Is a belief motivating

Can belief in itself move mountains? A critical examination of the concept of self-efficacy in an organizational context

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables

1 Introduction

2. Learning and behavior theory assumptions of the self-efficacy concept
2.1. Social-cognitive theory in contrast to other theories
2.2. Basic human skills in reciprocal determinism
2.3. Concept of self-efficacy
2.3.1. Disambiguation
2.3.2. Dimensions of self-efficacy
2.3.3. Determinants of Self-Efficacy

3. Investigation of the self-efficacy in the organization
3.1. Effects of Self-Efficacy
3.1.1. Self-efficacy and thought leadership
3.1.2. Self-efficacy and motivation
3.1.3. Self-efficacy and well-being
3.1.4. Self-efficacy and voting behavior
3.1.5. Moderating influencing variables on the effect relationships
3.2. Training measures to influence self-efficacy in the organization
3.2.1. Behavior modeling
3.2.2. Guided success modeling
3.2.3. Cognitive modeling
3.2.4. Self-management and goal setting
3.2.5. Evaluative feedback
3.2.6. Assessment of the measures
3.3. Critical assessment of the concept of self-efficacy in the organization

4. Critical comparison of self-efficacy with potential alternative concepts
4.1. General level of self-efficacy as a basis for comparison
4.2. Self-efficacy vs. self-esteem
4.3. Self-efficacy vs. control belief
4.4. Discussion of the comparison

5. Conclusion


List of figures and tables

Fig. 1: Reciprocal determinism

Fig. 2: Expectation of effectiveness and expectation of results

Tab. 1: Comparison of self-efficacy with self-esteem and the conviction of control

Can belief in itself move mountains? - A critical examination of the concept of self-efficacy in an organizational context

1 Introduction

Today's economy is facing an ever faster pace and constant technological change (cf. e.g. Strauser et al. 2002). In order to cope with the increasing competitive pressure that comes with it, organizations have to adapt and find new ways to increase their efficiency. As a result, employees are confronted with new situations and changes at the same time and are required to make more decisions themselves, to work more in teams and to cope with more complex task requirements. This organizational change requires employees to be better able to adapt and learn, as well as the ability to motivate themselves and withstand increased pressure. It is also important that he can use his cognitive and interpersonal skills effectively.

Since the employee plays an increasingly important role in the provision of services by companies, it is therefore of interest to the organization to understand the behavior of the employee and, if possible, to change it in the interests of the organization.

For this purpose, within the framework of organizational behavior, findings from psychology are used to explain and predict the behavior of employees in the organization. In this context, in addition to various other concepts, the concept of self-efficacy based on social-cognitive theory has received increasing attention in recent years (cf. Stajkovic / Luthans 1998a).

The question arises as to whether and how the self-efficacy concept can contribute to the explanation of behavior, behavior prediction and behavior change [C1] and whether other concepts are possibly better suited to this.

The aim of this work is therefore to present the concept of self-efficacy, to show its usefulness as well as its benefits for the organization and to subject it to a critical examination.

For this purpose, the basic assumptions of the self-efficacy concept and the social-cognitive theory on which this concept is based are presented in Chapter 2. Subsequently, in Chapter 3, some empirical findings regarding the effects of self-efficacy in the organizational context are examined. Possible measures to influence this are discussed and the importance of self-efficacy in the organization is critically assessed. In Chapter 4, a comparison is made between the concept of self-efficacy and alternative concepts that have received similar attention in the organizational context. Finally, in Chapter 5, the most important findings of this study are briefly summarized and finally critically assessed.

2. Learning and behavior theory assumptions of the self-efficacy concept

This chapter first presents the basic assumptions of Albert Bandura's social-cognitive theory that are implied in the concept of self-efficacy. Then the concept of self-efficacy is presented as it was formulated based on theoretical and empirical knowledge.

