Importance of Self-efficacy in internal motivation

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities, or the degree of confidence that people have in their ability to succeed at a task that matters to them. These beliefs play a critical role in determining the choices people make, their degree of anxiety while performing tasks, their level of persistence and effort in the face of challenge, and their motivation to complete a task.

Understanding that self-efficacy is situation specific and can eventually affect overall levels of self-confidence, leaders can see the importance of building subordinate self-efficacy. Because raising feelings of competence in all areas of the game or situation helps to build overall self-confidence, leaders must determine strategies to aid in the development of positive self-efficacy in all areas.

When self-efficacy is high, an individual feels confident that the task can be performed. When self-efficacy is low, an individual feels that the task is beyond his or her ability. Individual perceptions of self are subjective, making it difficult to predict behavioral outcomes. Self-perceptions of self-efficacy can impact what type of challenges individuals undertake and to what degree tasks are performed.

Researchers have observed that feelings of greater self-efficacy are associated with success at higher levels of academic performance (Pajares, 1996), improved performance in athletic competition (Kane, Marks, Zaccaro, & Blair, 1996), and improved levels of work-related performance (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998). Many factors, such as feelings, needs, and expectations, impact self-perceptions. These are areas in which leaders can make a difference as they strive to foster increased levels of self-efficacy.

As mentioned earlier, researchers have shown that observed feelings of greater self-efficacy are associated with improved performances in academic performance, athletic competition, and work-related performance. Self-efficacy theory is a cognitive theory of motivation. This cognitive theory emphasizes an individual’s central beliefs that he or she can successfully perform a given task (Bandura & Locke, 2003). When an individual feels confident that the task at hand can be performed successfully, positive self-efficacy is observed. When an individual feels encumbered to perform the task at hand successfully, negative self-efficacy is observed. Often, individuals who exhibit positive self-efficacy tend to persist and complete the present task; however, those who exhibit negative self-efficacy have a propensity to give up when the task becomes too challenging.

Let’s have a look what motivation is, MOTIVATION is the force that drives a person to do something. It includes varying emotions such as: initiative, drive, intensity, and persistence; that inhibit, neutralize, or promote goal-directed behaviors, It is internal.


  • Students may choose to learn or escape from learning. If they choose to be active in school and learn, they have a belief in their efficacy to learn and the power of knowing. They are ready to learn.
  • If they have a belief that they are incapable of learning and powerless to change, they will choose not to be actively involved, or withdraw, and their learning and performance is reduced.

Students will engage in an activity or attempt to learn a behavior they value or feel is worthwhile and believe they can be successful. As they participate in similar learning experiences they establish an understanding of their ability, which they will use to judge how their participation in future activities will unfold and the likelihood of their the consequences of their actions. This perception is self-efficacy.

Student’s self-beliefs and their motivation in academic settings are closely connected. Students can be motivated from both internal and external sources. Intrinsic motivation refers to internal drive that causes an activity or a task to be associated with the experience of personal pleasure or interest. When people are intrinsically motivated, they have a genuine desire for the activity itself and enjoy it or find it fun. And when extensively connected to motivation they do not found any desire in their activities.

When building self-efficacy levels, followers must be confident that they can meet leader expectations. If leadership behavior is unstable, such as providing unclear and less specific directions, followers may become frustrated as they have to devote precious time attempting to figure out expectations. Instead of building up job-related self-confidence levels, followers struggle with feelings of uncertainty in relation to performance levels. The same is true in regards to the other principles of the operant approach. When leaders design distinct strategies and clearly define expectations, both leaders and followers can concentrate on performance outcomes.

“Self-efficacy can be understood by considering attributes that contribute to the perception of success or failure to achieve goals”.