'Possunt, quia posse videntur': They can because they think they can. Development and Validation of the Work Self-Efficacy Scale: Evidence from two Studies

Claudio Barbaranelli, Roberta Fida, Marinella Paciello, Carlo Tramontano

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    Self-efficacy (SE) has been recognised as a pervasive mechanism of human agency influencing motivation, performance and well-being. In the organisational literature, it has been mainly assessed in relation to job tasks, leaving the emotional and interpersonal domains quite unexplored, despite their relevance. We aim to fill this gap by presenting a multidimensional work self-efficacy (W-SE) scale that assesses employees' perceived capability to manage tasks (task SE), negative emotions in stressful situations (negative emotional SE), and their conduct in social interactions, in terms of both defending their own point of view (assertive SE) and understanding others' states and needs (empathic SE). Results from two independent studies (Study 1, N = 2192 employees; Study 2, N = 700 employees) adopting both variable- and person-centred approaches support the validity of the scale. Findings of factor analyses suggest a bi-factor model positing a global W-SE factor and four specific W-SEs, which are invariant across gender and career stages. Multiple regressions show that global W-SE is associated with all considered criteria, task SE is associated positively with in-role behaviours and negatively with counterproductive behaviours; negative emotional SE is negatively associated with negative emotions and health-related symptoms; empathic SE is positively associated with extra-role behaviour; and, unexpectedly, assertive SE is positively associated with counterproductive work behaviour. However, results from a Latent Profile Analysis showed that the relationship between the SEs and criteria is complex, and that W-SE dimensions combine into different patterns, identifying four SE configurations associated with different levels of adjustment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-269
    JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
    Early online date2 Feb 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

    Bibliographical note

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Vocational Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Vocational Behavior, [(in press), (2018)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2018.01.006

    © 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


    • Self-efficacy
    • In-role behaviour
    • Extra-role behaviour
    • Counterproductive work behaviour
    • Well-being
    • Self-regulation
    • Bi-factor model


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