2.1. Social-cognitive theory in contrast to other theories

Albert Bandura's social-cognitive theory developed slowly from the then prevailing traditional learning and behavior theories from the middle of the last century and has continued to develop since then (cf. Pervin et al. 2005). However, it differs to a large extent from these in its basic assumptions. Initially named as “social-cognitive learning theory [C2]”, it distinguishes itself from behaviorism primarily in aspects of learning theory. With its theory of operant conditioning, behaviorism states that humans learn new behavioral patterns solely through reward and punishment. It is assumed that behavior will occur more frequently in the future if it has previously been strengthened positively[1] has been. If, on the other hand, it is not rewarded or even punished, it is less likely to occur. In contrast, social-cognitive theory emphasizes the human ability to learn from the behavior of others through observation alone, even when no direct reward is to be expected. Reinforcement is seen as a conducive factor for the occurrence of behavior, but not as a condition (cf. Bandura 1977b). In the following years, Bandura increasingly integrated motivation-related and action-regulating principles into his theory, which also relate to behavior. In [C3] in contrast to behaviorism, which asserts that human behavior is determined solely by the environment and does not attach any importance to cognitive processes, the social-cognitive theory assumes that human beings themselves, through their ability to think can exercise some control over his or her life. These human abilities of self-determination and willpower, i.e. the ability to make choices, to impose them on one's environment and thus to contribute causally to the course of events,[2] do the Core ideas of the social-cognitive theory from (cf. Bandura 1986, 2006). While behaviorism has a more mechanistic view of people, social-cognitive theory sees people connected to their social environment in a dynamic process. The learning and behavior of people are controlled by cognitive processes.

With this view, the social-cognitive theory also differs from the psychodynamic approaches, which attribute human behavior to the effect of inner drives.

Finally, the social-cognitive theory distinguishes itself from the property-theoretical approach. This is rather static and tries to describe the behavior of people with their fixed properties. Accordingly, the behavior is seen as relatively consistent over time and across situations. In contrast, the social-cognitive theory with its dynamic perspective tries not only to describe human behavior, but also to explain it by showing how new things can get into the behavioral repertoire of a person (cf. Pervin et al. 2005).

2.2. Basic human skills in reciprocal determinism

The theories that preceded the social-cognitive theory have in common that they regard human behavior as only one-sidedly determined, either by external influences or by internal values. In contrast, the social-cognitive theory postulates one to explain behavior reciprocal determinismthat reflects the dynamic relationships in which humans act. This is a three-way causal relationship between behavior, cognitive and other personal factors and environmental conditions (see Fig. 1). All three variables influence each other. However, this does not mean that the strength of the influence between two factors has to be the same or that this mutual influence takes place at the same time. Rather, the strength and occurrence of these influences vary depending on the person, action and the given circumstances. Because of this mutual influence, people can therefore be viewed both as creators of their environment and as their creatures (cf. Bandura 1986, p. 23ff.).

Figure not included in this excerpt

The social-cognitive theory explains the character of these mutual influences, which assigns to humans an active role in the design of their environment and not only allows them to react passively to it, with the following basic human abilities.

According to Bandura (1986), the person with the Ability to symbolize an extraordinary means that allows him to change his environment and to adapt to it. By using symbols it is possible for him to process direct experiences and to transform them into inner cognitive models, which then serve as a guide for future actions. Similarly, symbolization is used to assign meaning, form, and duration to past experiences. By combining their knowledge with the power of symbolization, people can generate new courses of action and ideas. By symbolically trying out different options for action and weighing them against each other before acting, costly or painful missteps can sometimes be avoided.

But humans do not only act in response to their immediate environment or based on past experience. Rather, a large part of human behavior lies in the Intentionality of action and his Ability to foresight justified. He makes plans for the near future, anticipates the consequences of his actions and sets goals for himself. By foresight, a person can motivate himself and direct his action in anticipation of future events. In principle, future events cannot be viewed as the cause of current actions, since they do not exist. But through symbolic representation, these future events become an incentive for behavior in the present. The ability to act deliberately and purposefully is thus achieved through symbolization. Intentionality and foresight is converted into action through self-regulating mechanisms (cf. Bandura 1986; 2001).

