Academic journal article Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice

Applying Self Efficacy Theory to Increase Interpersonal Effectiveness in Teamwork

Academic journal article Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice

Applying Self Efficacy Theory to Increase Interpersonal Effectiveness in Teamwork

Article excerpt

Developing and enhancing the key skills necessary to increase interpersonal effectiveness in health care practice is vital to job satisfaction and success (Drinka & Clark, 2000, Rafferty, 2001). This paper proposes a strategy for developing skill in health care practice through application of the theory of self-efficacy developed by Albert Bandura (1997), adding to this body of knowledge by applying the theory to the realm of interprofessional healthcare practice.

We describe how the sources of influence in self-efficacy theory can be employed to increase individual and group effectiveness within an interprofessional healthcare team. Our proposal elaborates on the tenets of Invitational Theory and Practice specifically in that every person within a health care team can add to or subtract from the likelihood of positive outcomes for the people they serve, and that every member of a team can choose to enhance his/her potential and capability within an inviting, respectful and trusting culture (Purkey, 1992). In a work setting in which everyone participates freely and intentionally, the needs of individuals and the team as a whole are considered and addressed, inviting and encouraging everyone to function optimally.


The task for professionals in practice is to form effective relationships with a diverse array of patients and colleagues; including some that might be avoided if there were a choice (Wackerhausen, 2009). There is an important reason for forming and maintaining these relationships, which is to facilitate positive healthcare outcomes.

In every healthcare workplace, three broad factors affect human interactions: individual_differences, group dynamics, and conflict (Axe Is son & Axelsson, 2009; Drinka & Clark, 2000; Hall, 2005; Magrane et al, 2010; Pew-Fetzer Task Force, 1994). The complex interplay of these factors is critical because the way members of a health care team interact can have an impact on the quality of care provided. This impact is intensified around crises, errors, delays, and continuity of care--all of which influence patient outcome risks.

Increasing effectiveness in key skills can facilitate one's ability and capability to be a collaborative practitioner. Individuals with effective interpersonal skills working in teams can demonstrate and share expertise, maximize their contribution, minimize burnout, and foster professional autonomy.


People with a sense of self-efficacy (Bandura, 2010, 1997) believe in their ability and capability to succeed in attaining their goals. A sense of efficacy provides staying power and resilience to endure and move beyond obstacles and setbacks, and allows for a creative response to failure and disappointment. Individuals with high self-efficacy view failures and disappointments as indicators of the need to learn more or to use different problem-solving strategies. In the absence of self-efficacy, such challenges are more likely to be seen as personal flaws or lack of ability.

Bandura's theory of self-efficacy can be used as a tool to reinforce ability and promote capability in successful attainment of new skills. Understanding the process of acquiring efficacy while practicing new skills and behaviors will increase resilience and endurance in the face of setbacks (Bandura, 1997). Getting started requires recognizing current skills, abilities and aspirations and committing to work toward efficacy in unfamiliar domains. Self-efficacy is domain-specific, meaning that it does not generalize to a global feeling of self-confidence, competence or self-esteem. Bandura (2010, 1997) described four sources of influence that can increase potential for success in a new domain. Mastery experiences refer to accomplishment of feats or tasks, sometimes incrementally, acknowledging successful accomplishment. Vicarious experience or social modeling happens while observing others, preferably peers, modeling behaviors and accomplishments, and seeing and believing that it can be done. …

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