Process Theories of Motivation





There are several process theories of motivation: The Vroom Expectancy Theory, the Adams’ Equity Theory, the Needs-Goal-Setting Theory, and the Reinforcement Theory of Motivation.

Here our center of attention is on helping you make a clear-cut distinction between process and content.

Basically, process theories of motivation focus on how workers needs influence their own behavior.

Here our attention goes beyond motivation, our focal point is on giving you a key conceptual tool to help you manage both the performance of your direct reports (management) and the performance of your entire organization (leadership).

“Process” is how employees work together, as opposed to the what – the “content,” the task, the issue – they are working on.

An example of “process” is the way in which people interact with each other during a meeting; on the contrary, an example of “content” is the decision they make in that meeting.

  • Process is hiring (the hiring processes that a company practices); content is the selected candidate that becomes the new employee.
  • Process is the nature in which day-to-day performance conversations take place between the manager and her direct reports; content is what gets talked about, agreed upon, and actually understood.
  • Process is the way in which people interact with each other in order to solve a problem; content is the actual solution to the problem.
  • Etc.

    Most executives have the unconscious tendency to focus on content – which is great, that’s what they get paid for – but unfortunately most executives also have the unconscious tendency to forget about the process they are using.

    However, the quality of the “process” that is used (the type of meeting that is used to make a decision for example), has an impact on the quality of the resulting “content” (if the meeting is poorly designed, the quality of the resulting decision is likely to be poorer, but if the meeting is well designed, the quality of the resulting decision is likely to be better).

    To visually illustrate the relationship between process and content, let’s take a look at the graph here below: Process Theories of Motivation

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    Again, the better the process used, the better the resulting content, and vice versa: The poorer the process used, the poorer the resulting content.

    Do the people in your company hate meetings because they spend too much time in them? The problem is not in the meetings themselves, but in the way your company runs those meetings.

    Does your company have several low performers? The problem is not in those poor people who perform below standards, but in your company’s management practices.

    Does your company is lagging behind its competition? The problem is not in those high performing organizations, but in the leadership skills of your company’s leaders.

    The process by which a company is led and managed determines its long-term success. Process Theories of Motivation

    A great company is successful in the long run not because of its great products or services, but because of the nature of its leadership and management processes.

    You can have the greatest product or service, but if you don’t have the appropriate management and leadership processes, your company won’t get too far. It’s that simple.

    The next time something doesn’t go as you wanted it to go, stop for a second, step back, get your focus off the content, and take a closer look at the process you are using. How can you improve the process that you are using? Process Theories of Motivation

    This website is only filled with management and leadership processes with the most impact on organizational performance – use it to your advantage!

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    To keep on learning about the skills you need to manage the performance of your direct reports, go back to the previous page, or click here and continue reading in a sequential order.

    To learn more about the skills you need to lead the performance of your entire organization, go to our Leadership Skills page.

    If you would like your executives to learn about these process theories of motivation through our speaking or consulting services, please, click on this link.




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