Motivation Through Equity, Expectancy & Goal Setting

Employees who feel that they are getting a fair payment for the efforts they make, are more likely to find a sense of satisfaction and stay motivated in their job or position. This concept is known as equity theory which can be used to your advantage to help ensure that your whole team stays motivated in the long run. This article discusses motivation not only through equity but also through expectancy and setting goals.  

Motivation Through Equity

Motivation through equity is a concept that explains how the compensation that individuals receive for their work directly affects their motivation. If used in the workplace, this means that a person generally aims to create balance between what they offer to the organization or company compared to what they receive in return.

As far as equity theory of motivation is concerned, the motivation of the employee is dependent on their perception of fairness of the treatment and compensation for their input at work. The equity theory states that employees perceive the things they get from their job situation or outcomes regarding the things they put into it or the inputs before comparing their own inputs-outcomes ratio with others’ inputs-outcomes ratios.

The equity theory of motivation basically describes the correlation between the perceptions of employees of how fairly they are being treated as well as how hard they are motivated to work. The theory itself was developed by J. Stacy Adams.

It can be very helpful to understand the role that equity plays in professional environments if your goal is to make sure that your team feels rightfully appreciated and motivated for the work they do. If you provide fair compensation for the contributions of your team, their might feel more motivated. It can then positively affect factors like communication, commitment to the job, and teamwork.

Motivation Through Expectancy

People usually make their decisions according to the rewards that they expect to get from the work they do. This concept, also called the expectancy theory of motivation, will be able to help you get better insight into various ways of encouraging the members of your team. When you know what better motivates your employees to work harder, it will be easier for you to set goals, assign tasks, as well as distribute more meaningful rewards.

Motivation through expectancy refers to the belief that people are going to pick their behaviors according to the things they believe are going to lead to the best results. This particular theory depends on the level of value that an individual places on various motivations that result in a decision that they expect will provide them with the highest returns for the efforts they make.

When properly followed, the expectancy theory will be able to help managers in getting a better understanding of how people are motivated to choose from various behavioral alternatives. In order to improve the connection between outcomes and performance, managers must use specific systems that closely tie rewards to performance. In addition, they can use additional training to help their employees improve their abilities and that will lead to the belief that extra effort will actually result in better performance.

Motivation Through Goal Setting

The goal-setting theory of motivation was developed by Edwin Locke in the 1960s. The theory states that setting goals is essentially connected to task performance. This states that challenging and specific goals together with suitable feedback contribute to better and higher task performance.

Simply put, goals give and indicate direction to employees about what must be done as well as how much effort must be put into it. Goal-setting theory has several important features, and these include the following:

  • Appropriate and better feedback of results can direct employee behavior and contribute to better performance compared to absence of feedback. The feedback is a way to gain reputation, make clarifications, and regulate goal difficulties. This enables employees to work with higher involvement and results to improved job satisfaction.
  • Clear and specific goals can lead to better performance and greater output. Clear, measurable, and unambiguous goals accompanied by a completion deadline can avoid misunderstanding.
  • The participation of employees in a goal is not desirable all the time.
  • The goals must be challenging and realistic. It gives individuals a sense of triumph and pride when achieved and then sets them up to attain the next goal. The more challenging a goal is, the better the reward which increases the passion put into achieving it.
  • However, participation in the process of goal setting can make the goal itself much more acceptable and can lead to more involvement.
  • Willingness to work towards achieving a goal is the primary source of motivation in the workplace. Difficult, particular and clear goals are better motivating factors than vague, general and easy goals.

Use equity, expectancy, and goal setting to further boost motivation.

(1) Baker, G. Chapter Eight – Motivation Through Equity, Expectancy, and Goal Setting. University of North Florida. 

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