Using Team Efficacy Surveys to Help Promote Self-and-Team-Efficacy among College Athletes

Article excerpt

Introduction

In order to be able to contribute to a team, one must first be confident in one's own ability to support the team framework. According to Bandura (1) self-efficacy describes the level to which an individual can successfully perform a behavior required to facilitate a specific outcome. Assuming that the individual possesses the skills required to perform the task, self-efficacy is hypothesized to positively influence performance (14). This positive relationship between success and self-efficacy is empirically supported in studies relating to human endurance (25), as well as in the sport of baseball (9). In research targeting task-specific efficacy, supportive evidence suggests that state or task-specific self-efficacy is related to job performance (24) which, in turn, suggests that self-efficacy may also correlate with job performance.

Collective-efficacy has been found to regulate how much effort a group chooses to exert in accomplishing certain tasks, and its persistence in the face of failure (2). Mischel and Northcraft (17) suggested that the cognition of "can we do this task?" is different from the cognition of "can I do this task?" Hodges and Carron (11) and Lichacz and Partington (16), using experimental laboratory tasks, found support for the hypothesis that teams with high collective-efficacy outperformed low-efficacy teams, and that performance failure resulted in lower collective-efficacy on successive performance trials. Prussia and Kinicki (20) also found that collective-efficacy was related to collective goals and performance. Spink (23) found support for a relationship between team cohesion and team-efficacy for elite athletic teams but not for recreational teams. Teams with high collective-efficacy were higher in team cohesion than were teams with low collective-efficacy. Similar studies have indicated that team-efficacy and potency are related positively to performance (10, 13).

Feltz and Lirgg (8) defined team-efficacy as the consensus among players' perceptions of their personal capabilities to perform within the team. In order to study team-efficacy, Feltz and Lirgg followed one hundred sixty intercollegiate hockey players through the course of a season. They found that team victories increased team-efficacy and team defeats decreased team-efficacy to a greater extent than player efficacy beliefs. They also found a significant decrease in team-efficacy after losing competitions. This opened new doors in the study of team-efficacy because they compared the change in efficacy in times of both success and failure.

Attribution Theory

Attribution theory focuses on how people explain their success and failure. According to Weiner, Nierenberg, and Goldstein (26), success and failure are perceived as chiefly caused by ability, effort, the difficulty of the task, and luck. This view, popularized by Weiner, holds that thousands of outside influences for success and failure can be classified into two categories. The first of these categories is stability. Stability is a factor to which one attributes success or failure as fairly permanent or unstable. Factors such as ability, task difficulty, and bias are perceived as relatively stable, whereas other causes, such as luck, effort, and mood are subject to moment-to-moment, periodic fluctuations and are considered unstable.

Locus of Control

Locus of control distinguishes two types of individuals: internals, who perceive the likelihood of an event occurring as a product of their own behavior, and externals, who view events as contingent on luck, chance, or other people (22). Causes internal to an individual are ability, effort, and mood. External factors are task difficulty, luck, and bias (26). Team-efficacy includes factors such as team cohesion and the ability of individual players; both internal and stable. Because individuals judge their capabilities partly through social comparisons with the performance of others, it is reasonable to believe that teams will react in the same manner by comparing their collective competencies with their opponents (8,19). …