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While we all strive for success and meeting the needs of our personal safety and satisfaction we are motivated differently which in turn predicts behavior. For some motivation from a social perspective is a desire for relationships and intimacy and for others it is a desire to achieve. For this discussion I will look closely at the relationship between the desire for achievement or expectancy of success and motivation. McClelland (1985) lists three main reasons for behavior. These reasons are motives, probability of success, and incentive value, also known as General Behavior Theory. How much of one of the variables in this theory determines the type of response. For example, as an elementary school counselor I have had interactions with schools who utilize a behavior modification system known as PBIS or Positive Behavior Incentive System. The thinking behind this is to provide positive incentives for those students who are showing the expected or appropriate behaviors or performing at or above standard. It is hoped and has shown that the rewards used in this program help students to achieve better test scores as well as maintain appropriate levels of classroom behavior and social interaction. McClelland also states that if there is no incentive or drive was absent then there would be no action. This is what the PBIS system is based off of. The system was developed as a means to promote student drive or motivation and achievement through incentives.
John Rich (2011) of Delaware State University published a study in which the Philadelphia School District examined utilizing monetary benefits for promoting and motivating academic achievement. They felt that students would be more apt to achieve and perform if they were offered a monetary reward. The thought was that students who had been living in poverty, or environments where they had been exposed to violence and crimes, would be more motivated to achieve better grades in school in order to receive payment that may help them out of that current situation or give them some type of out. To me, students who are motivated to earn money for their grades are not doing so to better their level of success rather they are doing so to meet a different need such as safety. They are likely to use that money for food, shelter, or clothing. Thus the need they are really striving to meet is not success but rather what Maslow would call the need for safety. This study did show that there were those opposed to their study and those questioning it's validity. Carol Dweck stated that Rich's study (2011) is being conducted under false pretenses and could have longer more negative lasting effects. Both PBIS and the use of monetary incentives is providing students with external motivation rather than instilling a deeper need for internal motivation. Internal motivation is ideal when striving to achieve.
Geiger and Cooper (1996) performed a study to evaluate the amount of motivation and academic effort exerted by accounting students at the University of Rhode Island. Their study provided a unique approach to studying motivation. They performed a survey approach that depicted decision-making that was influenced by the valence model of expectancy theory. They study showed that the accounting students tended to perform better based off of the individual's perception of success. Geiger and Cooper discovered that these students also obtained personal satisfaction from their achievement by seeing their grades improve and their GPAs increase. These results also helped to show the relationship between valence and individual motivation or drive and success, the higher the success the higher the valence associated. The subjects in this particular study also showed greater motivation when they felt that their performance would positively influence their job success. This study did well in showing the positive association between academic achievement and internal influences on motivation and expectancy of success. I would have also liked to know more about the subjects prior experiences with success as well as failure. Due to the fact that these were college students they had obviously had some lived experience with this type of motivation. Also, were their additional variables associated with expectancy of success. Was an increase in wages a part of the success, or competitive factors, such as getting a promotion before others a part of their expectancy of success. Who were they trying to perform for, themselves or the perception of others? Motivation and social perception are important topics to discuss as we continue to grow in our modern society. Our students are entering the world of work expecting rewards at every moment of success. They lack the ability to strive for success just to obtain a personal satisfaction or for a more worldly purpose such as social change.
Geiger, M. A., & Cooper, E. A. (1996). Using expectancy theory to assess student motivation. Issues in Accounting
Education, 11(1), 113–129.
McClelland, D. C. (1985). How motives, skills, and values determine what people do. American Psychologist, 40(7),
Rich Jr., J. D. (2011). The Use of Pecuniary Incentives for Academic Performance. Journal of Applied Global
Research, 4(11), 35. Retrieved from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?
- Article: Geiger, M. A., & Cooper, E. A. (1996). Using expectancy theory to assess student motivation. Issues in Accounting Education, 11(1), 113–129.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the ProQuest Central database.
- Article: McClelland, D. C. (1985). How motives, skills, and values determine what people do. American Psychologist, 40(7), 812–825.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the PsycARTICLES database.
- Article: Schneider, B., & Alderfer, C. P. (1973). Three studies of measures of need satisfaction in organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 18(4), 489–505.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the SocINDEX with Full Text.