Expectancy theory is about work motivation that focuses on how workers make choices among alternative behaviors and level of efforts. Expectancy theory focuses on how workers decide which specific behaviors to perform and how much effort to exert. According to expectancy theory, workers commitment and productivity in organization is based on his answers to basic questions: is desirability of outcomes that organization provides high? Is high performance instrumental for obtaining these outcomes? Is expectancy high? Based on it, there are three key concepts or components in Expectancy theory: valence, instrumentality and expectancy.
The term valence refers to the desirability of an outcome to an individual worker. Workers can obtain a variety of outcomes from their jobs such as pay, job security, benefits, feelings of accomplishment, promotions. Valence can be positive or negative and can vary in size and magnitude. The magnitude of valence is how desirable an outcome is for a worker. Motivation problems occur because highly valent outcomes may be unavailable to workers. The provision of highly valent outcomes to workers is important to motivate and retain valuable employees. Valence is first component of expectancy theory and is important factor to decide motivation factor for employee and its performance. Valence must be high, workers must desire or want the outcomes they received if they perform at a high level. Therefore managers must determine what outcomes a worker desires, or the valence of different outcomes for the worker.
Second key factor in expectancy theory is Instrumentality. It is perception about the extent to which performance of one or more behaviors will lead to the attainment of a particular outcome. It is association between a certain level of job performance and the receipt of a specific outcome. As per theory, an instrumentality of –1 means that a worker perceived that performance definitely would not result in obtaining the outcome. An instrumentality of +1 means that a worker perceives the performance definitely will result in obtaining the outcome. An instrumentality of zero means that a worker perceived no relationship between performance and outcome. Instrumentalities that are in fact high and that workers believe are high are effective motivators. Sometimes workers are not motivated to perform at high level because they do not perceive that high performance will lead to highly valent outcomes. When workers think that good performance goes unrecognized, their motivation to perform at high level tends to be low. Therefore managers need to make sure that workers who perform at a high level receive outcomes that they desire that is outcomes with high positive valence. Instrumentality must be high in order to be motivated to perform desired behaviors at a high level.
Third key factor in expectancy theory is Expectancy, a worker’s perception about the extent to which his or her efforts will result in a certain level of job performance. Workers are going to be motivated to perform desired behaviors at a high level only if they think they can do so. As per theory, an expectancy of 1 signifies that a worker is sure that his or her effort will lead to a certain level of performance. An expectancy of 0 means that a worker believes there is no chance that his or her effort will result in certain level of performance. Expectancy is high when they think they actually will perform at a high label when they work hard. Managers have to boost morale if they think works expectancy is 0. Helping them improving their skills and abilities can boost expectancy of workers. Expectancy must be high and workers must perceive that if they try hard, they can perform at a high level.
In order for workers to be motivated to perform desired behaviours at a high level, valence must be high, instrumentality must be high and expectancy must be high.