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“Dick Learns about Tipping” Motivation Theories Video Case

Free essayThe effect of tipping on an individual’s motivation is evident in the actions of Dick Solomon, an alien High Commander and Physics professor at the Pendelton State University in “Dick Learns about Tipping” TV comedy series. In the series, Dick tries to motivate a waitress using various means (Pourbakhtiar 2014). One of the means that he applies is the tipping technique involving the payment of a gratuity. Dick attempts to make an overpayment in recognition of the services provided beyond the expectations. Dick also struggles to understand and apply the basic theories of motivation using the process of tipping (Pourbakhtiar 2014). This essay discusses the actions of Dick Solomon in the video “Dick Learns about Tipping” and the application of the various motivational theories. In addition, the paper identifies the specific actions of the waitress, Dick, and his girlfriend that relate to the particular motivational theories. It also purposes to explain the actions of the various actors in the comedy video regarding how the individuals’ comments and behaviors in relation to the particular aspects of each motivational theory identified.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation and its Application in the “Dick Learns about Tipping” video

According to the scenario, Dick attempts to use tipping to motivate the waitress to offer them a quality service. At the beginning of the video, both Mary Albright and Dick Solomon are seen in a restaurant having dinner. Dick is noticed stealing the tip of $10 left for a waitress by Mary, and the latter insists that he returns it. Mary claims that Dick’s actions “make them be treated like crap whenever they go.” (Pourbakhtiar 2014) Having been satisfied with the service at the restaurant, Mary thanks the waitress and leaves the restaurant, but Dick is left wondering. He notes that he pays tips to people for doing things that he pays them to do. One of the gentlemen points out to Dick that it is through tipping that he makes a lot of money.

Dick Solomon’s use of tipping strategy may be explained by Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation. The theory of motivation advanced by Vroom separates the effort that results from the individual’s motivation and the performance and outcomes of the efforts (Your Coach 2013). According to this theory, an individual’s behavioral aspects are as a result of the conscious choices that they make from the alternatives available. The principal aim of the conscious decisions is to minimize the pain and maximize the pleasures that accompany the efforts (Your Coach 2014). Additionally, the theory proposes that the performance of a particular employee is influenced by personal factors such as individual abilities, experience, skills, knowledge, and personality traits (Your Coach 2014). These factors are all presented by the waitress in the restaurant in which Dick and Mary are having dinner. The particular aspects of the Expectancy theory that are evident in her actions include performance, motivation, and effort.

In order to adequately assess the applicability of Vroom’s Expectancy theory, the comments and actions of Dick, Mary, and the waitress need to be critically evaluated. Firstly, the aspects of the Expectancy theory are represented by the waitress’ actions. She believes that if she delivers her services according to the expectations, she will receive a valued outcome in the form of a tip from the clients. Meanwhile, while being served at the restaurant, Dick asks the waitress if she is expecting a tip from him before being served by her (Pourbakhtiar 2014). Dick then pulls out a pile of one dollar bills that represent the waitress’ potential tip. Dick, however, makes it clear that he will deduct a few bills from the pile if he feels unsatisfied with her services. Dick points out to specific issues such as being slow, mouthy, or sneezy.

The comments made by Dick act as an instrumentality factor. Instrumentality is a crucial component of the Expectancy theory of motivation and is evident where there is a clear understanding of the positive correlation between the performance of an employee and his or her expected outcomes. The relationship between the potential results and employee performance is represented by Dick’s tipping in the restaurant”. Additionally, the waitress understands that if she fails to meet Dick’s criteria, then the tipping benefits will be withdrawn. The situation indicates that there exists a certain level of trust between Dick and the waitress about the decisions that will be made on the performance outcomes.

Another essential aspect demonstrated by the waitress that relates to Vroom’s Expectancy theory is the expectancy component. The waitress believes that she will get an additional reward above the usual payment for the services rendered as a result of increased effort. Consequently, the increased effort on the job will result in improved performance that is evident in the quality of services rendered (Your Coach 2014). The harder the waitress works, the higher the possible benefits she will receive in terms of tipping from the clients. Dick’s attempts to tip the waitress create expectancy on the part of the worker. Additionally, given the fact that the worker has enough knowledge and information about her job, she has high expectations regarding the gratuity.

