Organizational Behavior

Self-Efficacy Theory

Albert Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy has important implications with regard to motivation. Bandura’s basic principle is that ‘people are likely to engage in activities to the extent that they perceive themselves to be competent at those activities’. Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s effectiveness in performing specific tasks.

“People who regard themselves as the highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those what perceive themselves as inefficacious. They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it.” –Albert Bandura

According to Staples et al. (1998), self-efficacy theory suggests that there are four major sources of information used by individuals when forming self-efficacy judgments. In order of strength:

  • Performance accomplishments:

personal assessment information that is based on an individual’s personal accomplishments. Previous successes raise mastery expectations, while repeated failures lower them.

  • Vicarious experience:

Gained by observing others perform activities successfully. This is often referred to as modeling, and it can generate expectations in observers that they can improve their own performance by learning from what they have

  • Social persuasion:

Activities where people are led, through suggestion into to believing that they can cope successfully with specific tasks. Coaching and giving evaluative feedback on performance are common types of social persuasion

  • Physiological and emotional states:

The individual’s physiological or emotional states influence self-efficacy judgments with respect to specific tasks. Emotional reactions to such tasks (e.g., anxiety) can lead to negative judgments of one’s ability to complete the tasks.