The degree to which people believe in themselves and their own capabilities is important for their motivation and success. People’s capabilities are important, but what they believe they can do is at least as important!
The concept of self-efficacy, originally developed by Bandura (1995), assesses one’s core belief of having the power to achieve one’s personal goals by one’s own actions. Self-efficacy beliefs have proven to be consistent predictors of behavioral outcomes, such as performance (Ouweneel et al., 2013).
Self-efficacy beliefs have been positively related to motivation and engagement, and they lead to greater task involvement. Of course, having meaningful goals and plans to pursue one’s goals is likely to result in higher levels of engagement as well.
Several studies have shown self-efficacy to be one of the strongest predictors of performance. Also, students with increased self-efficacy try different solutions when they do not achieve their goals, and they put a great effort into achieving their goals.
Moreover, they endure and remain confident that they will be successful in the end, and as a result, they perform well (Ouweneel et al., 2013).
New research by Ouweneel and colleagues (2013) examined the effects of changes in self-efficacy on engagement and performance. The authors conducted two studies: a field study in which academic self-efficacy was measured, and an experimental study in which task-related self-efficacy was measured. In this way, they sought to increase the generalizability of the study results.
Both studies show that increases/decreases in self-efficacy influence engagement and performance. More specifically, greater self-efficacy leads to greater engagement and performance, and lower self-efficacy leads to decreased engagement and performance.
However, high levels of self-efficacy may also lead to overconfidence in one’s abilities. Indeed, some studies have shown that high levels of self-efficacy create relaxation and reduce future performance.