As another significant human ability will the of observation learning viewed. Almost all forms of learning that can be performed directly can be replaced by observing the behavior of other people and the resulting consequences. The ability to learn from observing others allows people to acquire rules for generating and regulating behavior without risking the potentially costly consequences of trial and error. The more complex the action and the more costly and risky possible mistakes, the more one relies on learning by observing a suitable role model. Even if new behaviors could be conveyed differently, the process of acquisition can be shortened considerably through observational learning (cf. Bandura 1977b; 1986).

The will also play a central role Self-regulation attached. Since humans do not just react to external influences, a large part of their behavior is driven and directed by self-regulation, internal standards and by self-assessment of their own actions. In such a way that self-regulating reactions are activated when deviations occur between the established standards and a behavior measured against these standards. These in turn influence subsequent behavior. Although external factors still have a say in behavior, people can exercise direct control over their actions by self-regulating their behavior or by influencing external factors (cf. Bandura 1986; 1991).

The ability to self reflection or self-reflective awareness enables people to reflect on their experiences and thought processes and to analyze them. By reflecting on his various experiences, he can experience a certain insight about himself and his environment. He can also assess the correctness of his previous forward-looking and operational way of thinking with regard to the consequences of his trading and draw conclusions from it. Thus, people not only gain new knowledge through self-reflection, but also influence their thinking and actions (cf. Bandura 1986, 2001).

Of all kinds of thoughts that influence behavior, however, none are as crucial as people's belief in their ability to control their own functioning and to cope effectively with various environmental events. This type of self-perception is called self-efficacy and forms the core of social-cognitive theory (cf. Bandura 1986; 2001). It is therefore presented separately in the next section.

2.3. Concept of self-efficacy

The concept of self-efficacy was theoretically introduced by Albert Bandura in 1977 and, over the years, incorporated into the framework of his social-cognitive theory. Since then, the concept of self-efficacy has gained great importance in various psychological fields, such as clinical, academic or organizational areas (cf. Bandura 1997).

In this section, the concept of self-efficacy is explained in more detail and the structure, dimensions and determinants of self-efficacy are presented.

2.3.1. Disambiguation

By definition, the refers to Self-efficacy on the Belief of a person in their ability to perform certain behavior that is necessary to achieve a certain result (See Bandura 1997, p. 3). Therefore, the terms belief in self-efficacy or expectation of self-efficacy are also used in this context.[3]

However, self-efficacy is not a measure of the abilities that one has, but rather the conviction of what one can achieve with these abilities under different conditions (cf. Bandura 1997, p. 37). It is not enough to have skills and knowledge, one also has to have a belief in effectiveness in order to use these skills correctly. It makes a difference, for example, whether a salesperson “only” has mastered the basic ability to speak, he knows the methods of rhetoric, he has good technical knowledge, or he believes that he will use these skills in different sales discussions with strenuous, angry or stressful conversations difficult to understand customers can use successfully. Self-efficacy is thus seen as a generative ability in which cognitive, social, emotional and behavioral subordinate skills are integrated. These must be organized and effectively instrumented in order to produce an appropriate course of action in a given situation and to be able to carry it out even under difficult conditions. (See Bandura 1997, p. 37). Before someone makes a decision for a behavior and directs his efforts towards it, he processes, evaluates and integrates various information about his abilities (cf. Bandura 1977a, p. 212). He obtains this information from various sources in his environment (see section 2.3.3.). The resulting expectation of self-efficacy can contribute to whether someone takes on an activity and how much effort they make to achieve a desired result (see Chapter 3). People with the same skills can therefore perform differently, depending on whether their expectations of self-efficacy stimulate or hinder their motivation and problem-solving efforts (cf. Bandura 1988, p. 279).

However, according to Bandura, perceived self-efficacy says nothing about the likelihood of an outcome occurring. Bandura (1977a) differentiates the expectation of self-efficacy from the expectation of results (cf. Fig. 2).[4]Expected result is a person's assessment that a certain behavior leads to a certain result as a result of that behavior.

