Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation

Posted on May 2 2018 - 11:57pm by admin

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation

Expectancy model was developed by Victor Vroom in 1964. Criticizing   the content   theories   of motivation   which  are based   on the needs  of people  and  their priority.   Vroom  has  presented    an  alternative    theory   which  is  based   on  motivation    process. Various  theories   which  are based  on motivation   process   are more  concerned   with  the cognitive antecedents    that  go into  motivation    or  efforts  and more important with  the way  they relate   to each  other.

Vroom’s  expectancy   theory  has  its  roots  in the cognitive  concepts of pioneering Kurt Lewin and Edward Tolman and   in the choice  behavior and   utility   concepts    of  classical    economic    theory.  According    to  Vroom.   people   will  be motivated   to do things  to achieve  some  goals  to the extent  that  they expect  that  certain   actions on their part  will help  them  to achieve  the goal. The theory is based on the simple equation :

Motivation (force) = Expectancy X Instrumentality X Valence

Vrooms expectancy theory is presented below:

As shown in the figure above the model is built around the concepts of valence, instrumentality and expectancy. Therefore this model is referred to as VIE theory. The various terms related to this model are explained below :


Valencce menas the strength of an individual’s preference for a particular outcome. Other terms that might be used are value, incentive, attitude and expected utility.  Valence is positive when the individual prefers attaining the outcome to not attaining it. Valence is negative when the individual prefers not attaining the outcome to attaining it and it is zero when the ondovidual is indifferent towards the outcome.


Another major input into the valence is the instrumentality if the first level outcome in obtaining second level outcomes. For example the person would be motivated towards superior performance because of the desire to be promoted, The superior performance (first level outcome) is seen as being instrumental in obtaining a promotion (second level outcome).


Another major variable in the Vroom motivational pocess is expectancy. Expectancy relates efforts to first level outcomes and second level outcomes. In other words, expectancy in Vroom’s theory is the probability that a particular action or effort will lead to a particular first level outcome.


1. Individuals join an organization with clear expectations of their needs, motivation and environment.

2. Individual behavior is typically their conscious decision.

3. Individuals seek to fulfill different goals and needs through their organisation.

4. Individuals like to choose among the alternatives in order to optimize their outcome



1. It recognizes individual differences in work motivation and suggests that motivation is a complex process as compared to Maslow’s or Herzberg’s simplistic models.

2. It also clarifies the relationship between individual and organizational goals.



1. Vroom’s theory indicates only the conceptual determinants of motivation and how they are related. It does not provide specific suggestions on what motivates organizational members as the Maslow, Hezberg and Alderfer models do.

2. The theory is complex and its validity cannot be fully tested.

3. The theory cannot be applied in practice.

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