Three cheers for self efficacy..

I have become very interested in the all too often ignored concept of self efficacy and it’s impact on work performance.

Self efficacy refers to an individual’s conviction (or confidence) about his or her ability to execute a specific task within a given context. It is often confused with self esteem and self confidence. Self efficacy has a direct impact on performance as the more confident the individual:

  1. The more likely they will take up a challenge;
  2. The more effort and motivation will be given to successfully accomplish a task; and
  3. The more persistence he or she will be when obstacles are encountered or even when there is initial failure.

A meta alanlysis of 114 studies found a stronger relationship between efficacy and work related performance than other popular organisational behaviour concepts such as goal setting; job satisfaction; the Big Five personality traits, including conscientiousness.

What’s more, self efficacy can be developed through mastery experiences, feedback, modelling. Whilst this appears straightforward, the modelling examples need to be context specific with critical feedback to help understand succes and failure. For example, it is obvious that previous success builds one’s confidence. However, success should not just be equated with future confidence. Instead, the key to subsequent confidence is how the individual interprets and processes the previous success (e.g.,hard-earned through one’s own efforts versus being easily handed the success). For example, I can build confidence in my own golf game by observing one of my similar ability level colleagues but watching Tiger Woods win another Master’s, I’m afraid does nothing for the confidence of my game.