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An Integrative Theory of Motivation, Volition, and Performance
John Keller

There are many independent theories and constructs pertaining to motivation, volition, and learning and the total number continues to expand. In contrast, it could be beneficial for guiding research and practice to have more theories that are integrative in nature; that help explain relationships among theories in relation to motivation, volition, learning, and performance. Typically, researchers focus on a bounded set of questions within a given area of interest that incorporates a specific paradigm of inquiry. However, to have integrative theories it is necessary to move outside of the given paradigms and demonstrate how these various approaches can be combined to provide more explanatory frames of reference than any one of them can do by itself. In this paper such an integrative theory is proposed. It preserves the integrity of the constituent concepts and theories and provides a basis for cross-paradigm studies. This theory of motivation, volition, and performance (MVP) builds upon an established integrative theory but expands it by incorporating the concept of intentions, action control, and information processing within the framework of a system model. Furthermore, the theory illustrates how environmental (external) influences on behavior combine with internal psychological constructs and processes in relation to goal directed effort, performance, consequences, and outcomes. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications of the theory for research and practice.

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