Learning / Motivation Discussion – Please respond with your opinion to this article with cited work

The theory of motivation that I really enjoyed reading about is called three dimensional theory of attribution. Bernard Weiner was a Psychologist who determined the concept about attributional theory. His three dimensional theory of attribution determined why we do what we do. Simply meaning, that our behavior can affect how we behave in the future.  For example, For example, a student who fails an exam could attribute their failure to a number of factors and it’s this attribution that will affect their motivation in the future. (Weiner, 1986) 


Basically, there are 3 different types of attributions that affect future motivation and these are stability, locust of control and controllability. 


Stability–It is important to assess the stability first. For example, if the student believes they failed the exam because they were not’t smart enough, this is a stable factor. An unstable factor would be such as being ill.


According to Weiner, stable attributions for successful achievements, such as passing exams, can lead to positive expectations, and thus higher motivation, for success in the future.  However, in negative situations, such as failing the exam, stable attributions can lead to lower expectations in the future. (Weiner, 1986)


2. Locus of control – was the event caused by an internal or an external factor?


For example, if the student believes it’s their own fault they failed the exam, because they are not smart enough (an internal cause), they may be less motivated in the future. If they believed an external factor was to blame, such as poor teaching, they may not experience such a drop in motivation.


3.  Controllability – how controllable was the situation? If an individual believes they could have performed better, they may be less motivated to try again in the future than someone who believes they failed because of factors outside of their control.


Now that we know what three dimensional theory of attribution is, I will now tell how we can apply in in reality.  


Well If I ever work as a physician and I have my private practice, I will give my  employees specific feedback, letting them know that they can improve and how they can about it. This will help prevent them from attributing their failure to an innate” lack of skill and see that success is controllable if they work harder.


I can also praise my employees for showing an improvement, even if the outcome was still not correct. For example, you might praise someone for using the correct methodology even though the results weren’t what you wanted. This way, I am encouraging my employees to attribute the failure to controllable factors which  can be improved upon in the future.

Source:  Weiner, B. (1986). An attributional theory of motivation and emotion. Springer.


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