Currently, TIAGS is a major force in the ground handling business at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and serves most of Airlines that have flights on and off Tan Son Nhat airport. Being recognized as the most long-standing and competent ground handling service provider at Tan Son Nhat International airport, TIAGS provides a wide range of services such as passenger services, loading control services, baggage handling services. The company has established a reputation for being a valued business partner, not only because of its flexible business policy of customizing Airlines case by case, but also due to its dedicated service staff. Core staff of TIAGS are the passenger services agents who directly communicate with passengers every day. Therefore, it is important for the company in motivating the employees to perform well in order to provide the best services. This essay aims to discuss expectancy theory as the literature background to analyse the empirical case of TIAGS' employees motivating manners.
In general, the process through which outcomes become desirable is explained by the expectancy theory of motivation. Expectancy theory is not simply a single theory but a family of theories. Rooted in the work of Tolman (1932, 1959) and Lewin (1938, 1951), the first formal expectancy theory was produced by Vroom in 1964. Later, Vroom's theory was subsequently elaborated by Porter and Lawler in 1968; then by only Lawler in 1981 and 1994. Recently, expectancy theory has been also complemented more by theory of planned behaviour of Ajzen.
Developed from the original work of Tolman and Honzik (1930), Vroom's expectancy theory premises the importance of motivation (Brooks, 2009). According to this theory, motivation is examined from the perspective of why people choose a particular action or behaviour. Based on three concepts: valence, instrumentality, and expectancy; Vroom (1964) argued that the motivation to behave in a particular way is determined by an individual's expectation that behaviour will lead to a particular outcome, multiplied by the preference or valence that person has for that outcome (Brooks, 2009, p.83). As Vroom defined, valence is the perceived value or preference that an individual has for a particular outcome, and can be positive, negative or neutral (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007). Expectancy can be a momentary belief followed by a particular outcome. Expectancy is a person's estimation of the probability that effort will lead to successful performance (Lee, 2007). This belief depends on the confidence of individuals about their personal ability. About instrumentality, this is the person's perception of the probability that performance will lead to a specific outcome. It is related to the individual's beliefs or expectations that "if he or she behaves in a certain way, he or she will get certain things" (Nadler and Lawler, 1977, cited in Lee, 2007).
Generally, Vroom (1964) pointed out that individuals will be motivated if they meet three criteria. First, they must value the behavioural outcome valence. Second, they must believe that the desired behaviour is instrumental in achieving the outcome. In other words, the individuals must expect that if they behave in a certain way, they will receive certain things. Finally, they must expect that they are capable of performing the behaviour that is instrumental to achieving the outcome.
In 1968, Vroom's (1964) original ideas were later expanded to cover four major elements: effort-performance expectancy, instrumentality of performance, performance-reward expectancy, and reward-cost balance (Porter and Lawler, 1968, cited in Johnson, 2009).
The first element, effort-performance expectancy holds that workers will accomplish tasks in which they have the capability or opportunity to perform. Without the capability and opportunity, all of the effort in the world would not allow them to perform the task. The second element, instrumentality of performance, is that employees should know exactly which performance they are required to have by their employers in order to gain rewards. If workers do not know what tasks are truly expected by management, then it is difficult to meet these expectations (Campbell and Pritchard, 1976; Mitchell, 1974; Porter and Lawler, 1968, cited in Johnson, 2009). The third element, performance-reward expectancy, suggests that emplyees must understand how much effort is expected in order to achieve each level of reward. Workers will only give as much effort as is necessary to receive the rewards they desire. If they are unable to determine how much effort is required to attain their desired rewards, they will become frustrated and effort will decrease. The last element, reward-cost balance, holds that employees should evaluate the right value of the reward offering by the employer in order to exert the essential effort to gain this reward. (Campbell and Pritchard, 1976; Mitchell, 1974; Porter and Lawler, 1968, cited in Johnson, 2009).
