Applying Motivation and Emotion Theories Essay

This essay has a total of 2474 words and 13 pages.

Applying Motivation and Emotion Theories

Applying Motivation and Emotion Theories

in an Analysis of Scrooge's Behaviour





























Motivation and Emotion Theories 2

In the past many theories have been put forth in an attempt to understand the
motivations of an individuals behaviour and the emotions involved. According to
Reber & Reber (2001) emotional states tend to have motivational properties and the
elements of a motivation will often have emotional ties. In addition, theorists have
identified that physiological structures usually appear to exist in a motivational and
emotional context (Heilman & Bowers, 1990; Reber, 2001; Strongman, 1973; Weiner, 1985).
Some of the more well known ideas put forth by theorists include locus of control,
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and opponent process theory. Whilst some of the
concepts concerning emotions are the James-Lange theory, the Cannon-Bard theory and the
cognitive arousal theory. One way of understanding how these particular theories work is
to apply them to the motivations and often accompanying emotions of an individual, in this
case, by the use of a fictional character such as Ebinizer Scrooge from Charles Dickens'
‘The Christmas Carol.'

Developed by the theorist Julian Rotter, locus of control refers to a set of beliefs about
the relationship between behaviour and the subsequent occurrence of rewards and
punishments (Hjelle & Zeigler, 1992; Reber, 2001; Weiner, 1985). Links have been found
between locus of control and behaviour patterns in a number of different areas. According
to Hjelle & Ziegler (1992), those individuals with an internal locus of control are
inclined to take responsibility for their actions, are not easily influenced by the
opinions of others, are generally confident in their abilities and ultimately believe they
have control over their own outcomes. Those with an external locus of control, by
comparison , are readily influenced by the opinions of others, tend to blame outside
circumstances for their mistakes and credit their successes to luck rather that to their
own efforts (Phares, 1978, & Strickland, 1977, as

Motivation and Emotion Theories 3
cited in Hjelle & Zeigler, 1992; Weiner, 1985). Weiner argues that locus of control is
conceived as one determinant of the amount of success one will experience in life, this
being supported by Phares (1976, 1978) as cited in Hjelle & Ziegler (1992) who goes
further to add that those with external tendencies have a lower self- esteem and a higher
anxiety level. Taking note of these characteristics, Scrooge's levels concerning locus of
control can be determined throughout his life. However, as Hjelle and Ziegler (1992)
assert:

The construct should be thought of as a continuum bounded on one end by external and on
the other by internal, with peoples beliefs located at all points in between, mostly in
the middle. Keeping this in mind, we can measure locus of control.


In his early 20's, Scrooge had a fiance whom he adored, success in all his ventures and a
loyal friend, Bob Marley, as his business partner. He was respected by his peers and had a
bright future to look forward to. At this point it could be said his locus of control was
balanced, possibly leaning towards a more internal locus by evidence of his success and
general outlook of the future. However, after Scrooge's fiance left him for another man he
became bitter at his abandonment, withdrawn to the point that he began to devote every
moment to his business, as well as indicating a generally lowered self-esteem. From this
evidence, using the characteristics of locus of control it could be said Scrooge is either
more external or more internal- the lowered self-esteem and bitterness would indicate a
sense of little control in the events of his life. Yet, by comparison, he is highly
controlling to the point of obsession in maintaining his business- this control being an
attribute of internal locus. Next Scrooge's business partner, Marley dies, leaving Scrooge
full ownership of the business. The loss of Marley, seems to push Scrooge towards an
internal locus with a continuing strong control of business and a renewal in self-esteem
in that he realises

Motivation and Emotion Theories 4
he is capable in maintaining the business single-handedly. When Christmas arrives once
again Scrooge's locus shifts due to loneliness he admits to resigning to the fact that
this is the way he will be from now on- alone. This resignation indicates a belief of fate
influencing his position which is one of the traits of an external locus. Also a trait of
an external locus of control is an individual's suggestibility involving others' opinions.
In this case, Scrooge quickly comes to rely on the opinions of the Christmas spirits that
visit him. As illustrated by Scrooge's continual change in locus, it can be seen that an
individual's locus range does indeed change- with keeping this in mind their positions can
be roughly measured.

The opponent process theory of motivation was developed mainly by Richard Solomon, and it
is in a sense a homeostatic theory of emotion. Suggested is that every emotion generates
an opposing emotion that acts to control it, existing after the original emotion has
dissipated (Mook, 1996; Reber & Reber, 2001). And with this dissipation, a drive to reach
the initial emotion is created. An example, illustrating this theory is how an
individual's luxuries soon turn into necessities. In order to reach the initial effect the
object in question needs to be increased. This theory can be applied to Scrooge's need for
money. Earlier in life Scrooge's business was successful enough that he could live in
luxury, and for awhile that luxury was enough. However, even after Marley died, leaving
him a mansion and full ownership of the business (and therefore more money), Scrooge began
to push the business more in order to be profitable. Additionally, he became so
tight-fisted with money he refused to be charitable towards family, employees and street
beggars in order to save. This constant drive for more money supports the opponent process
theory for motivation.


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The motivation of an individual can be either extrinsic or intrinsic and the source of
their motivation will determine this. Extrinsic motivations originate from an external
source, examples being money or the approval of others, while intrinsic motivation comes
from within the person, such as the enjoyment of the individuals particular action
(Atkinson, 1974; Csikzentmihalyi & Rathude, 1993; Deckers, 2001; Weiner, 1985). Scrooge
was more intrinsically motivated towards the maintenance of business when he was younger
as he demonstrated a general enjoyment in business ventures. However extrinsic motivations
were also present: success and money. Later in life, with no real intrinsic motivation
evident anymore, Scrooge seems focus on extrinsic motivation: ensuring the business is
making money and admitting he is only there because of a duty he feels he owes Marley.
When asked to make a donation to charity, Scrooge asks "How will I benefit?" (Dickens,
p46. 1843.) After the spirits of Christmas convince Scrooge that he must change his ways
by threat of a lonely death, Scrooge endeavours to help others. This threat of a lonely
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