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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Dynamics of Self-Concept and Learning Performance

It is tempting to look at self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997) as the only reflector of an individual's belief about himself or herself in terms of whether or not he or she is likely to stay motivated and to achieve high learning performance.


However, there is another way to map the process of how one's beliefs about themselves frame and facilitate learning performance. That concept can be described by Core Self-Evaluation (CSE).

Definition of Core Self-Evaluation (CSE): "fundamental evaluations of one's self-worth, competence, and capabilities"  (Kim, etal, 2012)

Question: What is the relationship between one's CSE and one's ability to learn? How does CSE relate to one's ability to succeed?  Does a positive CSE translate to enhanced motivation and higher learning capacity?

Individuals with a high CSE can tend to consider themselves "confident, emotionally stable across different contexts, in control of their lives, and positive about their worth" (Judge, etal, 2003).

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Oklahoma depends on oil and gas production and the entrepreneurial spirit that accompanies it. In order to be successful, entrepreneurs have historically had to possess confidence and a positive core self-evaluation.
Having a positive CSE is not enough, however, when predicting performance,

It requires an additional step or factor, namely the motivation to learn. Here are the four main factors that are in play as a person employs their core self evaluation(s) in order to perform.  The way in which each is most likely to contribute to success is briefly detailed:

o    Goal choice: should be self-set, and appropriate, achievable, and meaningful
o    Goal striving: persistent effort toward the goal reflects the belief that one is making progress toward a goal that makes sense
o    Self-efficacy:  the belief that one is able to achieve the goal is vital in maintaining focus and the willingness to work through uncertainty
o    Goal commitment: an ongoing and self-reinforcing set of conditions and self-reassurances that keep the learner engaged and working toward the goal

All dimensions should be taken into consideration in evaluating learning performance, and the process is dynamic.

Key findings:

•    Individuals with high levels of CSE tend to set more challenging goals, and tend to shuttle between the different factors (goal choice, goal striving, self-efficacy, and goal commitment) to use them as a dynamic process to reinforce progress toward the goal, with the result of higher learning efficacy.

•    Individuals with lower levels of positive CSE may experience more anxiety, and it makes the dynamic process less fluid; in these cases shuttling between the factors may require coaching and/or team work. In this case, leadership is helpful in matching the individual with lower levels of CSE with appropriate team members and/or mentors

•    Good leadership is important in the process. First, leaders can help identify people with highly positive Core Self Evaluations and they can encourage and reinforce the high CSE.  Second, leaders can facilitate the process of helping find team members and mentors to reinforce the dynamic process of shuttling between goal choice, goal striving, self-efficacy, and goal commitment.


Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Judge, T. A., Erez, A., Bono, J.E., & Thoereson, C. J. (2003). The core self-evaluation scale: Dvelopment of a measure. Personnel Psychology. 56, 303-331.

Kim, K., In-Sue, O., Chiaburu, D., & Brown, K. (2012). Does positive perception of oneself boost learning motivation and performance? International Journal of Selection and Assessment. 20:3. 257-71.

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