Change Psychology: Expectancy Theory

recently wrote about building up a resource for Change knowledge here within this very Blog. Finally I got the time to deal with some basic psychological questions of Change. I am looking forward to be able to share those insights on “Change Psychology” with you, here.

As we constantly are predicting likely futures, we create expectations about future events. If things seem reasonably likely and attractive, we know how to get there and we believe we can ‘make the difference’ then this will motivate us to act to make this future come true.

Motivation is thus a combination of:

  1. Valence: The value of the perceived outcome (What’s in it for me?)
  2. Instrumentality: The belief that if I complete certain actions then I will achieve the outcome. (Clear path?)
  3. Expectancy: The belief that I am able to complete the actions. (My capability?)

Of course you can have an unpleasant outcome, in which case the motivation is now one of avoidance. Expectancy Theory is also called Valence-Instrumentality-Expectancy Theory or VIE Theory.

So what?
Motivate people to do something by showing them something desirable, indicating how straightforward it is to get it, and then supporting their self-belief that they can get there.

Psychology of Change (Picture source: Original article taken from
Psychology of Change (Picture source:
Original article taken from

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