Motivating engaging performance: a longitudinal field experiment of self-efficacy at work
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 20:58 authored by William Richard Carter
This thesis examined the influence of self-efficacy and employee engagement on work-related performance in organisational settings. Self-efficacy refers to people's judgment in their personal capabilities to mobilise the motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action needed to produce given attainments (Bandura, 1997, p. 3). A core construct within social cognitive theory, self-efficacy has been extensively studied by psychologists while its application within organisations has been examined at length by organisation psychologists and management scholars. Although these academic studies have confirmed the integral and influential role self-efficacy has on work motivation and performance, self-efficacy theory has not been widely adopted in management practice. This oversight is arguably attributable to the dominant use of artificial laboratory methods instead of field studies to test the self-efficacy/work-related performance relationship within organisational settings. The primary purpose of this thesis is to examine self-efficacy's impact on motivation and performance within organisational settings. This focus has the potential to contribute to both knowledge and testing of theories of self-efficacy and work related performance as well as wider dissemination of results and potential application of self-efficacy research. In contrast, the analogous motivational concept of employee engagement has been developed and applied by consultants within organisational environments and is widely used in management practice. However, there has been little systematic research been undertaken on employee engagement, its relationship to self-efficacy, and consequent impact on performance. The secondary purpose of this thesis is to provide such an investigation. An experimental design incorporating a novel organisation theatre intervention intended to increase participant self-efficacy was employed to test the relationships between these variables. The study confirmed self-efficacy has a similar influence on work-related performance in organisational settings that laboratory studies had previously found and that employee engagement is a related but independent predictor of work-related performance. The study also demonstrated organisation theatre interventions effectively act as mechanisms for lower-level empowerment. The thesis draws on the field experiment's impact on self-efficacy, work performance and empowerment to make a contribution to the self-efficacy, employee engagement and organisational change literatures while having the potential to enhance the impact of self-efficacy research on management practice.