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Motivation and Concepts Table and Analysis

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Motivation and Concepts Table and Analysis

Motivation and Concepts Table and Analysis

John H. Rehmert

University of Phoenix

Motivation and Concepts Table and Analysis

Motivation Concepts Table

Theory Name

Major Theorist(s) Time Period Created

Key Theory Concepts


(Grand Theory) RenÐ"© Descartes Post-Renaissance era If one could understand the will, then he could understand motivation.


(Grand Theory) William James

William McDougall 1890

1930 Inherited physical and mental instincts produce predictable behavior given the appropriate stimulus.


(Grand Theory) Robert Woodworth

Sigmund Freud

Clark Hull 1918


1943 Motivation comes directly from bodily deficits causing behaviors with the aim of reversing the deficit.

Achievement John Atkinson 1964 Motivation toward a particular behavior is influenced by one’s urge to achieve and the probability of success.

Attributional Bernard Weiner 1972 Motivation via the attribution of causes to events вЂ" whether regarding the behavior of others or themselves.

Cognitive dissonance Leon Festinger 1957 Contradicting cognitions drive the creation of new or modification of existing thoughts/beliefs, which drive motivation.

Effectance Robert White

Susan Harter 1959

1978 Motivation is driven by the inherent pleasures derived from the exploration, curiosity, mastery, and attempts to deal competently with one's environment.

Expectancy x value Victor Vroom 1964 Motivation by the expected results of a behavior, such as an increase in salary or benefits for better job performance

Intrinsic Edward Deci 1957 Human motivation and the behaviors produced are to satisfy needs toward self-determined outcomes.

Goal-setting Edwin Locke 1968 Motivation and subsequent actions are influenced by conscious performance goals in an organizational or work-related environment.

Learned Helplessness Martin Seligman 1975 Motivation is influenced by a perceived or imposed level of futility in their efforts.

Reactance Jack Brehm 1966 Actions motivated by rules and/or regulations that threaten or eliminate behavioral freedoms.

Self-efficacy Albert Bandura 1977 People’s beliefs determine their level of motivation

Self-schemas H. R. Markus 1977 People’s past experiences influence their motivation and subsequent behavior.


The achievement motivation theory can be applied to many situations in the workplace. One situation, to which the theory can be applied, comes to mind from a prior organizational environment. The situation involved an information technology employee who was promoted from the help desk to a departmental task force. He was promoted because he exhibited outstanding performance in his time with the help desk and tested well on the internal promotional scale (a test given to assess the disposition and level of self-motivation). He seemed to thrive on challenges вЂ" technically and professionally вЂ" and had a commendable career history. The task force, to which he was promoted, was assigned to study, improve, and increase the automation of the classified spill clean-up process. The main charge of the task force was to remediate security breaches caused by the distribution of classified materials using unclassified communication mechanisms. His assignment was to learn the general-use scripting languages for operating system (OS) independent automation вЂ" Microsoft Visual Basic Script (VBScript) and Perl вЂ" to act as an apprentice to the lead systems engineer with the goal that he would assume some of the remedial operations to patch/update the scripts that drive the process. Initially, he appeared eager to take on the new challenge. Even though his experience with programming was minimal, he had a very logical/procedural thought process, which lends itself to scripting. After several weeks of apprenticeship and expected self-study, he requested to be returned to the help desk team. When prompted for the reason(s) behind his request, he stated a few nonsensical reasons. Several weeks later, he was counseled by the lead systems engineer and revealed that he was apprehensive about his programming abilities because he did not feel he was progressing as quickly as expected. The lead engineer asked how he was measuring his progress and he replied “by my own expectations.”


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