Posted by: A.R. Cherian | October 1, 2009

Believing in yourself

An interesting theory on organizational behavior is Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. Within this framework, the concept of self-efficacy (an individual’s belief and expectancies about his/her ability to perform a task effectively) is a personality trait that has been shown to be incredibly powerful in predicting the performance of employees.

People with high self-efficacy will generally:

  • Believe in their ability to get the task done
  • Are capable of putting forth the effort necessary to get a specific task done
  • Believe they can overcome obstacles in getting the task done

Where do they get these belief? Well, it usually comes from four sources

  • Prior experiences
  • Behavior models – witnessing the success of others
  • Persuasion from other people
  • Their assessment of current physical and emotional capabilities

It is interesting to note that studies have shown that individuals with high self-efficacy performed better on job interviews. High self-efficacy was found to the highest contributing factor in successful job interviews over other variables such as personality and background.

Researchers such as Stajkovic and Luthans believe that managers can be confident when hiring people with high self-efficacy that they will perform well. It’s important in selecting employees, but what is usually neglected is developing this characteristic in employees. Four ways to do this are:

  1. Provide job challenges
  2. Coaching and counseling for improved performance
  3. Reward employee achievements
  4. Empower (sharing power with employees)

So, it’s important to believe in yourself (high self-efficacy) as the research has shown that this is a strong influence over performance and behavior at work. You don’t have to be born with this characteristic but strive to develop it yourself and develop it in your employees.


Self-efficacy in practice


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