Mars Model of Individual Behavior

MARS model of individual behavior is a model that seeks to elaborate individual behavior as a result of internal and external factors or influences combined together. The name itself is an acronym for individual Motivation, Abilities, Role Perception and Situational Factors.

These are marked as the four major factors in determining individual behavior and results. The model can be implemented to a variety of situations, but is usually applied in Management, Industrial Psychology or Organizational Behavior studies. This model represents that these four factors have a mixed effect on individual performance. If any factor weakens, performance will decrease.

Say for example, passionate salespeople who understand their duties and have enough resources will not perform their jobs well if they lack sufficient knowledge and sales skill. Therefore, the Container Store and other enterprises that excel in customer service pay attention to all four factors in the MARS model.


Motivation can be described as internal forces that impact the direction, intensity, and endurance of a person’s voluntary choice of behavior. It consists of −

  • Direction − focused by goals.

  • Intensity − bulk of effort allocated.

  • Persistence − amount of time taken for the effort to be exerted.

For example − A team leader encourages team members to work efficiently.


Ability is the natural tendency and learned capabilities needed to complete a task successfully. It has four different parts namely −

  • Aptitudes − natural talent that helps people learn more efficiently and perform effectively.

  • Learned capabilities − accomplished skills and knowledge.

  • Competencies − abilities, individual values, personality traits and other features of people that result in superior performance.

  • Person-job fit − there are three ways to match people with jobs

    • selecting qualified people
    • developing employee abilities through training
    • redesigning job to fit person's existing abilities

For example − Rohan completes a task in 4 days while the time allotted was 6 days. He has the ability to complete it before the required time frame.

Role Perceptions

They are the beliefs about what behavior is necessary to achieve the desired results, and have a check that everyone is clear regarding their part. It is of four types −

  • Understanding the tasks to be performed.
  • Understanding associated importance of tasks allotted.
  • Understanding preferred behaviors to complete respective tasks.
  • Clarifying role perceptions

For example − Every member in a group is clear regarding the part allotted to them. For instance, the programmer writes the code and the tester checks it.

Situational Factors

They are the environmental conditions like given time bound, team members, budget, and work facilities that limits or facilitates behavior. Factors that are beyond the individual’s control in the short run.