A person may believe that a certain action will lead to a certain result, but if the person doubts his or her ability to perform the action at all, the expectation of the result is of no importance to him or the expectation of the result will be low. Under this assumption, the belief in one's own effectiveness has an influence on whether someone initiates an action at all.Bandura therefore attaches greater importance to the expectation of self-efficacy for explaining behavior than to the expectation of results. However, expected results also have a certain influence on human behavior and thus play a not insignificant role in the predictive power of self-efficacy (cf. Stajkovic / Luthans 1998b, p. 66). Because if someone believes, despite high expectations of self-efficacy, that their behavior has no effect on the result, because they have no influence on the behavior-result relationship (e.g. a higher level of work does not lead to more salary in every occupation) , he will have no incentive to perform this behavior. So as long as a result is influenced by the extent of the behavioral effort, expectations of self-efficacy are co-determining for result expectations and make up the majority of the explanation of behavior. However, if the result cannot be achieved through one's own behavior due to external restrictions, result expectations are independent determinants of behavior independent of the expectations of self-efficacy (cf. Bandura 1997, p. 19ff.).

A distinction between the expectation of self-efficacy and the expectation of results is important for a precise definition of self-efficacy and its correct empirical application. However, Banduras give rise to criticism and misunderstandings, some of which are unclear definitional distinctions. Because it cannot always be clearly delineated which facts a behavior and which reflects the consequences of this behavior (cf. e.g. Eastman / Marzillier 1984).

Collective effectiveness

Since the human being does not determine the circumstances of his life alone, but is integrated into social groups in many ways, Bandura (1997) also mentions the need to consider one collective effectiveness. This means the shared belief of the individuals in a group in the common ability to provide their resources, to coordinate them and to allow them to flow into a common behavior that is necessary to cope with a given situation (cf. Bandura 1997, p. 477ff .; Zaccaro et al. 1995, p. 309).

Since research has only started in recent years to deal more intensively with collective effectiveness and on some points such as measurability, the possibilities of influencing (cf. Bandura, 2000b) or even the exact understanding of collective effectiveness (cf. Gibson & Earley 2007 ) there are not yet any uniform ideas, the specifics of collective effectiveness will not be discussed in more detail in this work. However, it can be said that collective expectations of effectiveness have a similar function and operate through similar processes as individual expectations of effectiveness (cf. Bandura 2000b).

2.3.2. Dimensions of self-efficacy

According to Bandura (1997, p. 42ff.), Expectations of self-efficacy vary three dimensionsthat have important performance implications. These three dimensions are the height, the Strength and the Generality.

The height The expectation of self-efficacy relates to the degree of difficulty in a task that a person thinks they can perform. The self-efficacy expectations of different people can be limited to simple tasks or also include the most difficult ones. The greater the difficulty of the task or the expected hindrances in fulfilling it, the more pronounced the interpersonal differences become when assessing the level of self-efficacy.

The Strength The expectation of self-efficacy says something about the certainty of the conviction that one can carry out a task at a certain level. People with a strong expectation of self-efficacy remain persistent despite difficulties and exertions, while people with a weak expectation of self-efficacy doubt their actions and give up early when they resist. Thus, the greater the expectation of self-efficacy, the greater the likelihood of successful execution.

Finally there Generality the expectation of self-efficacy to the extent of the area that they include. According to this, people can only perceive themselves to be self-effective in relation to specific tasks in a certain area of ​​responsibility, to various tasks within a certain area of ​​responsibility or also generally in relation to a whole series of cross-task and cross-situation actions. The general public can move on various dimensions, such as the similarity of the action, the type of skills shown (cognitive, affective or through behavior), the qualitative properties of the situation and the properties of the person against whom the behavior is directed.

Expectations of self-efficacy can thus differ from task to task, from one person to another and depending on situational circumstances. A high level of self-efficacy in one area therefore does not necessarily include a high level of self-efficacy in other areas. There can also be differences in the assessment of one's own abilities within the same area. Bandura therefore emphasizes that the recording of self-efficacy must always be context-related and geared towards the degree of generality of the task area in question in order to obtain a high predictive power. The highest predictive power therefore has specific expectations of effectiveness, since it is precisely these expectations that guide actions and their degree of success.