To summarize the elements of expectancy motivation more plainly, an employee will likely perform a desired task if four conditions are met. First, the employee must perceive that performance of the task is expected by the employer. Second, the employee must have the capability to perform the task. Third, the employee must have the opportunity to perform the task. Fourth, the employee must perceive that performing the task will bring a reward worth the effort involved to obtain it. Therefore, expectancy motivation theory is based on the four elements of expectation, capability, opportunity, and rewards. When these four elements are in place in the organizational work environment, the employee will be likely to perform the tasks desired by the organization. (Johnson, 2009)
Based on the theoretical framework of expectancy motivation theory, it is possible to construct a general model of how TIAGS' employees are motivated to perform well in order to satisfy the customers and contribute in the company's achievement.
First of all, it is assumed that all staff of TIAGS always believe that working hard will bring them high salary and perceive the relation between their benefit and the successful achievement of company. Every year, the bonus of employees depends on the quality of services they provide. Knowing that safety is the priority standard in TIAGS's policy, they always try their best to provide 100% safe flights to passenger in a whole year. This has been become the common objective of company as well as all employees. It is important to ensure that employees understand how their personal job performance contributes to the overall performance of the company.
Additionally, TIAGS also has a performance appraisal system which is used to assess how far each passenger services agent meet the specified standard of the company's policy every six months. Each employee is ranked in one of three bands whose definitions range from "exceeds the expectations", to "meets the expectations" and "not meet the expectations". Based on this result, only those ranked "exceeds the expectation" get the increase income while the others have no change or possibly get decreased income. The company aims to use this appraisal system as a motivator for employees to improve their performance. However, it seems not to work well because no specific amount of increased income for those exceed the expectations is published. In other word, employees feel that their performance goal still vague and ambiguous perceive that the reward is not worth the amount of effort necessary to achieve it. As a result, the workers will lose their interest and not try hard to obtain the reward. Moreover, the supervisors play an important role in this appraisal system because the measurement of employees' performance is based on the supervisor's expectations to identify areas that require training or development. Therefore, the fairness of supervisors in assessment is also employees' expectancy.
While performance appraisal system related to pay of TIAGS seems not to be an effective motivator, TIAGS also has many activities to encourage high performance of employees. Once a month, all staff are assessed by a group who give comments on their performance by observing their work. Based on these results, the staff that exceed expectations in some aspect of customer services are chosen and rewarded as "Staff of Month" or "Star Agents" through formal recognition of their outstanding performance in front of their colleagues. Ceremonies may also be thought of as celebrations of organisational culture, or collective acts of cultural worship that remind and reinforce cultural values. These ceremonies are extremely motivating and serve to ensure a repeat of the superior performance by the staff members. The ceremonies have became a good mean to reinforce for other staff members the importance of not only respecting the organisational culture, but also taking an active part in demonstrating commitment to the espoused features of TIAGS's culture. Moreover, rituals such as the monthly staff meeting ensure that all staffs are kept informed of important events, decisions and changes. The meetings are also an occasion at which staff can express ideas and take part in decision-making. The information discussed at the meetings is posted on staff bulletin boards to reinforce important points of the meeting and decisions that are made. In case of TIAGS, the ritual rewards seem to be useful motivators. It is clearly seen that financial rewards such as money can be a motivator but is only one of a number of extrinsic rewards.
In conclusion, motivation can be regarded as the selective and preferential aspect of specific behaviour. It is motivation that is responsible for the explanation of force toward a particular behaviour or action. The expectancy theory of Vroom also places emphasis on the importance of motivation in the explanation of why people choose a particular action or behaviour. From this point of view, Vroom's expectancy theory can have critical values for organisations which try to improve their high performance of their employees. Based on Vroom's expectancy theory, the primary purposes of this paper were to explore TIAGS's motivation model as a practical case which has not only effective factors but also ineffective factors in motivational manner. Despite of the fact that different organisations have their own motivational strategy, acknowledging the advantages as well as disadvantages TIAGS have in the ways the management board encourages their employees will provide us a helpful experience in proposing motivational strategy. Especially, it is important for companies to ascertain the value of employees and their perceived effort-reward ratio.