Céleste M. Grimard


Students sometimes have difficulty grasping and applying motivational theories given the abstract nature of these theories. This paper describes a simple experiential exercise that helps students gain a personal understanding of Vroom’s expectancy theory. This exercise invites students to do the chicken dance under different conditions and incentives. Although some students require no encouragement to dance, others wait to see what other students are doing, and yet others require significant incentives to dance along with their classmates. The debriefing of the exercise illustrates the need to take into account individuals’ sense of self-efficacy for a task (effort ® performance), their need for clear linkages between performance and rewards (performance ®  outcomes), and their assessment of the attractiveness of particular rewards (valence). Other insights regarding students’ motivation to step out of their comfort zones are also explored.


experiential exercise, expectancy theory, motivation theory

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