What is Expectancy Theory? 10 Simple Steps Develop People With Motivation in Mind?

How can expectancy theory be used to motivate employees?

Everyone has a different motivation strategy. Some people prefer to be motivated by inspiring talks with their managers, while others need a formal goal-setting system with deadlines. You can’t use one strategy to work with all people. You have to know the tactics that work with each person. When you are clear about that, you may have a chance to create an inspiring workplace. Small actions like giving a cup of coffee or tea, putting chocolate on a desk, or giving team members a small reward can make a difference.

What is Expectancy Theory
What is Expectancy Theory

It’s important to figure out how people make decisions behind the scenes. This is nicely explained by Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. 

What is Expectancy Theory?

The theory describes how a person selects one behavior over another in order to achieve a goal. It helps to set correct goals that encourage people to improve their performance in order to achieve desired results.

According to the Expectancy Theory, a person’s motivation is determined by how much an individual wants a reward (Valence), the assessment of the likelihood that the effort will lead to expected performance (Expectancy), and the belief that the performance will lead to reward (Instrumentality).

In a nutshell, Valence is the importance a person attaches to an expected outcome. It is the expected, not the actual, level of satisfaction that a person expects to feel after achieving their objectives.

Expectancy is the belief that putting in more effort will result in greater performance. Expectancy is determined by elements such as having the necessary skills for the task, having the correct resources, having access to critical information, and having the necessary assistance to do the job.

Instrumentality is the belief that if you do your job well, you will get a valid result. Believe in the people who decide who gets what outcome, the simplicity of the process deciding who gets what outcome and the clarity of the relationship between performance and outcomes are all elements that influence instrumentality.

The theory describes how a person selects one behavior over another in order to achieve a goal. It helps to set correct goals that encourage people to improve their performance in order to achieve desired results. The formula is straightforward. It’s a product of three variables that produces a driving force to attain the intended outcome.

How To Apply Expectancy Theory of Motivation

Following these steps will help you use expectancy theory to boost your team’s motivation:

  1. Align your commitments with the policies of your firm and its management.
  2. Put your faith in a person’s capabilities.
  3. Make the needed performance tough to attain, but not impossible.
  4. Tasks should be tailored to the individual’s skill set.
  5. Make the link between performance and reward as apparent as possible.
  6. Establish clear expectations.
  7. To motivate individuals, get to know them.
  8. Make the allocation of incentives logical.
  9. Provide performance options and associated rewards.
  10. Ascertain that any effort has a measurable influence on the project.

What is Expectancy Violation Theory?

What is Expectancy Violation Theory
What is Expectancy Violation Theory

Expectancy Violation theory is the term used to describe the theory of behavior or action that is either above or beyond the range of what people might normally expect. Expectancy violation is a communication theory that tries to explain the perception of people on another’s unexpected behavior. While communicating with other people, we expect or predict a certain behavior and when this expectation is broken we may respond positively or negatively in accordance with who it is we are interacting with.

The theory was developed by J. K.Burgoon based on the nonverbal expectancy violation model, which explains a personal space of an individual and how he/she reacts when it was violated. The theory states that we have expectations on how people should act or react during interactions and if these expected actions are deviated from, one may respond negatively or positively towards it depending on the sort of relationship they have with the individual. In other words, it’s when someone does something to a person such as try to be extremely over-the-top nice and accommodating which leads them to stare blankly at the person whose behavior they’re not accustomed to. 

Concepts in Expectancy Violation Theory

When people’s personal space is violated, they don’t like it. They allow only their closest friends and family members to approach them. Relationships have an impact on interaction and personal space freedom. According to the hypothesis, when a person’s personal space or expected behavior is violated, they would exhibit unexpected behavior.

Personal space plays a crucial role in the expectation violation theory. Personal space is the boundary we maintain, and those who are close to us are permitted freedom. They are required to grant a particular level of personal space to the people they work with, depending on the relationship they have with them. People tend to protect their personal space when expected behavior is violated.

There are two types of expectancies

Predictive expectancies are actions and communications that occur in response to expectations in a specific location, circumstance, or context.

Prescriptive expectancies are the ways people act and speak in response to their current environment, scenario, or context.

Example of Expectancy Violation Theory

A high school student wrote a clever newspaper piece criticizing the behavior of school teachers and other students. He expected to be suspended after being summoned to the principal’s office for his inappropriate accomplishment. The principal, to his surprise, was in a good mood after the school team’s success in the football competition. After reading the article in the newspaper, the principal chose him for the school editorial team. This unexpected and encouraging reply inspired the student to put his creativity to good use.