Evening Sessions #21: Motivation = Valence x Expectancy(Instrumentality)

In my last blog I discussed taking into account the role of human factors when trying to inspire change in an organisation or team of people. Now, we all know change is a natural part of the evolution or professional development of the individual or collective group but it’s much easier said than done. For the consultants who profess to be able to instigate it, otherwise known as change agents, it’s always a tall order. (I’ve always found the term ‘change agent’ overly dramatic invoking images of Agent Smith from the Matrix but that’s just me.)

In reality, change doesn’t have to be dramatic to achieve results, in fact let’s make it less glamorous and call it tinkering or tweaking. Small adjustments can still lead to profound improvements in quality and value.

I firmly believe that to elicit change you need to integrate the opinions of those who have to instigate change from the outset. That is the only way you can find out their motivations and beliefs and perhaps their own perfect solutions to the organisation’s problems. Remember, in many cases your client may look upon your role positively but the team you ultimately have to work with is likely to have at least a degree of scepticism.

There are three aspects of Expectancy Theory which every consultant or ‘change agent’ needs to consider:

1. Instrumentality

Do employees or clients believe they will get what they have been promised by managers and consultants even if they achieve their goals?

2. Expectancy

Different employees have different perceptions and self-confidence about what they can achieve.

3. Valence

What motivates an employee is a balance between the intrinsic satisfaction of the job or process and the extrinsic value of bonuses, promotion etc

Vroom was so bold as to uphold that formula based on these factors can allow us to gauge the motivation of individuals:

Motivation = Valence x Expectancy(Instrumentality)

A lot of these factors are common sense and if you can become adept at the skill listening to people in terms of both what they say and don’t say outright then perhaps, just maybe you too, with a bit of tinkering, can bring about sustainable, positive, value adding change for your clients.

Dr Saif F Abed
Founding Partner
AbedGraham Healthcare Strategies Ltd
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