Key Components and Relationships
The expectancy theory provides insights into the forces behind people’s preference for certain behavioral options as opposed to others. Accordingly, the theory posits that people will be motivated if they believe that there is a positive relationship between efforts and performance, that performing better will lead to a desirable outcome/reward, and that the outcome/reward will satisfy certain needs, goals, and values (Redmond & Bartlett, 2012). As a result, the expectancy theory comprises of three main components including expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. Expectancy is defined as the perceived likelihood that one’s efforts will result into a desirable level of performance. Therefore, expectancy is driven by self-efficacy, goal difficulty, and perceived control among other things. On the other hand, instrumentality refers to the perceived likelihood that a given level of performance will produce the desired outcome/reward. Here, trust, control, and policies influence instrumentality in different ways. Further, valence refers to the value that the expected outcome/reward will have on the individual, and hence, needs, values, goals, and preferences are important factors in this case (Redmond & Bartlett, 2012).
Consequently, the product of expectancy, instrumentality, and valence is known as motivational force (MF). Motivational force (MF) is the force behind specific behavioral options preferable to different individuals. Moreover, expectancy, instrumentality, and valence underlie the relationship between effort, performance, and outcome whose interaction lead to motivation. According to the expectancy theory, individuals must perceive that their effort (E) will lead to a favorable level of performance (P) in order to be sufficiently motivated. As a result, expectancy underlies the link between effort and performance (E-P linkage). On the other hand, people are motivated when they believe that a certain level of performance (P) will lead to a desirable outcome/reward (O). Therefore, the O-P linkage is facilitated by the instrumentality component of the expectancy theory. Finally, the theory holds that the extent to which an individual values the outcome/reward that results from a given level of performance is characterized by valence V(R). Here, valence may not be the real measure of satisfaction that an individual is looking for, but it reflects the expected level of personal needs, goals, and values. Ultimately, people become motivated when they attain a certain level of satisfaction indicative of the expected needs, goals, and values (Redmond & Bartlett, 2012).
Application of the Theory
From the given scenario, it is evident that there is a disconnect in the effort, performance, and outcome chain that is causing lack of motivation among the employees under supervisor A. First, there is no linkage between effort and performance in the workplace. Moreover, despite there being clearly set performance outcomes in terms of company goals, there are no clear-cut rewards for those who attain a certain level of satisfaction. Therefore, in addressing the issue of motivation in this scenario, supervisor A should begin by addressing expectancy (E-P linkage) in the workplace. Here, all the duties delegated to employees under supervisor A should be reasonable, attainable, interesting, and challenging. This will encourage self-confidence, ability development, and the desire for education or training among the employees. Furthermore, supervisor A should ensure that environmental supports are in place in this workplace. Here, environmental supports may include quality materials and equipment, pertinent information, role-specific identities, peer and subordinate support, education, and availability of outcome measures. All these supports are important because they allow workers to direct their efforts toward attaining a certain level of performance.
After creating a clear link between effort and performance among the workers, supervisor A should move to the second component of the theory. Here, the supervisor should ensure that plans are in place for rewarding certain levels of performance output. This will motivate the workers to work toward attaining desired outcomes since they seem willing to work extra hours to earn more money. In order to be successive, supervisor A must be trustworthy, fair, and predictable considering that employees will come to believe that a certain level of performance will provide the outcome/reward promised. Subsequently, supervisor A should aim at promising outcomes/rewards that are attractive and valuable to his employees. This will ensure that the valence attached to certain performance outcomes/rewards will push the workers toward attaining the expected goals, needs, and values. Furthermore, supervisor A should ensure that the company’s goals are aligned with the employees’ personal goals. This implies that there will be congruence in furthering personal and organizational goals because workers will align their efforts and performance toward attaining outcomes of high valence. Generally, proper implementation of the three basic components of the expectancy theory will see supervisor A’s employees becoming motivated and performing at a level far beyond their expectations.