Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Development and Validation of a Managerial Decision Making Self-Efficacy Questionnaire

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Development and Validation of a Managerial Decision Making Self-Efficacy Questionnaire

Article excerpt


Decision-making is arguably the most critical component of a manager's work. Flawed decisionmaking processes emanate from intelligent, responsible managers despite available information and good intentions (see Certo, Connelly & Tihanyi, 2008; Lovallo & Kahneman, 2003). Although stable levels of cognitive ability and personality traits are useful in selecting better performing managers, the ability to regulate such behaviour and attention represents a set of abilities relatively untapped in the realm of personnel selection (Beal, Weiss, Barros & MacDermid, 2005).

Acting for their organisations, managers undertake the decision process in a context of competing goals and objectives, together with information overload. These conditions may exceed individual managers' cognitive capability (i.e. their attentional resources), making them vulnerable to the volitional deployment of cognitive effort when they are extended to deal with such demands (Ganster, 2005; Payne & Bettman, 2007). Absence of a strong motivational influence (such as self-regulation via self-efficacy beliefs) reduces the volitional selection of cognitively effortful information search, deliberation and rational social influence in decision making (see O'Connor & Arnold, 2001; Wood, Atkins & Tabernero, 2000).

The absence of a domain-specific measure of the decision-making self-efficacy of managers was the motivation for the development of the Managerial Decision-making Self-efficacy Questionnaire (MDMSEQ). Self-efficacy beliefs have been prominent in psychological research over the past two decades (see, Burns & Christiansen, 2011; Judge, Jackson, Shaw, Scott & Rich, 2007). Defined as beliefs in one's capabilities to organise and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments (Bandura, 1997, p. 3), self-efficacy beliefs represent an individual-in-context appraisal. These beliefs influence how a challenge is cognitively evaluated and determine how much effort individuals will expend and how long they will persevere when confronting obstacles. In addition, selfefficacy beliefs influence individuals' thought patterns and emotional reactions and determine how resilient they will be in the face of adverse situations.

In spite of such prominence, self-efficacy beliefs have received limited attention as a potential determinant in managerial decision-making (Hiller & Hambrick, 2005; Zacarro, 2001). Yet extant research has confirmed the influence of self-efficacy on performance in complex decision-making tasks (e.g. Arenas, Tabernero & Briones, 2006; Sullivan, O'Connor & Burris, 2003).

The construct domain of self-efficacy measures should be contextualised in relation to the area of functioning an individual faces, thus calling for a taxonomy and content of a particular domain in order to measure how individuals function in the face of different types of dissuading conditions (Bandura, 2006). This issue has been largely unheeded in self-efficacy research, resulting in self-efficacy assessments that reflect global or generalised competence, bearing little resemblance to the specific performance on tasks that individuals must face.

The present authors concur with Bandura (2009) that 'making a decision does not ensure that individuals will mobilise the effort to execute the decided course of action successfully and stick to it in the face of difficulties' (p. 181). Consequently, self-efficacy beliefs may influence managers' perceived decision making competence to: mobilise motivation (effort and perseverance), exert rational and attentional resources (analytic and problemsolving skills), exercise independence in social influence (to gain compliance, enlist cooperation and acquire resources), control disruptive and aversive cognitions and implement courses of action in order to make accurate decisions. No current measure exists in the literature that meets this definition of managerial decision-making self-efficacy beliefs. …

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