Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Efficacy and Outcome Expectations Influence Career Exploration and Decidedness

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Efficacy and Outcome Expectations Influence Career Exploration and Decidedness

Article excerpt

In this multiple regression model, self-efficacy beliefs are the best predictor of career indecision, and outcome expectations are the best predictor of exploration intentions. When indecision was entered as a predictor, it also was a significant predictor of exploration intentions-students who were less decided were also more likely to plan career exploration. Career efficacy and outcome expectations relate significantly more strongly within the group of college men than within the group of college women. Implications for social cognitive career theory and practice are discussed.

One of the most heuristic and useful practices in career development research has been the application of self-efficacy theory to the study of educational and vocational behavior. Career self-efficacy, based on Bandura's (1977,1986) theory of self-efficacy expectations as a major mediator of both behavior and behavior change, was first investigated by Betz and Hackett (1981). They reported that college students' beliefs about their educational and occupational capabilities were significantly related to the nature and range of career options they considered. Their findings have been replicated in other samples (Layton, 1984; Zilber, 1988), age groups (Post-Kammer, & Smith, 1985), and cultures (Matsui & Tsukamoto, 1991). Applications of self-efficacy theory to career decision-making skills (Taylor & Betz, 1983; Taylor & Popma, 1990) suggest its utility as a major predictor of career indecision. More generally, meta-analyses and reviews (Betz & Luzzo, 1996; Hackett & Lent, 1992; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994; Multon, Brown, & Lent,1991) strongly support the role of self-efficacy as a predictor of academic performance and persistence as well as career decision-making intentions and behaviors.

Although these concepts have stimulated considerable interest among researchers and practitioners, progress in this area has been facilitated recently by work embedding self-efficacy expectations within a more general social cognitive model originally formulated by Bandura ( 1986) and elaborated for vocational behavior by Lent et al., (1994).

As originally stated, the Lent et al. (1994) model highlights three characteristics of the person-self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and goals-that form the core of a social cognitive approach to vocational behavior. Self-efficacy refers to beliefs in competencies with respect to the behaviors necessary in a particular career-relevant domain. Outcome expectations involve beliefs in the consequences of performing given behaviors-somewhat akin to Vroom's (1964) concept of subjective probability that certain acts will lead to certain outcomes. Efficacy and outcome expectations must be distinguished because "correct" performance does not always lead to the desired outcome.

Efficacy and outcome expectations are postulated to influence the development both of interests and of goals, although contextual influences may also play a role (Lent et al., 1994). Goals are often an implicit element of the career choice and decision process, with plans, decisions, aspirations, and behavioral choices all involving goal mechanisms. And, just as strong efficacy and outcome expectations would be postulated to lead to clearer goals and goal-oriented behaviors, low efficacy and outcome expectations may explain the relative lack thereof in some individuals.

Efficacy expectations, particularly those with respect to the skills of career decision making, have been found to be importantly related to career indecision. As summarized in a recent review by Betz and Luzzo (1996), correlations between the Career DecisionMaking Self-Efficacy Scale (CDMSE; Taylor & Betz,1983) total scores and Career Decision Scale (CDS; Osipow, Carney, Winer, Yanico, & Koschier, 1987) ranged from -.40 to -.51. Betz, Klein, and Taylor (1996) reported that the 25-item Short Form of the CDMSE correlated -. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.