In the standard method for measuring self-efficacy mentioned by Bandura, items are presented to the person that represent different levels of the task requirement and with which the strength of their belief in their own ability to cope with these tasks can be assessed. Bandura (1997, p. 47ff.) Points out that it is entirely possible and sensible that specific expectations of self-efficacy can be transferred or generalized to entire areas or circumstances, but rejects a context-free general measurement of self-efficacy, as he believes is that general measurements are not suitable for predicting a particular behavior.

Regardless of Bandura's idea of ​​the conceptualization of self-efficacy, researchers have developed scales for recording general self-efficacy expectations that relate to all or certain areas of life (cf. e.g. Sherer et al. 1982; Jerusalem / Schwarzer 1999). However, the majority of studies that have looked at self-efficacy have used the specific scales to measure it. This may sometimes be related to the issues at stake related to the validity of the general self-efficacy scales. This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 4.

2.3.3. Determinants of Self-Efficacy

According to Bandura (1997, pp. 79ff.), Humans obtain the information they need to form their expectations of self-efficacy four basic types of Sources of information: the own experience of action, the vicarious experiences, the verbal influence as well as the physiological and affective arousal.

Own experience of action represent the strongest factor influencing expectations of self-efficacy because they are the only source of direct and authentic performance information that is necessary for a consistent and accurate assessment of self-efficacy. Successful execution of actions increases the expectation of self-efficacy, while failures weaken it. And this especially when failures occur without the perceived self-efficacy having already been developed through previous experiences of success. If the self-efficacy is strengthened through repeated experiences of success, a weakening through occasional failures becomes less likely. However, it should not be concluded from this that the services provided have a direct effect on self-efficacy. Rather, a change in self-efficacy depends on how someone processes the information they receive through their behavior. Because more factors go into the cognitive processes for assessing one's own effectiveness than just the performance achieved. These factors can be both inside and outside the person. The external situational factors include, for example, the availability of the resources required to carry out the task (e.g. time, employees), help received from others, the clarity of the task or the circumstances under which the activity was carried out. Factors inherent in the person would be, for example, the effort expended or the perceived difficulty of the task. The same level of performance can thus, depending on personal and situational factors, increase the perceived self-efficacy, leave it unmoved or even reduce it (cf. Bandura 1982). Thus, according to Bandura (1997, p. 81), self-efficacy is better suited for predicting behavior under various conditions than past performance, since more information goes into the assessment of one's own effectiveness than just the action carried out.

The second strongest influence on the expectation of self-efficacy is exercised by them vicarious experiences from (cf. Bandura 1997, p. 86ff.). Ultimately, this is the one already mentioned in Section 2.2. The mentioned human ability means to learn indirectly from the experiences of others through observation (model learning). Observing a person (model) who is successfully performing an action can already lead to an increase in the expectation of self-efficacy. Because observing a person who successfully masters a situation increases the belief in one's own abilities to be able to achieve the same performance (cf. Gist et al 1987, p. 125). In addition, through observation, important information on action strategies can be obtained that is neither available through personal experience nor in any other way (cf. Gist / Mitchell 1992, p.194). As with the direct experience of action, it depends on the cognitive processing of the observed information how strong its influence on the assessment of self-efficacy will be. The strength of the influence depends, among other things, on the similarity to the model, the number and diversity of the models or the competence of the model (cf. Bandura 1997, p. 98ff.).

These factors are important because observation does not automatically trigger appropriate behavior. Rather, model learning is controlled by four sub-processes that relate to attention, retention, motor execution and motivation. Attention processes are about what is selectively observed from the abundance of modeling influences acting on the observer and which of this information is taken into account. The retention processes are responsible for storing this information. The more important the model is and the more clearly its behavior is perceived, the more likely it will be retained. The modeled information is stored in the memory through symbolic coding and other cognitive processes. These symbolic representations are translated into appropriate actions in the third step of model learning. To do this, however, there must be the motivation to learn and carry out the behavior. This is caused by external, representative and self-related reinforcements. For example, stored behavioral patterns are more likely to be executed if positive consequences are expected based on personal experience or the experience of the model (cf. Bandura 1986, p. 47ff.). Perceived self-efficacy is more likely to react to information obtained through observation if it has not yet been particularly pronounced from previous experience. But even an already high level of self-efficacy can be increased by observed behavior (cf. Bandura 1977b).

