Take a moment to think about what it would take to motivate you to achieve your goals at work, which theory would you use and why?

Discussion and Response


Motivation is the psychological process that arouses and directs behavior. There are three theories that will help us understand the motivation of employees in the workplace:

  • Goal-setting theory suggests behavior can be motivated with specific, challenging goals that are obtainable. The key to goal-setting theory is ensuring employees understand what is expected and accept the goals.
  • Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s personal ability to do a task. There is a lot to be said to scoring high in this trait. People who are confident about their ability tend to succeed, whereas those who doubt their ability tend to fail.
  • Reinforcement theory explains how behavior can be altered by administering positive or negative consequences to actions of employees. Behavior with positive consequences tends to be repeated, and behavior with negative consequences tends not to be repeated.

Respond to the following.

  • Take a moment to think about what it would take to motivate you to achieve your goals at work, which theory would you use and why?
  • In reflecting on either an experience at work or with a family or friend, how can you motive them to achieve the goals in their lives? Which motivational theory would you use and why?


Read a post by one of your peers and respond, making sure to extend the conversation by asking questions, offering rich ideas, or sharing personal connections.

“My motivation at work is a cross between self efficacy and goal setting. Working in a law enforcement environment means that the target is the goal and my ability to effectively search for them and their crimes is determined by my belief in my technical, analytical and time management skills. There are many opportunities for doubt when your work turns up nothing or not enough to prosecute, but you have to jump back in there and keep your eye on the goal until you succeed.

For my subordinates at work, it is a combination of all three depending on the situation. Some occasions call for explicit reinforcement motivation – if you do this than this and if you do that than that. Other instances you need to encourage self efficacy or lean toward goal setting to accomplish the mission. Peers and superiors, goal setting is usually the way to go. We are moving toward a common reward together.

Family and friends generally call for reinforcement theory. The interment of a positive or negative outcome is a great influencer.”


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