Everyone has expectations in life, which could be tied on your job or family. Because of these expectations, human behavior changes in favor of what the future holds, making behavior a function of expectancies. This is described well by the Expectancy-Value Theory, commonly abbreviated as EVT. According to this theory, your behavior will largely depend on the expectations you have and the efforts you put in to achieve the goal. This argument is expressed as B = f (E × V). According to this approach, in cases where a person expects more than one behavior, the dominant behavior is that with highest possibilities of success and value. Researchers have approved this theory especially in explaining social behavior. Moreover, its application in achievement motivation is essential in illustrating the different types of expectancy value motivations. In 1930s, Henry Murray observed human beings derived motivation from achievement. He therefore noted that achievement motivation played a major role in shaping the behavior of an individual. Nonetheless, David McClelland and John Atkinson developed ways of measuring achievement motivation, using Murray’s early findings.
In order to understand the functioning and application of the expectancy value theory, it is essential to appreciate some of the assumptions and statements about the theory. For example, according to EVT, behavior depends on the expectations you have and the value of effort you inject to achieve the goal. This implies that the preferred behavior has the highest results when success and value are combined. This theory further holds that human beings work towards achieving goals and are therefore goal-oriented. Therefore, they behave in a certain way, depending on their beliefs and the values they choose to achieve a given end. Even though EVT is pivotal in explaining uses and gratifications, a range of factors also affects the process. A good example is the origin of social and psychological needs. It initiates the motive for a given behavior in a person.
In understanding Expectancy Value Theory, it is essential to note that people adapt to the world, depending on what they expect through evaluations. These expectations are widely anchored on one’s beliefs. Thus, behavior is viewed as a function of expectancy and evaluation. Here, evaluation refers to the effect of the behavior.
Theorists use various models to explain Expectancy Value Theory. Covington and Roberts developed the need for achievement approach. According to this, there are four types of students and they apply different approaches to achieve their goals. For example, success-oriented scholar is highly motivated and has low fear for failure. Such students would spend most of their time in achievement activities and not worrying about performance. Besides these, there are failure-avoiders; they are bothered with failure more than success. They are always anxious and try to escape failure through dubious strategies. The third category of students is the over-strivers who are highly motivated and put in more efforts to achieve something. While this is the case, they also feel anxious about failure and may be stressed up because of the fear of failure. Lastly are failure-acceptors. They are not concerned about achievements due to factors like active anger, lack of concern or resistance towards success.
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