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Self-determination and expectancy-value: Comparison of cognitive psychological approaches to motivators for information seeking about job opportunities

Reijo Savolainen (Faculty of Communication Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 15 January 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate the picture of the motivators for information seeking by comparing two cognitive psychological approaches to motivation: self-determination theory (SDT) and expectancy-value theories (EVTs).

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on the conceptual analysis of 31 key investigations characterizing the nature of the above theories. Their potential is examined in light of an illustrative example of seeking information about job opportunities.

Findings

SDT approaches motivation by examining the degree to which one can make volitional choices while meeting the needs of autonomy and competence. Information-seeking behaviour is most volitional when it is driven by intrinsic motivation, while such behaviours driven by extrinsic motivation and amotivation are less volitional. Modern EVTs approach the motivators for information seeking by examining the individual’s beliefs related to intrinsic enjoyment, attainment value, utility value and relative cost of information seeking. Both theories provide useful alternatives to traditional concepts such as information need in the study of the motivators for information seeking.

Research limitations/implications

As the study focusses on two cognitive psychological theories, the findings cannot be generalised to all represent all categories relevant to the characterisation of triggers and drivers of information seeking.

Originality/value

Drawing on the comparison of two cognitive psychological theories, the study goes beyond the traditional research approaches of information behaviour research confined to the analysis of information needs.

Keywords

Citation

Savolainen, R. (2018), "Self-determination and expectancy-value: Comparison of cognitive psychological approaches to motivators for information seeking about job opportunities", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 70 No. 1, pp. 123-140. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-10-2017-0242

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited