Application of Motivational Theories in Behavioural Performance Management

    The application of motivational theories in behavioural performance management is explained below:

    Goal-Setting Theory

    The principle of using objectives to manage performance is described by Locke’s Goal-setting theory, which states that individuals are motivated to behave in such a way that they achieve goals that are personally desirable.

    The significance of goals being ‘personally desirable’ is paramount, and the implications of this will become apparent below.

    The assertion behind goal setting theory and the use of goals and targets in performance management is that a clear goal will enhance an individual’s ability to create the precise intention needed to facilitate behaviour which will lead to the achievement of the desired goal.

    Discretionary behaviour is identified by Purcell in the People-Performance model as the link in the relationship between motivated and committed employees and performance.

    In other words, positive performance outcomes are a consequence of individuals making choices about the behaviours they engage in, as opposed to being told to do so by a manager or supervisor.

    Expectancy Theory

    Expectancy theory is an important motivational theory because it describes the relationship between goals and rewards and how this influences behaviour.

    Expectancy theory argues that an individual’s motivation (force of intent to act) depends on that person’s perception of the probability that their effort will result in a level of performance that will be good enough to achieve an outcome that they will value and that will influence their motivation.

    This theory provides a rationale for designing goal-based performance management interventions which incorporate specific outcomes in the form of rewards to influence employee behaviour and performance.

    Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

    Another motivation theory that is helpful in informing managers about managing performance and reward is Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory.

    This theory describes how ‘motivator factors’ influence workers to produce superior performance and effort and how ‘hygiene factors’ prevent people from becoming dissatisfied with work.

    In terms of performance management, the ‘motivating factors’ are a form of (intangible) ‘intrinsic’ rewards, e.g., achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, and so on, while ‘hygiene factors’ tend to be (tangible) ‘extrinsic’ rewards, e.g., salary, company policy and administration, supervision and so on.

    These two motivation theories, along with goal-setting theory, s provide the theoretical grounding for the design of performance management interventions that attempt to influence employee behaviour by using goals and rewards.

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