Positive Illusions at Work: Enhancing Performance and Career Success

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.7.03 (Clement House)
Anastasia M Luca, QuantLearn Systems LLC, Santa Monica, CA

I develop a sequential model of work motivation and propose Work Positive Illusions (WTPI) or positive self assessments as performance enhancers.

Work motivation is a vast and fragmented, albeit significant area of study. My model contends that needs' (Maslow, 1987)  and expectancy (Cambell and Pritchard, 1983)  theories explicate driving forces of work motivation, while theories, such as goal-setting (Locke and Latham, 1990), self-efficacy (Bandura, 1982) , work positive illusions (Taylor,1989; Luca, 1994, 2000),  highlight factors that are associated with enhanced motivation and performance.

Individuals experience needs and engage in work activities to meet these needs, internalizing them as goals. Individuals form expectations that their exerted efforts lead to rewards meeting their goals.

While needs and expectancy are at the crux of motivation, enhancing theories are associated with enhanced motivation and performance by factors such as clarity of goals and feedback, confidence and competency, optimism and self-esteem.

I created Work Positive Illusions (WTPI), employing Positive Illusions (TPI), a social cognition model (Taylor, 1989; Taylor and Brown, 1988), explaining that by virtue of self-serving biases, individuals, to varying degrees, develop more favorable views of themselves and of their future than objective reality may warrant. Contrary to expectations, TPI is beneficial to individuals, who show enhanced motivation and performance.

WTPI manifestations include enhanced career self-esteem and perceptions of superior career prospects. I tested WTPI among US EMBA students in Los Angeles and Bucharest Empirical findings show relationships among positive self assessments and bottom line benefits, as individuals who are optimistic and feel good about themselves appear to be more successful in the work place.