The Difference Between Hungry and Angry

Imagine with me that you are a recent college graduate. You are about to start your first real job, and you are eager to do a good job and prove your worth. Your boss introduces you to the company claiming that it is built around meritocracy; he tells you that he is happy to give his employees raises and promotions but that they have to earn them first. You, an overachiever in college, are confident that you are going to thrive in this type of environment.

Before you know it, your mid-year performance review is upon you. You are excited because you know that you have done an excellent job, exceeding expectations of those who hired you. In your limited time with the company, you have already proven to work more efficiently than many of your peers that have been there for years. You know that you have a greater potential for success than many of them, and are excited to receive greater opportunities to prove your abilities.

You step into your bosses office. He acknowledges that you have done an excellent job so far and have great potential with the organization. He regrets to inform you that he simply is not in the right position to give out raises and promotions at this point. You walk out disillusioned. What makes things worse is that there is a rumor floating around the company that one of the long-time employees, an underachiever, was able to convince the boss to give him a raise just by complaining that he wasn't making enough money.

New hires are coming in, and you find it hard to believe that you have already been here for an entire year. Although still bitter about your last performance review, you are hopeful that this one will go better. You spent the second half of the year working even harder to prove that you are ready for an increased role. Unfortunately, the rumor around the company is that once again you will leave your boss's office raiseless and promotionless. One of your coworkers points out that raises are rarely ever given out in your first two year; "they want to make you hungry," he says.

Hungry?! You do not feel hungry. You feel a lot of things: disillusion, resentment, bitterness, helplessness but definitely not hungry. How does falsely claiming that the hardest workers will be rewarded motivate anyone? You decide to be optimistic and wait until your performance review with your boss before you make any decisions; however, if things go as poorly as rumor suggests, then you may start shopping around for other companies that are willing to give you the opportunity that you deserve.

***end of analogy***

Sadly, I fear that this is the situation that some of our young Jazz players are facing. Corbin claims that he is willing to give minutes to players that earn them, but then he does not follow through. Nobody here can argue that Raja Bell and Josh Howard earned their minutes and starting spots over Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward. Some Jazz fans defend Corbin claiming that he needs to make the young players "hungry" which will make them play better. Hungry is Enes Kanter on his new diet. Anyone that thinks that not playing the young core players enough minutes will make them hungry doesn't properly understand how motivation works.

Expectancy theory proposes that a person will decide to behave or act in a certain way because they are motivated to select a specific behavior over other behaviors due to what they expect the result of that selected behavior will be. The Motivational Force of a behavior is a function of three distinct perceptions: Expectancy, Instrumentality, and Valence.The Motivational Force is the product of the three perceptions:

Motivational Force = Expectancy x Instrumentality x Valence

Expectancy is the belief that one's efforts will lead to desired performance. Instrumentality is the belief that if one does meet performance expectations, he or she will receive a greater reward. Valence is the value of the reward to the person.

Because Motivation is the product of the three variables, if only one of the variables goes to zero, then Motivation is lost altogether. By not rewarding the young players more minutes when they perform well, the Jazz decrease the players Instrumentality which reduces motivation regardless of the other variables.

I fear that the Jazz not giving sufficient minutes to the young core players will bring negative consequences to the organization including:

  1. Demotivated players (as explained above)
  2. Players that don't reach their full potential because they aren't given enough minutes to properly develop
  3. Players that become dissatisfied with the Jazz organization and look forward to leaving when their contracts expire

I am bitter about some of Corbin's decisions last season, but I am also optimistic that he will be able to correct his mistakes and do a better job this season. Maybe the Jazz organization should have not given him an automatic 6 year contract (despite no head coaching experience) to make him a little bit "hungry".

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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