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Dr. Matin Fishbein who established the theory is credited for doing this in the beginning and middle of 1970s. The expectancy value theory is also termed as Fishbein’s expectancy value theory or model. Expectancy-value theory suggests that behavior is caused by expectations that a person has and the thrill towards achieving his or her goals. This approach points out that the possibility of more than one behavior is occurring; the chosen one has the greatest combination of targeted values and success. This theory proposes that human beings are focused on the goals, thus they are goal-oriented (Bembenutty, 2012). Whatever they undertake is usually aimed at achieving an end. In spite of the expectancy value theory explaining key concepts in the research and uses, other factors also influence this process. For instance, psychological and social sources of needs which bring about motives. These are guided by values, beliefs and circumstances relating to the social aspect of life into seeking gratification by means of media and non-media consumption.

Usefulness of the Expectancy Value Theory

The theory proposes that orientation of the people to the world is in accordance to their expectations and evaluations. Their expectation is usually the probability that a given behavior will result into a known consequence or that objects have particular attributes. Evaluation is considered the degree of negative or positive influence towards behavioral result or attribute. It has proved its usefulness in explaining social behavior, work motivation and achievement motivation. The theory is composed of other theories like behavioral decision theory and Fisbein’s theory. Behavioral theory is also called subjective expected utility theory and is among the most completely developed of the known expectancy value formulations.

Fishbein’s theory of reasoned action or intentions in behavior is accepted widely as a developed expectancy theory. This theory provides a basis for understanding the attitude and predicting behavior. The continued research on the matter will help improve the knowledge on motivation and persuasion and testing the effectiveness they have on the audience. Attitude refers to the accumulated information concerning a person, object or experience (Wigfield, 2002). This information obtained about something usually forms an opinion or predisposition. Dr. Fishbein ensured that this theory had no ambiguity for those researching through composing a concrete definition of the term. These attitudes develop or become modified on account of the belief assessments and value.

Three Components of the Expectancy Value Theory

The expectancy value theory has three primary components. To begin with, people respond to the information about items or actions by developing beliefs. The existence of a belief is usually modified by new information that has been obtained. Next component involves the individuals assigning values to every attribute which a belief is based on. From this component then, creation or modification of an expectation basing on the outcome from calculations of values and beliefs is done. For instance, students can come to the conclusion that their lecturer is reputed for being humorous. This motivates them to assign positive values while in the classroom, which makes them expect positive experience with the lecturer. When these students are in the class, they find the lecturer to be humorous and they assume it is a good class.

This theory also adds that attitudes, which are the result of calculations, originate from complex equations with many value pairs (Scholl, 2002). Fishbein represents this with an equation stating that attributes are considered as factorial functions of beliefs and also of values. While striving to work on the levels of success and motivation in students or children, it is important to organize for early qualifications. This is simply arranging for them to get certificates or qualification in elementary issues like giving first aid or swimming.

According to the theory, the motivation of the learners is determined by the amount of value they put into their goals and expectations in succeeding. Values and expectations are known to multiply rather than add. For example, if an individual assigns a task a zero on the expectancy score then his/her motivation is also zero. Similarly, assigning motivational score of zero gives an expectancy of zero. This shows that they complement each other and do not occur as separate entities.

Looking at the low value score, it is clear that a great number of events are affected by this theory. Consider a family that does not have any academic individual. All members are illiterate, thus they will not value the need for education because they do not posses it. This calls for the need to propagate the values that are vital in life. As a motivation in improving the success score, the use of role models is crucial. This sets the standards of success straight as the individual struggles to reach or exceed the set standards. It allows for the development of early success in the individuals.

Six Aspects of Fishbein’s Expectancy Value Theory

While assessing this theory, six aspects will be considered. The first one is the theoretical scope of the theory. Secondly, the heuristic value of the theory. This is the amount of excitement the theory creates (if it causes inspiration). The validity of the theory is also covered in the third stage. The ability of the theory to be understood is called parsimony, which forms the fourth step. The theory is evaluated to see its useful nature to the audience; then finally the theory is checked to ensure that it is testable and can be verified by other individuals.

Assessing the theoretical scope of the expectancy value theory showed that it is far-reaching. It is concerned with people and does not focus on only one particular situation. This theory looks at a number of phenomena, the process of decision making and creating attitudes. These are the known phenomena in this theory. Despite the theory failing to explain every phenomenon, it fully explains the workable phenomena. The theory also has strong heuristic values. Ideas propagated by Fishbein have made it possible for others to exploit new areas.

The validity of the theory covers the objectives of the creators, did they explain what they were to define. At the beginning of his research Martin noticed that many terms needed definitions thus to avoid confusion and ambiguity. He proclaimed his objective during the research, saying that his ultimate goal was to predict and comprehend the behavior of individuals. The definition set is being used by a huge number of people, and it leads to understanding of behavior and attitude (Eccles, 2000). The expectancy value theory is a valid theory after this assessment. Parsimony is the fourth step; the theory is understandable and not too wordy. These authors were clear and concise in the explanation put forward in the theory.

The usefulness of this theory is assessed in the fifth step. Expectancy value theory serves a number of purposes; it could determine and predict the behavior of a voter population. For instance, advertisers use the theory in understanding the marketing area that is best for the business. It can look as a springboard to observe other areas.

Lastly, after looking at the testability of the theory, it showed that reliability of the theory would not be difficult to test. The research methods in the theory were vivid and allowed replication; they were tested and the results were used in developing the belief targeted message. Results were also used in investigating the effectiveness while changing perceptions of the public on recreation. Dr. Matin Fishbein gave a solid and comprehensive definition on the behavior and attitude that is applicable, thus avoiding ambiguity and confusion.

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