Reinforcement theory deals mainly with which of the following

Learning behavior for animal like rat and pigeon is understood but how this condition relates to human being behavior? Definition Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on… Read More. Definition The social cognition learning model asserts that culture is the prime determinant of individual… Read More.

Parents often wonder why their child acts a certain way at certain times. What they… Read More. Definition Behaviorism is a learning theory that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts any independent activities of the mind. Discussion Experiments by behaviorists identify conditioning as a universal learning process.

There are two different types of conditioning, each yielding a different behavioral pattern: Classic conditioning occurs when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus. Behavioral or operant conditioning occurs when a response to a stimulus is reinforced. Basically, operant conditioning is a simple feedback system: If a reward or reinforcement follows the response to a stimulus, then the response becomes more probable in the future. For example, leading behaviorist B. Skinner used reinforcement techniques to teach pigeons to dance and bowl a ball in a mini-alley. There have been many criticisms of behaviorism, including the following: Behaviorism does not account for all kinds of learning, since it disregards the activities of the mind.

Behaviorism does not explain some learning—such as the recognition of new language patterns by young children—for which there is no reinforcement mechanism. How Behaviorism Impacts Learning This theory is relatively simple to understand because it relies only on observable behavior and describes several universal laws of behavior. About the author - On Purpose Associates.

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Reinforcement Theory of Motivation, Part 1

Thanks, Lynn Bryant. DF says:. How is this a criticism? Natalie Balfour says:. Matt Brown says:. Steve Eversole says:. The point is that contributions of behavior analysis to instruction are legion Finally, in some respects, behaviorism is simple. Steve Eversole, Ed. Rod Land says:. Paulo says:. HaLeigh C. Newman says:.

PH says:. Skinner and his associates. This theory posits that behavior is the function of its consequences, which means an individual develops a behavior after performing certain actions. The behaviors that elicit consequences is called as operant behavior and reinforcement theory work on the relationship between the operant behavior and the associated consequences and, therefore, is often called as Operant Conditioning. The three components of expectancy theory are valence, instrumentality, and expectancy.

PSU, , p. It is important to recognize that because this is a cognitive theory of motivation, workers' beliefs about contingencies are more important than the contingencies themselves. Even if there is a strong linkage between performance and outcomes, if the employees do not perceive that linkage, they will not be motivated to perform PSU, , p.

Understanding that expectancy is a phenomenon which is strongly based on effort, performance, and rewards one would have to ask, "What can go wrong if expectancy isn't meant? Things that can go wrong at the instrumentality level seem most related to reward expectations directly.

Things that can go wrong at the valence level seem to be most related to whether the type of reward that seems available appears to be one that the employee values. Knowing that we don't always get what we expect and want, it is good to know the strengths and weakness to using this type of theory in organizations, in which we can see would the possibilities of a greater outcome be worth the uncertainty of a negative one.

To utilize the expectancy theory accurately, the within-subject research method is used to evaluate the motivations of the employee. This method of the expectancy theory calculates the difference in motivational levels between tasks of one individual, and that of another. To use within-subject designs, participants are given many different tasks to complete. For each task the researcher computes a force score.

This score is used to predict the choices that individuals make among the different tasks. Using these predictions of effort, researchers compute correlations based on the predictions and the actual amount of effort exerted by individuals Redmond, The strength of the within-subject designs reflects the fact that Vroom developed the VIE theory to determine different motivational levels across various tasks performed by an individual, rather than looking at differences in motivation between different subjects Redmond, Validity studies show that the average validity coefficients for within-subjects designs ranges in the.

Expectations are influenced by incentives and rewards. With proper goals set, this will trigger a motivational process that improves performance. If any one of these factors is scored as a zero, then the motivational score will also be zero Penn State World Campus, On the other hand, when all the components of the equation are high, the motivational force will also be high Penn State World Campus, By utilizing expectancy theory, organizations are able to understand the importance of demonstrating appreciation for their employees' work, and as a result, their employees will perform stronger, and show more loyalty towards the organization.

A major weakness of expectancy theory is using between-subjects designs. Because VIE theory was developed to account for differences within the individual and not across different subjects, looking at these differences does not give valid results. Validation studies have shown that between-subjects designs result in lower prediction validities. The average validity coefficients for between-subjects designs ranges in the. This is clearly lower than validity coefficients for within-subjects designs.

The weaknesses of between-subject design can be seen in the differences each person places on the effort, performance and value of rewards. Because this design is quantitative, the comparisons between individuals are hard to measure. Another weakness can be seen in the organizational applications of the theory. What may have been a good incentive at one point in time, may no longer hold its value to that individual anymore Penn State World Campus, Many employees and leaders are not motivated solely by extrinsic factors, such as a paycheck, bonus, or public recognition.

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Therefore, it is critical for managers and leaders in an organization to really understand what motivates their employees before attempting to utilize the expectancy theory model. The model might best be used in conjunction with other models of motivation, such as the Hierarchy of Needs and Reinforcement Theory, in order to ensure leaders are able to effectively motivate their employees to achieve a higher level of performance. During situations like these, managers may change the type of rewards to ensure they continue to fit the motivational needs required to obtain the desired behavior.

