Gollwitzer, P. M., & Oettingen, G. (2015). Motivation and action, Psychology of. In James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 15. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 887–893.
Traditionally, research on motivation and action has focused on the role of motives and needs, but also on expectations, attributions, and control beliefs. Nowadays, when it comes to answering the question of how motivation relates to action, research includes the concept of goals. But pursuing goals with the right content and structure in the proper situational context does not yet guarantee effective goal attainment. People often have to engage in self-regulatory thought to further their goal pursuits. In this article, we review the history and current research associated with these three broad perspectives on motivation and action.