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Motivation Overview

Contact information:

Dr. Richard W. Scholl
36 Upper College Road
Kingston, RI 02881

p. 401.874.4347
f. 401.874.2954

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of Behavior Change was developed by Dr. James Prochaska and his colleagues at the University of Rhode Island Cancer Prevention Research Center. It has been operationalized and used extensively to promote optimal heath by promoting behavioral change in the areas such as smoking, diet, alcohol and substance, eating disorders, panic disorders and others. One of the model’s major contributions is the recognition that behavioral change unfolds through a series of stages. That is, individual progress through a series of stages in recognizing the need to change, contemplating a change, making a change, and finally sustaining the new behavior. Most important, they have learned that it is critical to understand and identify the stage an individual is in before a successful change intervention can be designed and applied.


Stages of Change

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavioral change posits that individual behavioral change is a process in which individuals go through five stagegs of change. While the model was originally conceived for use in modifying health related behaviors, it can be applied to changing behavior in an organizational context as well. Here is how the changing organizational behavior and individual peformance can be viewed in terms of the five TTM stages.

Precontemplation Stage

Precontempation is the stage in which is no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware of problems or that there is a need for change. Individuals in this change see their performance level as acceptable and do not see any reason to change the amount or direction of effort epended on the job.

Predominant question: Is there a problem form the individual's perspective?

Cognitive and Affective State
Individual are in an affectively positive or neutral state
Individuals are relatively satisfied with respect to five sources of motivation.
Individuals are relatively satisfied with organizational inducement systems (e.g., reward, task, managerial, social)
Individuals perceives no gap in individual, group, or organizational performance that is of concern to them
Activities While in Percontemplation
Typical environmental scanning
Operates in schema proive statecessing mode
Movement to Contemplation: Individual perceives a problem
Cognitive dissonance
Negative affect state
Dissatisfaction with inducement system
Perceived performance gap of concern
Organizational Change Facilitors
Performance appraisal system
Social feedback and peer pressure
Task feedback- Knowledge of results (KOR)
Leader feedback


Contempation is the stage in which individuals have identified a problem.  In this stage, they are deciding whether or not to here is a need to take action to correct the problem.  Do the pro & cons of change outweigh the pro & cons of maintaining present behavioral pattern? 

Predominant question: Does the perceived problem necessitate a change in the direction of amount of effort?

Cognitive and Affective State
Individuals are experiencing some cognitive dissonance manifesting in negative affect
Individuals perceive a performance gap, but is unsure whether or not to initiate any change to reduce this gap
Activities While in Percontemplation
Analysis has to whether or not problem (performance gap) is significant enough to justify change
Analysis of what might be given up (sacrificed by the individual) in order to change (cons)
Analysis of the potential benefits (to the individual) of change (pros)
Decisional Balance in terms of an individual's source of motivation
Analysis of the motivational force for change (Expectancy Theory)
Movement to Contemplation: Individual perceives pros outweigh the cons
The motivational force (MF) for change is greater than the motivational force for stability
Organizational Change Facilitors
Information about the change
Ways to reduce the cons
Assurances that rewards and status will not be reduced
Observation of change successes

Preparation Stage

Preparation is a stage entered into once the individual decides there is a need to take some action.  Specific plans of action are developed in this stage as the individual chooses among alternative potential solutions.

Predominant question: Am I prepared to change?
Cognitive and Affective State
Individuals are attempting to determine what new behaviors will solve the problem or eliminate the performance gap
Individuals determining what skills to learn
Activities While in Preparation
Leaning of new skills, methods or work methods
Movement to Action: Individual ready for change
Organizational Change Facilitors
Training and development programs

Action Stage

Action is the stage in which individuals put their plans into action and change their behavioral patterns. 

Organizational Change Facilitors
Feedback systems
Knowledge of Results (KOR)

Maintenance Stage

Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action.