Motivation Case Overview
My chosen profession was largely directed by the profession of my father who is a school headmaster in China. So this was a dominant factor that shaped my being of a teacher. Being a good student, it was infused in me that I will be able to become a good teacher. However, the case is not always the same. During my teaching career, I suffered from a series of events that was associated with my motivational aspects. Self-efficacy, self-determination and the prevalent family and societal culture are some of the factors that I suffered from and are also the reasons from my weak motivation.
The problems cause anxiety, irritation, and dissatisfactions within me and make me ask myself whether am I in the right profession?; Is there any passion in me for teaching?; Do I have any personality and behavioral deficiencies? These set of questions, thereby, force me to work upon my weaknesses and become proficient in my profession.
Scrutinizing my problems under the microscopic instruments with the help of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), I have found that I need to take steps to improve my self-determination and self-efficacy in order to help me deal with my problems effectively.
The paper, first of all, provides a theoretical analysis of the basis of motivation and cultures in line with the subject of the case. It then sequentially provides a discussion on the proposed revision made after analyzing the case on the basis of relevant motivational and cultural theories. Finally, the paper will give an indication of how the identified issues can help in changing the behavior.
Analysis of Case Using Theory and Research
The case is related to my teaching profession, which is basically a derivative from my father’s profession. My father is a headmaster at a senior school in China. Due to this reason, I have got a strict and disciplined environment within my family at a very young age. Last summer, I was given an opportunity to teach the students of 9th grade in the same school. It gave me an opportunity to enhance my knowledge that I have achieved from my schooling. It also allowed me to gain some experience. Being a very good student, I thought that it would be an easy task to carry out the teaching profession without difficulty. This was developed from the perception that was established from the generalization made about something or certain group of people (Kocsis, 2005). As a son of a school teacher, this thought was developed in me.
Again, due to being a son of an educator, the sense of assuming responsibility grew in me, compared with other students of my age. I had the desire to do well in the school. I was disciplined and hard-working, and hence, wanted to pursue a career in teaching, which was highly inspired and stirred by the professional career of my father. Thus, the professional background of my father played an important role in deciding of my profession, which was to become a teacher in the school.
This is another aspect of cultural influence as the expectations of others shape the decision of a person to a great extent (Brooks, 2006). So, the motivation and cultural aspects have significantly affected our desires, expectations, performance and satisfaction. It might also relate to what we do, the way we do it, the resulted outcomes against the perceived ones, our satisfaction or disappointment associated with the outcomes of our performance.
Concerning this issue Freedheim et al. (2003) denoted that motivation is an internal desire to make an effort, which has the capacity to generate behavior or performance. This psychological dynamic process is an outcome of the interaction between the individual and the context that surrounds him and changes as his personal needs change, as per a given situation (Latham & Pinder, 2005).
Concerning the issue of self-efficacy, it was my earlier thought that teaching would be an opportunity for me to exploit my knowledge and the guidance that I had gained during my period of schooling and would accordingly assist me to teach the new students on my own. However, I came across to a number of issues during the period of my teaching in the classroom setting. These issues raised a number of questions that struck me significantly.
I used to feel trembling in the class; my feet were shaking while giving lecture; sometimes I used to get stuck during my lectures. Rather than being an authoritative teacher and taking control of my class, I used to speak to my students softly and deal with them in a gentle manner. As a consequence, the students engaged themselves in excessive talking quite often and used to use their cell phones a lot rather than being attentive in the class. The participation of the students in the study activities was lower and they were unwilling to take part in the class discussion.
Furthermore, their scores in the examination were not satisfactory enough. Such things made me think whether I am doing enough to improve myself, and taking further steps to resolve the barriers; whether I am performing enough to engage my students to the class participation and cheering and inspiring them to make themselves attentive in the class.
With the context of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), which was formulated, presented, and prescribed by Bandura (2001), an attempt was made to identify and understand the specific problems faced by me in relation to my teaching experience.
Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) provides an understanding of the behavior of human being in a social context and the learning process of human within a context that is basically gained through observations (Bandura, 1986). People basically have desires on their own of what they can do in the future and the desire turns into belief through external and internal influences, motivations and culture surrounding them.
They see how other people are acting in a particular way to perform a job. The process is, thereby, installed in their behavior, wherein the job can only be performed in a particular process (Steinwachs, 1999). The learning acquired through observations has a great impact on peoples’ way of doing the things (Pidgeon, 1970).