The assumptions that are made within this theory show that individuals' motivations are consciously chosen. The concept of this assumption is that people contemplate their actions to achieve the rewards, or in other words, it assumes that people consciously know what rewards are in their own best interest. It is also assumed that the contemplation is designed to capitalize on rewards and evade losses.

Along these lines, an argument can be made that many individuals might demand a reward system that is based on a short-term time horizon, while forgoing a long-term reward system, even though the long-term system might deliver more valence. Due to the fact that not all motivations are derived consciously, this theory cannot apply to all individuals.

Another potential weakness of the expectancy theory is that it assumes all necessities are in place, which is not always the case. Employees need to have the ability, the resources and the opportunity to perform their job well. An example of this would be the role genetics can play as a biological limiting factor of performance Walker, Just as an athlete might lack the genetic potential to perform at an income producing level, so to an employee might lack the genetics required to reach a desired level of performance.

In this case, knowing what will motivate the employee may not help since the scarcity of available resources makes it difficult to complete their job. For example, valence beliefs can change as employees realize that their actual satisfaction with an outcome is different e. When employers are utilizing the theory in the workplace being cognizant of the fact that peoples needs and wants change allows them the opportunity to reevaluate the effectiveness periodically. Check out this link for a link for an example of how Coach Bombay used Expectancy Theory in motivating his team to work together.

A leaders' ability to understand expectancy as related to the E-P linkage can be extremely useful in the workplace. There are five distinct components for a leader to keep in mind concerning this linkage. First, a leader needs to present a reasonably challenging assignment to the employee. It has been shown that unchallenging work leads to boredom, frustration and marginal performance.

Challenging work allows for self-confidence, education, ability development, training, skills and experience, among other things. Second, a leader must consider the follower's ability. Because people differ on experience, knowledge, training, skill, educational level and so forth, tasks need to be assigned based on the individual's level of competence.

If an individual feels they are not capable to complete the tasks assigned, the E-P linkage will be weak. A competent leader needs to provide the necessary skills to the individual in order for them to be successful. Third, leaders must recognize that followers differ greatly regarding their levels of self-esteem in regards to completing a task. Fourth, a leader needs to determine and specify which outcomes constitute acceptable performance, and which do not. The outcomes need to be communicated clearly with precised goals that need to be accomplished. Both the follower and the leader need to reach a mutual agreement on the behavior that represents a successful outcome for each of them.

Concrete levels of performance allow the follower an accurate assessment of the strength associated with the E-P linkage. Most individuals want to feel useful, competent, involved and productive. The workplace provides a vehicle to fulfill these needs. A leader that is aware of these distinct aspects of human perceptions, as they relate to expectancy, can effectively understand and facilitate the E-P linkage for each of their employees Isaac, Managing these elements effectively allows a leader to strengthen the expectancy of each of their followers.

Organizational Applications: Instrumentality. The strength performance output instrumentality linkage will be contingent upon three beliefs of the follower. First, a follower needs to be able to trust that a leader will be able to deliver the outcome promised. It is the outcome given that the outcome is valued by the individual that drives the motivational state according to the expectancy theory.

A followers ability to trust that a leader can and will follow through with an outcome greatly effects the P-O linkage. Instrumentality is rooted in the belief that the performance rendered will result in the outcome promised. Second, leaders need to make sure followers receive fair treatment in a predictable manner.

This is not to suggest that people should be treated exactly the same. As we know from this theory, people vary based on individual differences. However, this factor does suggest that treatment needs to be considered fair. The outcome of treatment a follower receives from a specific performance needs to be consistently applied.

A follower should come to understand that a particular action is associated with a particular type of treatment. This understanding reinforces the P-O linkage Isaac, With valence, there are two issues a leader should concern himself with. First, the attractiveness or value of outcomes differs amongst individuals. A leader needs to be able to identify the value of each outcome from the perspective of the follower. There are several types of rewards that can induce heightened motivational states for individuals. These rewards range from money, to praise, to appreciation, to time off, and so on.

Many motivational outcomes are of little or no cost to a company, and these types of rewards become highly valuable motivational tools Gerhart, Minkoff, Olsen, The best way for an organization to motivate their employees without tangible rewards is by internalizing the objectives and the goal in the employees. When an organization increases the affinity toward internationalization of the desired behaviors and goals, it can directly increase the individual's perceived value of the objective Wood, et al, Once a valuable outcome is identified, the motivational force equation can be established.

It is extremely important that the goals of the individual worker are assimilated into the goals of the organization. The pairing of these goals is crucial to workplace motivation. If the follower perceives that their goals are congruent with the goals of the organization, the follower's motivational force associated with receiving outcomes of high valence are aligned with the furthering of organizational interests. In regards to instrumentality, the trust the residents build with both junior and senior personnel increases motivation in the training program.

Dovepress, Expectancy theory also applies to the classroom and student learning. Much research has been conducted on the validity of expectancy theory in the classroom but has not offered much in the way in which teachers can use expectancy theory in the classroom Hancock, Dawson R.

