The expectancy theory of motivation

Motivation theories are created to help the individual focus on what they would like to achieve. They aim to increase productivity.


The Expectancy Theory of Motivation focuses on the end goal of the what is being completed. Where other motivation theories focus on the needs or process, this theory by Victor Vroom is concerned with the task’s expectation.


The Expectancy Theory of Motivation:


  • The person completing the task is rewarded by the outcome. This is called “Valence.”
  • This is dependent on how much they want what they are working towards. This is the “Expectancy.”
  • The effort the individual puts in equals the reward they get out. This is “Instrumentality.”



This theory aims to identify people’s behaviour. It looks at why people behave the way that they do.

Consequently, the choices that we make influence the outcomes that we have.



The three factors that come into play are:

  1. Expectancy. This means the effort = the performance.
  2. Instrumentality. This is when the performance = the outcome.
  3. Valence. This is when the outcome = the reward.


The person’s motivation, therefore, equals their outcome.

The outcome should be rewarding, which is the reason for being motivated.