Self-Efficacy & Personal Mastery


Academic Self-Efficacy

Personal academic self-efficacy is defined as personal judgments of one's capabilities to organize and execute courses of action to attain designated types of educational performances. Students with a high sense of self-efficacy will participate more readily, work harder and persist longer when they encounter difficulties. Judgments of one's knowledge, skills, strategies and stress management enter into the formation of efficacy beliefs. Academic contexts include: performance of college students in problem solving improved when they were told they were better than a comparison group; when tasks are solvable in persistence studies, self-efficacious children will solve them more quickly; students with high self-efficacy will undertake difficult and challenging tasks more readily. Self-efficacy was compared to related constructs: academic ability (merely possessing knowledge and skills does not imply they will be used effectively under difficult conditions), attributions (high self-efficacy students attribute lack of success to insufficient effort and reverse is true) (Bandura, 1995; Zimmerman, 1995).

Personal Mastery

Senge introduced the concept of personal mastery as a key link between personal and organizational learning. Individuals with high levels of personal mastery were said to be able to consistently realize the results that are most meaningful to them by continuously deepening personal vision, focusing personal energies, developing patience and having an objective reality. In the workplace persons with enhanced levels of personal mastery are more committed, take more initiative and have a broader and deeper responsibility in their work. It is suggested that learning organizations can and should create an environment were employees build personal mastery by: developing a more systemic worldview, learning how to reflect on tacit assumptions, expressing their vision and listening to other's visions and joint enquiry into other's visions (Senge, 1994). It is the author's observation that personal mastery has much in common with self-efficacy and that the techniques on enhancing personal mastery are resonant with the principles of expertise enhancement.


Bandura, A. (1995). Exercise of Personal and Collective Efficacy in Changing Societies. In A. Bandura (Ed.), Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies (pp. 45). Cambridge: Press Syndicate University of Cambridge.

Senge, P. (1994). The Fifth Discipline : The art and practice of the learning organization: Currency/Doubleday.

Zimmerman, B. J. (1995). Self Efficacy and Educational Development. In A. Bandura (Ed.), Self-Efficacy in Changing Societies (pp. 45). Cambridge: Press Syndicate University of Cambridge.