This can be done by explaining to students what types of behaviors go along with learning such as reading, understanding the meaning behind the reading, and actively asking questions about the reading and various meanings. In doing this teachers can explain how to do these tasks like taking extra time to read and re-read material, expand the breadth of their reflection about the meanings, and be more active in the classroom. Teachers can also help students understand more by having after class discussions, offering tutoring, or presenting the material in a different format.

It is important for the teacher to make connection between the work that is being done and the value of the outcome; how doing well in school relates to life outside of school. Research has also showed us that perceived importance doesn't have a large affect on motivating good test performance because the students do not perceive the test to be important Penk, Schipolowski, If students view an assignment as something they can accomplish they will not be motivated to even start to work on the assignment.

Distractions like noise and disruptive students should be minimized directly or the disruptive student or class can be moved to a different location. Hancock found teachers could help students understand how their performance in the course is connected to desirable outcomes. Teachers can explain and assure students of what types of rewards exist for them learning this material. Rewards can be receiving positive feedback from parents, earning high grades, gaining entrance into selective colleges, being awarded scholarships, or obtaining a good job. In accordance with expectancy theory each student has different values and views rewards differently.

Hancock, D. The Journal of General Education , 44 3 , Knowing what factors motivate employees can have positive implications for businesses. Some of these include reduced employee turnover, improved morale and higher productivity. The expectancy theory suggests, however, that people are motivated by different things.

Some people are motivated by external rewards, such as a paycheck, paid vacation, or a great benefits package, while others may have more intrinsic motivators, such as recognition, or a sense of belonging. A few simple ways to discover what motivates an individual would be to either ask them directly, or through a less confrontational method of administering a questionnaire, or survey. When the questionnaire method is selected, it can be administered to all company employees and can better facilitate isolating certain variables within the company overall.

These isolated variables will bring about improved desired outcomes, such as improved morale and higher productivity. One example of this may include certain external rewards, such as an increase in pay, or some type of monetary bonus. Some other examples might include: providing specialized training for an employee who feels they are lacking the ability and confidence to complete a function in a satisfactory manner, or acquiring a piece of equipment that would improve the efficiency of the employees production.

By isolating selected variables, a reward system can be more effectively designed, and can make it possible to determine whether or not the rewards implemented are effecting positive change. The comprehensive reward system should include several different types of rewards so individuals at all levels of the organization with differing motivational drives can strive towards something they perceive as valuable while the organization is continuing to meet its goals and progress. Utilizing the VIE formula will also allow leaders to set motivating objectives for employees e. The company will be better off, as more and more employees are motivated to achieve a higher level of performance.

Additionally, the workplace can involve more participants than company and employee alone. Labor unions are sometimes considered participants, and can also play an important role in the workplace. Many of such unions have looked into forms of expectancy and expectancy-value theory to build and understand their membership. Much like a company wants to learn what motivates their employees whether it be intrinsic or extrinsic factors , unions want to know what draws workers to join unions or to vote them out de-certify. Over time, workers' ideas of unions change, based on different situations and adjustments in work environment.

Unions can benefit from understanding what drives these changes, and can learn how to make adjustments to the workers perceptions and expectations of unions. If a worker perceives that joining a union will be of low cost to them low effort , then the worker might decide that they have the means to join. Expectancy theory is an important tool in the field of management. Employee motivation is essential in making a team, section, company, or organization run effectively Steers et.

Managers see motivation as an integral party of the performance equation. It is looked as a building block in the development of useful theories of effective management Steers et. This means that the ideas we use to motivate most likely were written many years ago but we are still able to apply them to the workforce today.

Behavioural change theories - Wikipedia

Based on these facts we can assume that there is a need for more, and new research. Over time thoughts and ideas within cultures change. What motivated people years ago may still apply, but with the change in time and mindset there may be better approaches to motivating this new generation of employees.

With the new face of the workplace, including globalization etc. Expectancy theory or VIE theory is one of the stronger theories to help explain motivation.


It takes a conscious approach that a reasonable person would be able to apply. A thought process is required to make the connections between performance, effort, and outcomes. One downside to this theory is that sometimes people misinterpret the situation and are not able to align the values properly to the outcome and this disturbs the validity of the process.

The Expectancy Theory argues that "people make decisions among alternative plans of behavior based on their perceptions [expectancies] of the degree to which a given behavior will lead to desired outcomes" Mathibe, In regards to the workplace, Werner , p. The three components of Expectancy Theory are valence, instrumentality, and expectancy. All of these components need to be strong in order for the motivational force to be high.

This means that if the expectancy of the individual is a zero, no matter how high the valence or instrumentality is, the score will be zero and the motivation will be gone. This theory is a well-researched theory with numerous strengths and weaknesses and is applied in many organizations today. It also is different between people whereas other theories have a more general approach.

Behavioural change theories

Ashford, S. Out on a limb: The role of context and impression management in selling gender-equity issues.

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Administrative Science Quarterly, 43 , Baran Employee Motivation: Expectancy Theory. You Tube. Barling, J. The union and it's members: A psychological approach. Google Books Website. Brown, S. admin