BACKGROUND: Motivation is a central factor in supported employment. OBJECTIVE: This paper introduces two types of expectancy postulated by the extended cognitive model of motivation into the field of supported employment. We focus on the action-outcome-expectancy, which implies an active and action orientated attitude, and the situation-outcome-expectancy, which is associated with a passive attitude. We analysed which of the two expectancies is related to a better vocational outcome in a supported employment study. METHODS: 116 participants with mental illness were enrolled. A series of logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore associations between the type of expectancy and variables of interest. RESULTS: The action-outcome-expectancy was predicted by a higher self-motivation (importance of working), being female, higher income, and a higher score in the global quality of life scale. Having a partner, lower income and a lower score in the global quality of life scale were predictors of the situation-outcome-expectancy. Notably, study participants with the action-outcome-expectancy had a threefold higher probability of obtaining competitive employment. CONCLUSION: Therefore, job coaches should consider taking a stronger lead in the application process for participants with situation-outcome-expectancy.