EXPECTANCY THEORY vs. AROUSAL THEORY – MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES ON FORCE OF WILL AND INSTINCT
EXPECTANCY THEORY vs. AROUSAL THEORY – MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES ON FORCE OF WILL AND INSTINCT
This paper presents a novel, systemic-theoretic explanations of the psychological phenomena of force of will and instinct in lieu with motivation. Motivation gives impetus to behaviour by means of arousing, sustaining and directing such towards a thriving attainment of goals. From a dualistic perception of sole or will and instinct, motivation basically links stimulus and response; hence, can possess more than a single value and can be influenced by numerous, differing manipulations. Herein, free will and instinct are simply defined as power to decide and strong natural drive, respectively. The paper chose Incentive and Arousal Theories to which the fundamentals will be related to the two psychosomatic conceptions. Such theories will be subjected to comparative design in the later part of the research.
Developed by Victor Vroom in 1964, expectancy theory assumes that people consciously choose particular courses of action as a consequence of their desires to enhance pleasure and avoid pain on the basis of perceptions, attitudes and beliefs. As a process theory of motivation, represents an attempt to explain individual motivation in terms of anticipated rewards as a resultant of the different types of beliefs that people posses. These are expectance – the belief that one’s effort will result in performance, instrumentality – the belief that one’s performance will be rewarded and valence – the perceived value of the rewards of the recipient. The result of these three beliefs is motivation embedded on individual factors such as personality, skills, knowledge, experience and abilities.
Primarily targeted to the organizational setting, expectancy theory predicts that motivation puts more effort which will yield to better performance to organizational rewards valued by the employees. Vroom, together with Edward Lawler and Lyman Porter, suggests that there is a direct correlation between people’s behavior at work and their goals known as the effort-performance (E-P), performance-outcome (P-O) linkages. One of its main attribute is that the theory highlights individual perceptions of the environment and the subsequent interactions arising as an integral upshot of personal expectations. As such, expectance was formed on the basis of personality dynamics whereby more than other, the concept of will and its resonance with instinctual actions are achieved (Zerbe and Pitt, 2001).
By itself, expectancy theory depicts mechanistic meaning to the instinct of self-realization and the free will of actions. The theory is an explicit manifestation that human motivations are governed by free will which is driven by individual volitilation when it comes to ‘structural anticipation’. Human instinctual motivation too is considered drivers of motivation with which proper environment. The dyadic temperament congruency determines the potential level of individual satisfaction for the expectant reward as part of a process of innate instinctual self-protective cognitive processes as Humphreys and Einstein believe so (2004). Essentially, expectancy theory stresses that the value people placed on outcomes depended heavily on the importance of locus of control and of free will that instinctively guide people towards subjective experiences when it comes to the ideology of tangible and intangible reward which makes it the most plausible model that explains behavioural causes in business context.
The strong points of the theory lie on the conception that there are extrinsic motivators that explain behaviours exhibited within the workplace whereby external rewards are envisioned as motivation inducers that fuel behaviours that are derived as a consequence of internal forces as enjoyment of work for instance. Extrinsic motivation such as providing clear expectations, giving corrective feedbacks, providing valuable rewards and making the rewards available consciously urges people to make choices that will maximize their self-interests at own free will. Though the idea is highly-individualistic in nature, expectancy theory serves as an avenue for individuals to realize their goals as it equips them to manipulate their individual psychological processes as they continuously create expectations based on how they perceived their environment (Zerbe and Pitt, 2001).
Put simply, the theory reflects that people will expend more effort when they believe that they can attain certain levels of performance evident on the assumption that this theory combines multipricative functions that represents motivational force entrenched with individual instinct and freedom to choose. Nonetheless, the subjective estimation is otherwise a very rational approach and is very predictive for simple easy to estimate scenarios to motivation. The weakness is on the ambiguity on how it can impact the motivational state of these individuals based on other scenarios such as complex tasks, uncertain environment, etc; its predictive power would be low (Van Eerde and Thierry, 1996). But these are just minimal weaknesses that theorists expounded in order to apply expectancy theory to other subject areas like goal setting, leader-member exchange theory and the effects on perceptions of expectancy and instrumentality.
