Hot Issues of Skills Development

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SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] home Hot Issues of Skills Development What is "Self-Efficacy"?

What is "Self-Efficacy"? Yujiro Yamazaki
  • Skills Needed in Labour Market and Issues Related to Skills of Workers

We often set goals in our daily lives, such as “to pass an exam,” “to speak English,” “to get a promotion,” or “to quit smoking. Even if we decide to take daily action toward our goals, we often give up after a few days due to a lack of persistence. What is so vital for that continuance?

According to Bandura (1977), self-efficacy is key to achieving goals. Self-efficacy refers to the expectation of what one can do. Bandura (1977) divides the expectation of goal achievement into “outcome expectation: incidental cognition” and “efficacy expectation: self-efficacy. Outcome expectation refers to the expectation that a certain behavior will produce a certain result, such as “study every day and you will pass the exam” or “practice every day, and you will win the game. Bandura (1977) found that self-efficacy, which is the latter expectation of “what I can do,” is the expectation of “what I can do. Bandura (1977) says that self-efficacy, which is the latter expectation of what one can do, is essential in continuing to take action to achieve one’s goals.

Bandura (1977) identified four factors that affect self-efficacy: the first is “action information.” The action information refers to past experiences, such as successes and failures, that determine what one can do. The second type of information is proxy information, which is information about self-efficacy, in which we find out what we can do by watching someone else do it. When someone does something in front of you, you think, “I can do this,” which can increase your self-efficacy. The third is “verbal persuasion.” Verbal persuasion refers to self-efficacy through self-suggestion and being told by others that you can do it. The fourth and final type is emotional arousal. It has been pointed out that emotions affect self-efficacy, as when we are relaxed, we can act as we wish, and when we are aware of our nervousness, we become more nervous.

The recognition of the importance of self-efficacy in achieving goals has spread since then, and research has been conducted to measure self-efficacy. In Japan, the “Generalized Self-efficacy Scale” by Sakano et al. (1986) was developed to measure self-efficacy, followed by the ” Personality Trait Self-efficacy Scale as a Subjective Feeling” by Narita et al. (1995) and the “Personality Trait Self-efficacy Scale as a Subjective Feeling” by Miyoshi (2003). In other countries, research has been conducted to measure self-efficacy as an individual characteristic as Generalized Self-efficacy (Passmore, 2004).

Miyoshi and Ohno (2011) have argued that self-efficacy for a specific task defines self-efficacy as an individual’s character and that self-efficacy as an individual’s character defines self-efficacy for a situation. It is said that there is a coexistence of the two positions. It is necessary to continue to consider how much versatility there is so that a person who has achieved one goal will also have a sense of self-efficacy for another purpose.



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  • Passmore, A. 2004. A Measure of Perception of Generalized Self-Efficacy Adapted for Adolescents. Occupation, Participation, and Health. 24(2), 64-71.
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