How can managers encourage self-efficacy in employees?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Self-efficacy in employees can only occur if they are granted some autonomy and are rewarded for its proper exercise. Rewards need not be monetary; they may be simple praise or other forms of recognition. But an employee who has no autonomy whatsoever cannot exercise self-efficacy.  This is a basic premise of development for all of us, from our earliest days.  Parents who offer their children no opportunities for decision-making or other forms of autonomy are like employers who deprive employees of the same chance to grow. 

There are some ways in which this generality is limited in application, though.  First, there are work settings in which autonomy is limited by the nature of the work, for example, an assembly line.  There are few, if any, choices that an employee can make in the way of self-efficacy.  Second, there are certain managerial types (Theory X) that simply cannot let go of the reins enough to allow employees some autonomy.  Third, sometimes the hierarchical nature of the structure of an organization makes autonomy difficult, if not impossible.  Finally, when one allows employees autonomy, things will go wrong, inevitably, and many such "experiments" are quickly terminated when this occurs.  



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