Attribution Theory

In psychology, the word 'attribution' refers to the inference made about the causes behind an event or behavior. If a car drives by you at the same time you hear a loud backfire, you are likely to infer that the sound came from the car; the sound's attribution is the car. Likewise, if a child performs better at a sporting event when his or her parents are in attendance, the improved performance is attributable to the parent's presence.
Success or Failure
Two people are in a race, and one of them wins. Did that individual win because he or she was a faster runner or because the other person was having an off day? The answer depends on which runner you ask. The winner will attribute the victory to his or her ability and feel confident about the next race. The loser will blame the loss on circumstances beyond his or her control (feeling sick, poor night's sleep, painful shoes) and be less likely to race again unless those factors change.
A person's motivation to attempt a task is directly related to his or her confidence in a positive outcome. If people believe they will be unsuccessful, they are less likely to try and if they do, it is doubtful they will give 100% effort. The basic principle of attribution theory states that a person's attributions for success or failure determine the amount of effort the individual will expend on the task.
  • Weiner's Attribution Theory of Motivation

Weiner's attribution theory states that an individual's causal attributions of achievement affect subsequent behaviors and motivation. One of the primary assumptions of attribution theory is that people will interpret their environment in such a way as to maintain a positive self-image.
No one wants to be the bad guy, and assigning attribution is one of the ways that people seek to see themselves in a more positive light. By blaming other people and avoiding personal recrimination, individuals strive to keep a positive self-image. If people believe they are responsible for bad outcomes, they are less motivated to repeat their behavior.
 According to the 'attribution theory' it is normal for people to look for explanations or causes - that can be attributed to their own success or failure.
An assumption of the attribution theory is that people will interpret their environment in such a way as to maintain a positive self-image. 
There are three main categories of attributes for explaining success or failure:

Ø Internal / external
Ø Stable / unstable
Ø  Controllable / uncontrollable

Ø First
            The cause of success or failure may be internal or external . That is , we may succeed or fail because of factors that believe have their origin within us or because of factors that originate in our environment.
©  second
            The cause of the success may be either  stable or unstable if we believe cause is stable and then the outcomes is likely to be the same if we perform the same behavior on another occasion. If  it is unstable , the outcome is likely to be different on another occasion.
© Third
            The cause of the success or failure may be either  controllable or uncontrollable . A controllable factor is one which we believe ourselves can alter if we wish to do so. An uncontrollable factor is one that we do not believe we can easily alter.