Expectancy Theory 22a

[vc_row][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_column_text]

Expectancy Theory

The Expectancy Theory is a motivational theory based on cognitive psychology. It proposes that people are motivated by their conscious expectations of what will happen if they do certain things, and are more productive when they believe their expectations will be realized.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”6129″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Expectancy Theory

The Expectancy Theory (ET) of Victor Vroom deals with motivation and management. The theory assumes that behavior results from conscious choices among alternatives whose purpose it is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. The theory suggested that the relationship between people’s behavior at work and their goals was not as simple as was first imagined by other scientists. An employee’s performance is based on individuals factors such as personality, skills, knowledge, experience, and abilities.


  • The theory says that individuals have different sets of goals and can be motivated if they believe that:
  • There is a positive correlation between efforts and performance,
  • Favorable performance will result in a desirable reward,
  • The reward will satisfy an important need,
  • The desire to satisfy the need is strong enough to make the effort worthwhile.


Watch the video about the Expectancy Theory:

[fvplayer src=”https://vimeo.com/255237509/beb89a3152″ autoplay=”true” embed=”true” speed=”buttons”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Main ideas

The theory is based upon the following three beliefs:

  1. Valence (Valence refers to the emotional orientations people hold with respect to outcomes [rewards]. The depth of the want of an employee for extrinsic [money, promotion, time-off, benefits] or intrinsic [satisfaction] rewards). Management must discover what employees value.
  2. Expectancy (Employees have different expectations and levels of confidence about what they are capable of doing). Management must discover what resources, training, or supervision employees need.
  3. Instrumentality (The perception of employees whether they will actually get what they desire even if it has been promised by a manager). Management must ensure that promises of rewards are fulfilled and that employees are aware of that.


The theory suggests that an employee’s beliefs about Expectancy, Instrumentality, and Valence interact psychologically to create a motivational force such that the employee acts in ways that bring pleasure and avoid pain.


This force can be ‘calculated’ via the following formula:

Motivation = Valance x Expectancy (Instrumentality).


This formula can be used to indicate and predict such things as job satisfaction, one’s occupational choice, the likelihood of staying in a job, and the effort one might expend at work.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1518290474027{background-color: #b6c6ed !important;}”][vc_column_text]

Victor H. Vroom

Victor H. Vroom (b. 1932), Professor is an authority on the psychological analysis of behavior in organizations, particularly on leadership and decision making. His 1964 book, Work and Motivation, is regarded as a landmark in that field, and his books dealing with leadership, Leadership and Decision Making and The New Leadership, are widely cited as breakthroughs in the study of organizational behavior.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”Back to the Curriculum” style=”3d” color=”primary” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-angle-double-left” add_icon=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Flucu.nkb.no%2Fcourses%2Fcc-motivate-the-employees%2F|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]