The third factor influencing self-efficacy expectation, the verbal (or also: social) Influencing, it is about the development of self-efficacy belief through positive reinforcements and encouragement related to the behavior shown or to be shown. In order for verbal influence to have any effect at all, the influenced person should already believe to a certain extent that he or she has the ability to perform a task (cf. Bandura 1997, p. 101). However, if unrealistic expectations are aroused, this can increasingly lead to failures and thus to decreasing expectations of self-efficacy. In addition, the influencing person will no longer be believed in the future. Here, too, it depends on certain factors what effect the verbal influence will have on self-efficacy. These include the characteristics of the influencer, such as specialist knowledge, trustworthiness or reputation.

Bandura sees this as the last source of information for assessing the expectation of self-efficacy physiological and affective arousal (See Bandura 1997, pp. 106ff.). Even if it is the weakest of the four determinants, it is still important because it says something about how someone copes with physiologically and emotionally stressful situations or conditions, such as stress or fear. It is crucial how someone interprets this excitement. How the physiological states actually affect the perceived self-efficacy also depends on the cognitive processing. Since physiological excitation is usually unspecific, it often only emerges from the situational circumstances how it is interpreted. A high level of excitement can be interpreted, for example, as a fear of an impending task, possibly with other causes. The intensity of arousal also plays a role. Usually, moderate arousal is good for alertness and high arousal is a hindrance. However, this can differ from person to person. For example, while the same level of stress can be distressing and cumbersome for one person, it can be energizing for another. Thus it depends on how someone perceives the arousal, whether it has a positive or negative effect on the formation of the expectation of self-efficacy. But the emotional state can also have an influence on self-efficacy. A positive mood, for example, causes selective memory of past successes and has a positive effect on the assessment of one's own abilities.

All four determinants that have an influence on self-efficacy are not independent of one another, but can complement one another and also relativize the strength and direction of the individual effects. For example, the positive influence of modeling on self-efficacy can mitigate the effects of previous direct experiences of failure and thus help to maintain efforts even in the event of failure (cf. Bandura 1997, p.88). Ultimately, the assessment of self-efficacy depends on how the information of the determinants is weighted, interpreted and integrated by the individual.

3. Investigation of the self-efficacy in the organization

Over the past three decades, the concept of self-efficacy has led to a considerable number of research results that have examined self-efficacy in an organizational context. These suggest that the employee's self-efficacy can have some significant effects on their work-related behavior. Therefore, in the following, the most important findings regarding these effects will first be presented. Then possible training measures are considered and discussed, with which the self-efficacy in the organization can be influenced. Finally, the concept of self-efficacy in the organization is viewed critically.

3.1. Effects of Self-Efficacy

A large number of studies have examined the relationships between self-efficacy and job performance as well as other work-related behaviors in various areas. Accordingly, self-efficacy is related, for example, to the problem-solving or leadership qualities of managers (cf. Robertson / Sadri 1993), the sales performance of insurance sellers (cf. Barling / Beattie 1983) or the adaptation of young professionals (cf. Saks 1995). In a recent meta-analysis of 114 studies, Stajkovic and Luthans (1998a) confirmed these positive connections between self-efficacy and work-related performance and found a weighted average correlation of r = .38.

According to the theoretical assumptions, many studies also interpret the correlations found as causal relationships. In doing so, they show that a person's self-efficacy exerts its influence on behavior and performance not only directly, but also through various processes that work together to control human activity. These relate to human thought leadership, motivation, emotions and voting behavior (cf. Bandura 1997, p.116ff.)

3.1.1. Self-efficacy and thought leadership

The belief in one's own effectiveness has an influence on the self-regulating thought structures, which serve for the forward-looking construction of future action scenarios. However, it also depends, among other things, on such thought structures as to whether the expectations of self-efficacy have a performance-promoting or performance-hindering effect.

