Porter and Lawler’s Performance Satisfaction Theory

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 5: Motivation

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4


Porter & Lawler’s Performance Satisfaction Theory

Porter & Lawler

Porter & Lawler developed a model of expectancy theory that expands the Vroom’s work. This model contains nine separate variables and the relationships that exist within these variables (Porter & Lawler, 1968). This model is displayed in Figure below:

Fig.: Porter & Lawler's Satisfaction Theory Model

The model proposes that an effort does not directly lead to performance. It is mediated by abilities, traits and role perceptions. The various element of model are discussed below:

  • Effort: The amount of energy exerted by a person to a job.
  • Perceived effort reward probability: Individual’s perception of the probability that different rewards depend upon different degrees of efforts. 
  • Performance: Performance is determined by the amount of effort and ability and role perception of the individual. 
  • Reward: Performance may lead to two kinds of rewards: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are those awards that derive from the organization, and intrinsic rewards are those that the individual grants themselves. 
  • Satisfaction: If actual rewards meet or exceed perceived equitable rewards, the individual will feel satisfied and if these are less than equitable rewards the individual will feel dissatisfied. 

Porter and Lawler (1968) state that past positive and negative experiences with rewards influence future effort. A reward must contain two components of “equitable” and “actually received” in order to obtain satisfaction (Porter & Lawler, 1968).

They place that motivation, performance and satisfaction are all separate variables and relate in ways different from what was assumed. Porter and Lawler pointed out that an effort (force or motivation) does not directly lead to performance. It is mediated by abilities, traits and role perception. Further, Schwad and Cummings re-defined the model and said that performance results in rewards and satisfaction depends on the rewards (equitable rewards).

Implications of the Two-Factor Theory

Managers should carefully assess their reward structure and that through careful planning and careful definition of role requirements, the effort-performance reward-satisfaction systems should be integrated into the overall system of managing. Following are the recommendations- 

  1. Place the right person on the right job
  2. Employee must know what is expected from him/ her with respect to the role assignment
  3. Make sure that the rewards dispersed are valued by employees 
  4. Link reward to performance 

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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