Department of Management


Date of this Version



The Academy of Management Review, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Apr., 1978), pp. 374-38.


Published by Academy of Management. Used by permission.


Of cognitive theories of motivation, the most intensively researched in recent years is the Valence-Instrumentality-Expectancy (VIE) theory. A recent review of VIE research (9) shows the valence model to be reasonably predictive of occupational preference, job satisfaction, and valence of performance. The behavioral choice model has not fared so well; although it moderately predicts self-ratings of job effort, its efficiency in predicting criteria measured by other then self-ratings is questionable. When the behavioral choice model is used in research, the following findings are typical:

1. Intrinsic outcomes (feelings of accomplishment, etc.) are better predictors of satisfaction and performance than are extrinsic outcomes (pay, promotions, etc.).

2. Small variances are obtained in valence measures; thus, multiplying expectancy by valence does not increase predictability over use of expectancy alone.

3. Casual tests using time series designs are inconclusive.

In addition to a number of methodological problems, these findings led Mitchell (9) to suggest development of more accurate theoretical representations and better construct measures.