The success of DTE Energy’s employee motivation approach during the Great Recession is largely due to building a shared purpose in a team and getting everyone involved in the company’s commitment. The resulting effect can be explained by applying expectancy theory since it satisfies the three components of this framework: expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. The expectancy implies that the explicit goal set in correlation with a tangible and highly desired result provides an optimal level of employee motivation.
Moreover, the effect was strengthened by instrumentality which is ensured due to the feasibility of the goal, meaning that managers perceive cutting costs as possible and worth the effort. Finally, understanding rewards expressed in a commitment to keep everyone employed helped to achieve the valence of the CEO’s approach. Thus, the outcome was indeed precise, feasible valuable to all team members, motivating them to work towards the desired objective.