The concept of motivation provides a thought understanding on that. The concept of motivation can be divided into three main components: arousal, which is the need or desire; direction, which provides the direction for the personal goal; and intensity, where certain needs are prioritized over others (Freedheim et al., 2003). If we take into account the first component, the need or desire, then we can definitely figure out what drives me to be a teacher?
The answer, without any doubt, will be my observations. Moorman (1993) illustrated that observation is the key basis for learning, as most of the people learn from what they see and observe and as such instill the learning in their behavior.
I have seen my father engaged in teaching profession since childhood and being a son of a school headmaster I was more disciplined and regulated compared to other students of my class. For the reason of growing up in an educator’s family, the desire of being a teaching professional has become my passion. I have seen my father how he was delivering his lectures, his attitudes in the classroom, his relationship with the students, the way he used to communicate with his students, his expectations from the students and so on. With the desire of being a teacher, I have observed and learned how to deal with the students in a class setting.
According to Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) (2001), I received the learning of how to teach in a class setting from my father. Bandura (1994) added that this is how people started learning from observations and think of having the same outcome that they observed and learned from the resulting outcome of a particular event. That this individual modeling of an event may have a positive or negative impact on the self-efficacy of people in general, as illustrated by Jussim & Harber (2005).
Stress, frustrations and disappointment were some of the indications that had happened to me during the first few months of my teaching profession. So, according to the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), performance was a mismatch with the one that was observed and learned. Motivation is highly connected to performance. People, in general, believe that if they can understand the constitution of these energetic forces, through recognizing the direction, intensity and the duration of these behaviors, then they will be able to benefit from maximizing their performance (Harter, 1978).
In addition, they are aware that performance is considered the functional part of human abilities, and motivation helps to anchor the thinking of people to guide them in the right direction (Buchner, 2007). So, exploiting these potentials through the use of motivational theories can create a favorable environment for learning. As a consequence, people will be able to maximize their performance (Boyle et al., 1995).
The Expectancy Value Theory puts forward that people engage into doing things based on their observations and learning, and they have the belief that they will get hold of the achievement due to their learning from the past events. The achievement of success depends on their level of expectations and endeavors that they believe are required and adequate to complete a given job.
Pearson & Moomaw (2005) pointed towards the fact that motivational behavior depends on the value that a person uses to measure a task and the value he uses to measure the success. It is also mentioned by Van Eerde and Henk (1996) that observations and learning have profound effect on people’s learning and the associated outcome also shapes their expectations in the event of recurring experiences of same or similar situations.
Van Eerde and Henk (1996) further stipulated that two sets of personal beliefs are associated with a person’s achievement-related preferences: First, his expectations for getting success and second, the importance of the available alternatives perceived by this person as accessible to him or her.
Culture can support motivation (Francesco & Gold, 1998). According to Hofstede and Hofstede (2005), individualism is a form of culture in which the way members of a society show their inclination. This inclination will be toward them and toward their family. Thus, we can conclude that, the society is individualistic in nature, whereas an interest in the groups provides a picture of a collectivist society. This suggested that my inclination to my family and especially, to my father played a crucial role in choosing the teaching profession.
Another cultural aspect, uncertainty avoidance, was crucial in this case that shaped my choice of being a teacher. It is associated with the extent to which the members of a society are comfortable or uneasy in vague, ambiguous and unstructured situations. In a high uncertain society, members of the society are basically nervous and drive emotionally. In such society, they create rules, beliefs, and laws in order to reduce the impact of uncertainty among society members (Lindholm, 2000). So, from ambiguity of situations’ perspective, I choose to take the opportunity to start my career as a teacher as it was granted to me.
It has been pointed out the fact that it is not necessary that expectations and beliefs will always reflect the performance, the basis of which is learning from past events (Saks, 2006). My belief was that I would be a good teacher due to my educator background. The observation and learning that came from the performance of my father in a class setting, made me believe about the real case scenario.
However, the background context might be different in my case as Pintrich (2000) specified that contextual and background difference could significantly affect the performance of the people and people were likely to get different results in this case. Robbins (2003) stated that situations and rules need to be balanced in a cultural context to ensure the optimization of performance.
In this light of the theories, it is important to for me to answer the questions like Am I able to carry on the task of teaching? Despite the fact that I suffered from self-efficacy, my answer is yes. My self-efficacy may be low, but it is not impossible to make it high. So, I have the desire and drive, and I am motivated to be an excellent teacher. The only thing that is needed is to bring some changes in my perspectives and task performance.
