the job. If the employee performs well, then the incentives they get are also greater, hence their instrumentality in the job increases.
Instrumentality of a person depends on the following factors:
According to the Vroom’s expectancy theory, Valence is defined as the value or importance an individual puts into the outcome of a task. This valence is dependant on various factors such as, their own need for the outcome, the attractiveness of the outcome, its favourability or desirability. For example: A person who is hopeful to get a promotion would not be much favourable to the materialistic rewards, such as money in the form of incentives.
Hence the valance for such individual will be negative as they would either be negative, meaning they will try to avoid the outcome or they will be indifferent to the outcome.
Therefore, a person who is in need of the outcome will put in more efforts in the task, hence increasing their performance. This will make their valence positive, and will result in the employee wanting to achieve the desired outcome.
Valance can be characterised in three forms:
-1: Avoiding the outcome
0: Unmoved by the outcome
+1: Welcomes the Outcome
Therefore, for an organisation to prosper they should aspire to have a positive valence towards the rewards, among the employees.
The vroom’s expectancy theory describes the motivation of an individual as a product of expectancy, instrumentality and valence.
Motivation= Expectancy x Instrumentality x Valence
Each of the above elements plays a vital role in determining the level of motivation with which an individual will perform a certain task.
Application of Vroom Expectancy Theory in the workplace
Vroom clarifies the significance of the expectation of the results you would like to accomplish through your staff members. If you really want to motivate them to accomplish your results, you will need to confront the elements of the theory of expectancy.
In case you push your employees to pursue an outcome, the rewards of which doesn’t align with the desires of the employee, in such cases the value of the valance will be negative and hence, the employee with try to avoid the outcome or they may not be as motivated towards it as you would have planned. As a consequence, your rewards will have a negative impact. To remedy this, before setting the rewards, the leader or manager must make efforts to pick a reward which benefits the employee and pushes them to pursue the outcome with all their capacity.
Through effective communication with the employees, you can also ensure that they have complete faith that their efforts will in turn benefit them with the desired rewards. This will increase their performance and positively affect their instrumentality which will lead to higher motivation levels among the employees.
In many instances, a certain task may seem too daunting to the employees and as a result they may be reluctant to undertake it. This is problem which can be easily mitigated through proper training and development programs which can enhance their capability and the level of skill which they possess. This will also make the employees strive for better performance and increase their motivation. Addressing the tasks and making the staff fully understand about its complexity and significance also results in getting rid of any doubts and queries which they may have.
Apart from being an important tool for increasing employee performance and motivation, Vroom’s expectancy theory can also be used by the managers and stakeholders, to analyse the employee behaviours and get necessary insights about the possible reasons behind their actions and performances. Although being in a position of power a manager doesn’t necessarily have to go through the process of understanding the employee behaviours and simply get them to complete certain tasks. This can have negative impacts on the individual performance as this can hinder their motivation and satisfaction levels in the long run. Thus many organisations aim to enhance the morale of their employees through various techniques based on the findings from the Vroom expectancy theory. This results in building mutual trust and loyalty towards the organisation.
Therefore, Vroom expectancy theory can help greatly in achieving organisational objectives by increasing employee motivation and building strong workplace relationships, provided it is accompanied by proper management techniques, such as training and development, and communication with the staff.
Advantages of Vroom Expectancy Theory
Disadvantages of Vroom expectancy Theory
Critiques of Vroom’s Theory of Expectancy
The Vroom expectancy theory has its fair share if criticism from experts in the same field who have created similar theories on motivation. The most popular of those have been mentioned below:
In spite of the criticism and assumptions made in the Vroom expectancy theory, it stands out as an important model of motivation which can be used to form a management plan for an organisation, to increase employee motivation, with the help of other tools, such as proper supervision, communication, and evaluation.