Vroom's Expectancy Theory: Meaning & Application

Vroom realized that the productivity of every given employee is a function of their set of characteristics, background, and skill sets. Effort, performance, and results, he argued, are what drives a person. He considers three factors: valence, expectation, and instrumentality.

Meaning of Vroom's Expectancy Theory

Humans, so the theory goes, will choose actions that maximize happiness and minimize distress. This means that people will do things that make it more likely that they will reach their goals. According to the hypothesis, workers will be more motivated if they give more weight to achieving goals. The more they have at stake in succeeding, the more likely they will do so. Expectation, instrumentality, and valence are the three variables in expectancy theory that explain the connection between motivation, effort, and performance. The theory is based on the following beliefs


To put it simply, valence describes how people feel about potential outcomes (rewards). The degree to which an employee is motivated by the prospect of receiving extrinsic (monetary, promotional, time off, or another benefit) or intrinsic (job-satisfying) rewards, the top brass has to find out what their workers care about.


Workers come to their workplaces with a wide range of confidence in their capabilities and anticipation of what their work will entail. The upper management of a firm can inform itself of the particulars of the company's workforce, particularly concerning the instruments, orientation, and advice that its employees require.


Even if your worker put in the effort and produces the desired outcome, they will not be driven to keep going if they do not think it will help them earn the reward. As a result, you failed to meet your goal, and your employee is unhappy

Nevertheless, remember that the employee's initial expectations must align with the compensation. Even if a person does not obtain the promotion they were hoping for, the time and effort they put into acquiring the necessary skills to be considered for the position could still pay off in the long run since those new abilities could be put to use elsewhere (such as in a different organization).

Types of Valves

These are


Putting off facing the consequences or accepting the prize. Positive: not caring about having a strong desire to achieve the desired result or receive the desired reward. The valuation can only be effective if the employee values the outcome more highly than the alternative. Let us assume an employee puts in the effort, obtains the desired result, and is convinced that this result is critical in bringing about the desired conclusion. However, if the employee does not find the reward to be of sufficient value, they will not be motivated if they are not pleased with the results.

Make sure your employee understands that their hard work will pay off in a way that is meaningful to them. This builds credibility, which is essential to the success of subsequent motivational steps. Here, therefore, is the sequence (or equation) of Vroom's Expectancy Theory

The formula for determining the intensity of someone's motivation is as follows: MF = E + I + V. (V)

Workers may be dissatisfied with the results of their efforts because, for instance, they think they need more time to complete a task to their satisfaction. Who, after all, would want to put their best effort into something they know is bound to fail? If the root cause of the lack of motivation can be fixed, employees' hopes can be returned, their usefulness can be shown, and managers' ideas about how much the organization's rewards are worth can be changed.

How to use Vroom's Expectancy Theory to increase motivation and performance

Managers can determine if employees understand the tasks and how to accomplish them. Define staff members' precise roles to ensure they know what to do. Assume a boss gave an employee a bonus for producing an ad campaign (Valence). According to Vroom's Expectancy Theory, an employee must believe the project is possible to put in the necessary effort. The employee will work hard for the bonus (expectancy). The company must also deliver on its promises to reassure employees that their efforts will eventually pay off (instrumentality). The advertising campaign is intriguing and effective thanks to the employee's trust and hard work. The employee earns that fantastic bonus—and rightly so, as our company routinely offers bonuses.


Major advantages are

  • The two go hand in hand, as the intrinsic drive is directly tied to emotional fulfillment.

  • Motive is boosted by the promise of something good to come, regardless of how closely the reward matches the promise.

  • The philosophy centers on incentives and successful outcomes.

  • It stresses the importance of putting in extra effort to achieve better results


Major disadvantages are

  • It is predicated on the idea that doing one's best will lead to one's desired outcome.

  • Employee learning and work capacity are two examples ignored by the idea.

  • Employees will lose motivation if the task is impossible, the reward is not provided, or the outcome is not valuable.


According to Vroom, people act in certain ways not because they want something right away but because they believe that what they do will benefit them in the future. The theory posits that people can be motivated to work toward their goals even though they are very different from one another. A positive relationship exists between exertion and outcome; success will be rewarded favorably. The payoff will fill a big need, and the motivation to do so is strong enough to make the work worth it.

Updated on: 09-Jan-2023


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