People with a high level of self-efficacy, for example, imagine success scenarios that then serve as positive guidance for future behavior.This cognitive simulation and self-efficacy influence each other and ultimately have an effect on behavior (cf. Bandura 1992, p. 10). For example, Krueger and Dickson (1994) examined the relationship between a person's self-efficacy in making decisions and their risk behavior. They found that increased self-efficacy promotes awareness of rewarding opportunities and thereby increases risk-taking. People with a low expectation of self-efficacy, on the other hand, shy away from the risk and are more concerned with the dangers that should be avoided. These relationships were even independent of the belief that one could have control over the results.

In a series of studies on complex decision-making in the context of a company simulation, Bandura and colleagues have shown that a high level of self-efficacy results in a higher concentration in performing tasks and a more efficient application of analytical strategies, and that this in turn has a positive effect on performance. On the other hand, people who show self-doubt dwell on their weaknesses and think about possible negative consequences of their actions. These negative thoughts distract from the task and cause inconsistent analytical thinking, which also undermines their efforts and makes them give up prematurely (cf. e.g. Wood / Bandura 1989). The correlations found between self-efficacy and performance in these studies were between r = .67 (cf. Wood / Bandura 1989) and r = .71 (cf. Bandura / Wood 1989).

In these studies, Bandura and colleagues also showed that certain belief structures can have an influence on the strength of self-efficacy. Wood and Bandura (1989) induced different perceptions of their own abilities in the test subjects. These can either be viewed as obtainable or changeable or given and thus unchangeable. Someone who sees their skills as obtainable sets themselves learning goals and looks for challenging tasks in which they have the opportunity to further develop their knowledge and skills. If, on the other hand, someone is of the opinion that their abilities are given, the performance provided is a measure of their abilities for them. Difficult situations are perceived as a threat and possible mistakes as a sign of incompetence. High exertion is interpreted as a sign of poor ability (cf. Pervin et al. 2005). With the same high initial self-efficacy, the perception of one's own abilities as changeable ensured a resilient self-efficacy through which efforts were maintained despite difficulties, while people with the other perception increasingly exhibited self-doubt. Similar results were also achieved by a different induction of the ideas about the controllability of the occupational environment (cf. Bandura / Wood 1989). The subjects showed a resilient self-efficacy, who believed they had an influence on the organizational process.

3.1.2. Self-efficacy and motivation

Self-efficacy also plays a central role in the cognitive control of motivation. The motivational effect of self-efficacy is reflected above all in perseverance and effort. While people with a high and resilient self-efficacy persist in their endeavors and intensify them even more intensely in the event of resistance and setbacks, self-doubts in a person cause them to give in to their endeavors when difficulties arise, to be satisfied with mediocre solutions or even to give up completely ( See Bandura / Cervone 1983). Strong self-efficacy does not prevent self-doubts from arising in the event of failure, but it does ensure that one quickly recovers from them and continues one's efforts (cf. Bandura 1997). Although exertion and perseverance as effects of self-efficacy are themselves the subject of studies, in an organizational context they are often also mentioned in connection with other cognitive structures through which self-efficacy has an influence on motivation.


[1] An event that follows a behavioral reaction and increases the probability of this behavior occurring is referred to as an amplifier (cf. Pervin et al. 2005, p. 356). An example is a reward such as money.

[2] Free translation of the term "human agency" used by Bandura. For a discussion of this “vague” term see Hitlin / Elder 2007.

[3] Jerusalem and Schwarzer (1999) also use the term “competence expectation”.

[4] For a demarcation of self-efficacy from other constructs see Chapter 4 or Schyns (2001).

[C1] I have to talk about this in comparison

[C2] Link to his book?

[C3] The naming of his theory in social-cognitive. (from social learning theory) shows that the theory is more comprehensive in terms of learning and conditioning ...

While Bandura's theory was initially called "social learning theory" and, ... "learning theory" ... was differentiated from it, over the years motivational, action-regulating laws were integrated ... here the behavior !!! So switch the demarcation parts!

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