UGC NET Study Notes on Theories of Motivation – Process Theories

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 14th, 2023

1. Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

  • Vroom’s theory is based on reactive thought about the situation. In order to attain satisfaction, when an individual faces various behavioural options, he/she does an analysis of the future outcomes and selects which outcome maximises satisfaction and minimises pain.
  • Vroom was of the view that motivation is an outcome of three variables:
    • Expectancy– Individuals estimate that effort will lead to successful performance. It is the perceived relationship between efforts and expected outcome where 0 value means efforts are not successful, and value 1 means efforts are rewardful.
    • Instrumentality– Prediction an individual makes about the performance to result in certain outcomes or rewards. It is believed that performance is instrumental in providing outcomes.
    • Valence– Value, an individual gives to its rewards that he expects to receive from the performance. Value is positive if rewards result in satisfaction, negative if rewards result in dissatisfaction, and zero if a reward has no effect on behaviour.

Motivation= Valence * Expectancy * Instrumentality

  • This theory emphasizes that motivation is a decision-making process that analyses performance for outcomes and expected behaviours.

2. Equity Theory

  • Equity theory, propounded by Adams in 1963, views that individuals have a tendency to make a social comparison by comparing their performance and rewards with those of other individuals.
  • In this theory, employees analyse their level of effort and reward they receive in exchange against other employees. If they witness a significant difference between their own efforts and others, they attempt to bring equality in efforts for everyone through altering their own performance or other employee’s performance.
  • Equity exists when employees perceive that the ratio of efforts to rewards is equal for all the employees with whom comparison is made. There are two types of Inequity- Overpaid and Underpaid.
  • Inequity exists when employees perceive that the ratio of efforts to rewards is different for all the employees with whom the comparison is made.

3. The Porter-Lawler Model

  • This theory is about the complex relationship between motivation, satisfaction, and performance of employees.
  • It is a combination approach that includes elements of almost all the other motivation theories.
  • This model is based on three significant variables: Motivation of employees, skills, and ability an employee owns and the role perceptions of employees relevant for the expected job.

4. Goal-setting theory

  • Introduced by Edwin Locke, this theory emphasizes the significance of setting specific and goals to gain higher and optimal task performance.
  • Principles of the goal-setting theory state that:
    • Goals should be specific, realistic, and challenging. The more challenging the task greater is the reward, and the higher is the motivation.
    • Employees’ participation in goal setting makes it acceptable for employees and acts as a motivation factor.
    • An effective goal must also include feedback that contributes to better work performance of employees.
    • The higher the level of self-efficiency, the more efforts employees contribute.
  • According to this theory, motivation is a result of rational behaviour towards attaining goals.

5. Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory

  • Propounded by. Skinner and his associates, Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory is based on the “Law of Effect” theory.
  • The behaviour of an individual which is reinforced or which has positive outcomes tends to be repeated, but the behaviour of an individual which is not reinforced or which has negative outcomes tends not to be repeated
  • This theory attains the desired behaviour from the employees in the following ways:
    • Positive reinforcement- On performing a required or desired behaviour, the reaction is positive (in the form of reward), which stimulates the repetition of behaviour as it acts as positive reinforcement.
    • Negative reinforcement- This is activated by eliminating the negative stimuli (Obstruction) to get desired behaviour out of employees, which stimulates them to work accordingly.
    • Punishment- It is implied to block the undesired behaviour of employees by imposing negative outcomes or by eliminating positive outcomes.
    • Extinction– Is implied by decreasing the chances of undesirable behaviour, blocking the positive reinforcement.

6. Self-efficacy theory

  • Propounded by Albert Bandura, Self-efficacy theory works on the principle that individuals tend to hold only those activities which they assume they are capable of performing. Self-efficacy is the trust in an individual’s potency in accomplishing specific tasks/activities.
  • Self-efficacy theory believes that there are four sources of information used by people while organising self-efficacy judgments:
    • Performance Accomplishments-This is the analysis of an individual’s accomplishments and performance outcomes, which increases expectation if it’s positive and decreases expectation if it’s negative.
    • Vicarious Experience- These are the kind of learning experiences one adapts by observing the performance of another successful person, which creates an expectation in observers to get motivated to perform the same, for example, self-modelling.
    • Social Persuasion- These are a kind of verbal encouragement that includes coaching and feedback to bring motivation and confidence in people to perform tasks successfully.
    • Physiological and Emotional States- These have a significant impact on individual performance, as they affect one’s motivation and capability. For example, anxiety and stress have a negative impact on performance, while energetic and enthusiastic people can perform better.

Distinction between Content and Process Theories

  • Content theories emphasise on the reasons for motivating an individual, reasons can be basic necessities and requirements, whereas Process theories emphasise on numerous behavioural models of a person in satisfying their own basic needs and requirements.
  • Abraham Maslow – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Federick Herzberg – Two-factor theory and David McClelland – Need for achievement, affiliation and power, Mc Gregor’s Theory X and Y, and Alderfer’s ERG Theory are some of the content theories, whereas Reinforcement, Expectancy, Equity, and Goal setting theory are some of the process theories.
  • The basis of the content theories is that the non-presence of motivating factors generates stress that can trigger negative behaviour and affects performance. While in the process theory, Goals are considered important to direct behaviour.
  • The main distinction between content and process theories is that content theory focuses on individual needs, whereas process theory focuses on behaviour.

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