Marilyn E. Gist and Angela Gist

in Management

ISBN: 9780199846740
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:


Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s perception of his or her capacity to perform a specific task. Albert Bandura is credited with recognizing the importance of self-efficacy in human agency. He clarified that self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to mobilize personal resources, such as motivation, cognitive, and behavioral skills, in order to orchestrate task-specific performance. Theoretically and empirically, self-efficacy has been shown to have wide-ranging implications for organizational behavior. Much evidence supports its importance in human agency and its interaction with variables involved in cognitive self-regulation (goal setting, feedback, etc.). Self-efficacy also has been validated as making an impact on learning and performance applications, such as training, leadership, decision making, and creativity. In addition, scholars have found that self-efficacy predicts differential behaviors in a number of job situations. To date, the most important of these are work stress and strain, unemployment and job seeking, employee citizenship and extra-role behaviors, employee attitudes, commitment and adaptability to change, newcomer socialization, and entrepreneurial behavior. Importantly, self-efficacy measures must be adapted to the specific task under investigation. Self-report tools are used to address perceptions of capability across a range of performance outcomes. Guided by Bandura’s work, some scholars differentiate self-efficacy “magnitude” from self-efficacy “strength” and self-efficacy “generality.” Magnitude refers to a comparative level of performance (e.g., whether one believes she can produce one, two, or three publications next year), while strength refers to one’s confidence (e.g., probability) in achieving at that level. Less commonly measured, generality refers to the application of efficacy beliefs across situations. Because self-efficacy is task-specific, care must be taken in scholarly research to understand the dynamics of the task involved in the evaluation; for instance, different types of tasks require different skills and motivations. For the same reason, caution is needed when generalizing empirical findings to new tasks. However, this limitation also illustrates how potent the construct of self-efficacy is, given the vast body of evidence showing its predictive validity in organizational behavior. In addition, constructs derivative of self-efficacy have evolved to address group situations. These refer to group efficacy, team efficacy, or collective efficacy, and have been measured using both single ratings of team consensus and averages of individual ratings. The potency of self-efficacy also has relevance to a popular dispositional construct: core self-evaluations. Findings from studies of group efficacy and core self-evaluations generally support the predictive validity of these broader measures, although the predictive path may operate through self-efficacy.

Article.  11955 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management

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