Instrumental and Integrative Orientations: Predictors of Willingness to Communicate in the Iranian EFL Context

Document Type: Original Article


University of Tehran, Iran


Given that promoting learners’ communicative competence in a second language (L2) is one of the primary foci of communicative language teaching approaches, the late 1980s saw an expansion in research into willingness to communicate (WTC), which is deemed to affect individuals’ predisposition towards the initiation of L2 communication. The principal aims of this study are(a) to reveal whether instrumental motivation and integrative orientation are correlated with WTC, (b) to delve into the contribution of instrumental and integrative orientations to the explanation of WTC, (c) to examine which of the two motivational propensitiesis a better predictor of WTC, and (d) to find whether 3 groups of learners with low, medium, and high levels of instrumental and integrative orientations differ in terms of their level of reported WTC. To this end, 188 Iranian EFL learners, who were randomly selected, filled out a WTC questionnaire and a language learning motivation questionnaire. Results of path analysis and standard multiple regression revealed that although both motivational orientations significantly contributed to the explanation of WTC, instrumental motivation, which uniquely explained 3.7% of the variance in total WTC, was a better predictor of WTC. Informed by the results of one-way between-groups ANOVA, a significant difference was encountered among the reported L2 WTC levels of the 3 groups of learners with various levels of both instrumental orientation and integrative motivation. The findings could cast light onto the nexus between motivation and WTC in the Iranian EFL context and the intricacies and dynamics of the WTC process.