Friday, February 19, 2010

Expectancy Theory

In our textbook, the expectancy theory held that, “people are motivated to behave in ways that produce desired combinations of expected outcomes.” (Kreitner and Kinicki, 223) In other words, people are motivated to act the way they act to be able to produce what they wanted in the first place. This made me think about how this theory applied to students everywhere. A study done by a man named Brian Schaffer, gave an excellent example that showed how the expectancy theory applied in the lives of students like us.
According to “Leadership and Motivation”, an article written by Schaffer, “Students have varying expectations regarding the link between the amount of effort they put into studying for an exam and the grade they might receive. Suppose a student believes that eight hours of studying is likely to yield an A oil an exam. This is a positive 'expectation that should contribute to high motivation’. However, if she suspects that her grade will be an F no matter how hard she studies, lower motivation will result because of this negative expectation.” (Schaffer, 7) After thinking about it, it is true. I can honestly say that there have been times in my career as a student, when I took tests (and even in assignments and essays) that I just gave up completely because I knew no matter what I did, I was not going to get a good grade on it.
Once we think about it, negative thinking like that can be detrimental in school and even outside of school when we start working. This was also important in a managerial position, especially when trying to figure out how to motivate your team or group. To prevent from failing, a reasonable and achievable goal should be more expected, rather than a goal that is closer to impossible. This way, people will have a more positive expectation and become more motivated to do better work.

Kreitner, Rober and Angelo Kinicki. Organizational Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill , 2010.
Schaffer, Brian. "Leadership and Motivation." SuperVision (2008): 6-10.

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