Basically, the foundation of arousal theory is the thought that different individuals perform better at different levels of arousal while also seeking to find their optimum level. Spearheaded by Hebb in 1955, such theory holds that individuals act in order to bring about an optimal level of arousal. For instance, when a person is too aroused, s/he will act to reduce the arousal and vice versa. The term arousal generally refers to the state of psychological activation of an individual. Activation or the production of behaviour is central to the concept of motivation. As a biologically-driven theory of motivation, this theory claims that each person is driven to achieve his or her optimum level of arousal by means of actions that will increase the level whenever it is too low or decrease it when it is too high (Dickman, 2003).
Realizing this, we can assume that, at a balance and at a continuum, the peak performance of individuals is usually accompanied by moderate levels of arousal. To maintain these optimal levels, there are individual sets of optimistic and pessimistic reinforcers that motivate them to behave in different ways as founded on free will and rational choices that determine the functioning of these individuals especially in accomplishing tasks; a part of the Yerkes-Dodson Law (Deffenbacher, 1994). The results of these are the underarousal or overarousal of individuals and their conditionability that advances fixed action patterns and trigger stimuli or the brain-stem responsiveness known as instinct. Arousal then is very important for people when it comes to emotional regulation and social behaviour albeit the differing levels of arousal optimization. The focal point of the theory is vested on the manifestation that the general level of activation largely depends on several physiological systems (Gross, 1998).
Researchers, on the other hand, found out that this theory lacks directional fractionation wherein the assertion is that one physiological response system might show a change in direction and that another response system might show no changes at all or change in another direction. In deed, this is differential instinct at work to which, though the theory reinforces the use of willpower in an explicit manner, the theory posed vagueness by and large. To compensate, researchers expounded the theory into three major contributory stream such as endocrine activation, energized behaviour and ectroencephalogram (EEG) activation allowing researchers to conspire individual behaviours for both direction and activation and the one-dimensional partition of will and instinct (Lacey, 1967).
Both theories are developed in a period where man seeks an explanation on how they perceived and actually act towards themselves as well as their immediate environment. The theories are both intended at understanding behaviours in an organizational setting though researchers constantly seeks new ways to expound both theories and its applicability. On how people act towards stimulus, expectance and arousal played a major role on automatic, involuntary and unlearned ways that motivate behaviours despite the differing directions that the assumptions of the theories are heading. Expectancy theory manifests that individuals are always inclined towards the attainment of their goals (forward) while arousal theory suggests that there various directions that an individual may pursue (multi-directed) based on what their will and instinct tell them. Though the theories differ in nature, expectancy is processual whereas arousal is biological, the basic assumption is that both theories requires actions of the individual involved though expectant theories rely on actions that are aligned with one’s expertise, competence, skills and experience unlike arousal that largely depends on individual preference.
What I have discussed here are the basic conception of free will and instinct based on two theories: Expectancy Theory and Arousal Theory. Expectancy Theory maintains that there are extrinsic motivators that drive human to give meaning to instinctual and willpower towards achieving goals and its accompanying rewards. Arousal Theory claims that attaining optimum levels of arousal that determines individual functioning of will and rational sense.
Deffenbacher, K. A. (1994). Effects of Arousal on Everyday Memory. Human Performance, 7(2), 141.
Dickman, S. J. (2003). Dimensions of Arousal: Wakefulness and Vigor. Human Factors, 44(3), 429.
Gross, J. J. (1998). Sharpening the Focus: Emotion Regulation, Arousal and Social Competence. Psychological Inquiry, 9(4), 289.
Humphreys, J. H. & Einstein, W. O. (2004). Leadership and temperament congruence: extending the expectancy model of work motivation.
Lacey, J. I. (1967). Somatic response patterning and stress: Some revisions of activation theory. In M. H. Appley & R. Triumbull (Eds.), Psychological Stress: Issues in research (pp. 14-37), Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Van Eerdy, W. & Thierry, H. (1996). Vroom’s Expectancy Models and Work-Related Criteria: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(5), 575-586.
Zerbe, W. J. & Pitt, D. C. (2001). Leadership and Motivation: The Effective Application of Expectancy Theory. Journal of Managerial Issues, 13(2), 212.
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