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The waitress attributes much importance to the potential benefits that she would receive from the client. However, she seems frustrated by Dick’s actions and attitude, which makes her nervous. When asked about the dressing that comes with the meals ordered by Mary and Dick, the waitress states that she has to check. It makes her lose a few one-dollar bills from the tip. Also, the Expectancy theory of motivation is based on the perception of a person giving out the rewards (Your Coach 2014). The employees are not entitled to all the positive outcomes even if they put in much effort on the job. Due to Dick’s opinion of the services rendered by the waitress, he withdraws the tipping. The Expectancy theory explains the ineffectiveness of Dick’s tipping motivational technique since the decision maker’s judgment influences the outcomes of the performance of the employee.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation and Its Application in the “Dick Learns about Tipping” video

The theory was proposed by Frederick Herzberg. He explains that motivation is influenced by two factors – motivators and hygiene factors (NetMBA 2010). The absence of hygiene factors and motivator factors leads to dissatisfaction (NetMBA 2010). The motivator factors proposed by Herzberg include growth, advancement, challenging job design, responsibility, recognition, and personal achievement (NetMBA 210). Additionally, the hygiene factors relate to salary, company policy, supervisor-subordinate relationship, work conditions, and group factors (NetMBA 2010). Herzberg also points out that the factors that lead to employee satisfaction differ from those that lead to dissatisfaction with the job.

The most important aspect of the video regarding Herzberg’s Two-factor theory is the role of motivator factors in realizing employee motivation. In the restaurant scenario, the waitress admits that tipping would improve her satisfaction with the job. Tipping would also improve her performance in terms of the quality of the services being rendered to the potential clients. Herzberg’s Two-factor theory is best demonstrated in the actions of Dick Solomon in his tipping expedition. Dick notes that there exist physiological wants that need to be fulfilled. He thinks that physiological needs would only be satisfied by money and no other work-related benefits. However, there also exists the necessity for achievement and growth that would not be met by money (NetMBA 2010). The waitress’ job is challenging since it utilizes the employee’s full ability. Also, as the levels of employee knowledge increase, the level of responsibility must also increase (NetMBA 2010).

In addition to the above, Herzberg’s Two-factor theory points out that the inability of a job to fully utilize the individuals’ level of skills will result to dissatisfaction and motivational problems. These issues are depicted by the actions of the waitress that demonstrate her motivational problems. The tasks that she performs do not seem to utilize her capabilities fully. The role of hygiene factors in enhancing the motivation of the employees is also highlighted in the video given the actions of Dick and Mary. Dick provides a set of incentives in order to influence the worker into performing the task adequately. In addition, Dick also makes threats that are in the form of punishment if the waitress fails to meet his expectations. Dick’s punishment includes the withdrawal of tipping in case the waitress makes continuous mistakes.

Herzberg’s Two-factor theory of motivators and hygiene factors explains the successful application of Dick’s tipping strategy. The provision of extra incentives in terms of tipping is very instrumental in increasing the employee effort and performance outcomes. Tipping is applied in the situation as a motivator factor that encourages the employee to put in more effort and desire to satisfy the restaurant’s clients. At the same time, it is possible to consider that Dick Solomon and Mary Albright do not receive the expected services at the restaurant because of the failure of Dick’s tipping strategy (Pourbakhtiar 2014). The failure of the strategy is evident in the “funny taste” of Mary’s and Dick’s drinks. In addition, Herzberg’s Two-factor theory explains the role of hygiene factors in reducing the motivation of employees. Dick has been receiving poor services at the bars he had visited because he did not tip the waiters. As a result, the individuals were less motivated to serve thus resulting in reduced productivity and motivational problems.

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The Theory that Best Explains Why Dick and Mary’s Drinks “Taste Funny” at the end of the Video

The Reinforcement theory of motivation best explains the reason for Mary’s and Dick’s drinks having a funny taste at the end of the video. It can be used to explain the issue because it reveals the impact of an individual’s decision-making. The reinforcement theory stresses the importance of the external environment in motivating an employee. The theory focuses on what happens to the worker as a result of taking a particular action. In the video, the waitress’ actions lead to the withdrawal of tip. Here, Dick’s actions may be regarded as a form of punishment, a crucial reinforcement factor in which undesirable behaviors result in adverse consequences.

The reinforcement strategy involves rewarding positive behavior and punishing the negative one. Rewarding positive behavior within an organization, such as exemplary performance, will result in the reoccurrence of the positive conduct. In addition to this, punishing negative behavior will result in the decline of the negative conduct. In the case of Dick’s tipping technique, the method failed since Dick did not recognize good performance of the waitress. The reinforcement theory states that undesirable behavior can only be extinguished by withdrawing positive reinforcement rather than through punishment, which Dick uses. Dick should have offered incentives to the waitress in the form of tipping to motivate positive behavior. The failure to offer positive reinforcement by Dick results in the funny taste of the drinks.


In the “Dick Learns about Tipping” comedy video, various aspects of Vroom’s Expectancy theory, Herzberg’s Two-factor theory, and the Reinforcement theory are expressed. By using tipping as a means of motivating the workers to offer high-quality services, Dick uses a positive reinforcement principle to encourage positive performance. In addition, the tipping represents an overpayment in recognition of the services provided beyond the expectations. It hence acts as a factor that encourages good performance. Also, tipping reward mechanism used by Dick failed since he focused on punishment in case of negative behavior rather than rewarding positive behavior. Recognizing good performance of employees is a crucial aspect in ensuring that there exists motivation amongst the company’s staff.

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