It is important to be motivated to motivate others (Srivastava & Thakur, 2013). So, my first and foremost focus will be to inspire my students. To do so, it is important to understand what motivates them. As Attridge (2009) stated that people of different cultural background were motivated by various factors such as reward, recognition, self-fulfillment, individual or group achievement, participation and participative environment. So, it is important to know their motivational factors.
I would like to ensure them of a better participative and congenial educational environment where learning is fun, and not just a compliance requirement for a better future. The theories of Harter (1978) are well relevant in such a situation. The perceived value of a task in line with strategies on how to revise the behavior is significant, and this is how, I would like to make my students inclined towards learning. However, besides all the issues and factors that could actually motivate me, I would now like to discuss certain factors of motivation, which were provided to me by my father. He provided me with certain instructions and guidelines, on the basis of which, I was able to improve my motivation, and thereby, my profession.
Intrinsic Interest – It is associated with intrinsic motivation. Jussim & Harber (2005) said that in work environment, the quality of work is expected to improve if people find their task interesting, rewarding and challenging. Bonuses are extrinsic rewards that may increase productivity, but the actual quality of work being performed is brought by intrinsic factors (Locke and Latham, 2004). So my mission will be to create a performance related award system to motivate my student’s in active participation.
Attainment Value - This is connected with how a person links his ideas and competencies toward a task that he is going to do. In this case, the person is highly motivated to attain his goal because it is associated with his perception about himself. I will take help from my father, fellow colleagues, school administrators to apply my ideas and competencies to create an environment to make my students feel motivated and participative.
Utility Value – With my competencies along with the skills and talents of my students and with a participative environment where anyone can share their ideas, I would be able to unlock the potential of my students and can understand their future intentions. I will thus, be able to work on such issues and prepare them for the eventual attainment of their goals.
Perceived Cost - The value of the task is also associated with a set of beliefs, characterized as the cost of doing the task. It is caused by other factors such as anxiety of the unknown, fear of the failure, fear of rejection by peers or racial discrimination, and the fear of loss of a sense of self-worth (Buchanan & Huczynski, 1991). The positive frame of mind is highly important to have a sense of self-worth, which I will be working with to preserve the positive sense of self-worth of every student. Student evaluations should be done privately and more discreetly, and I will involve counseling to make sure that they are strong enough to overcome their weaknesses.
Further, to achieve these all, I will have to work on my self-efficacy by working hard and by being persevere. Doing so will help me do the job of a teacher and the challenges I encountered before will no longer be a hindrance. I shall be always thankful to my father, who has not only guided me during my tough times, but also for motivating me to continue this profession. He taught me how to fight such challenges, and how to overcome such issues during bad times.
Reflection on your Beliefs
Maslow theory of motivation is very much consistent with my motivational behavior. He proposed four major arguments with his theory. Firstly, if a need is satisfied, it does not motivate, so having a teaching job will not create a need to get another one, unless the individual seek something else besides money, like personal or career development (Callahan, Fleenor, & Knudson, 1986). Secondly, if a certain need is satisfied, another will take its place, not necessarily in the same order in the hierarchy, such as when the need for creativity replaces safety and survival (Carver, Sutton, & Scheier, 2000).
In this case, I was satisfied with my teaching and then next thing aroused is my performance in the class and my expectations from that. Thirdly, as Francesco & Gold (1998) said that there are desires in human to go up. In my case, I want to pursue a long teaching career motivated by my father.
So, the need for fulfilling the expectations comes sequentially. Fourthly, the dissatisfaction of these needs affect our mental health, frustration and stress (Jung et al., 2008). So, this is what happened in my case. However, by doing all the analysis and reviewing my self-efficacy and self-determination, my perspective regarding my profession has changed a lot. In addition, it has shaped me in a better way, since I got motivated not only from motivational theories, concepts and factors, but chiefly from my father. He was the person who provided me with all these values, and told me to work upon accordingly.
I would like to continue my profession as a teacher because I would like to contribute to the youth with my knowledge and would like myself to gain more knowledge to help future generations. My overall perspective and motivation is to make the students the best leaders for tomorrow. And, to achieve such an objective, I shall be putting in the best of my efforts. However, I shall also seek motivation from my father, and will even discuss on certain issues. I will thereby, move ahead as per the directions and guidelines provided to me by my father in this profession.
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