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Individual learning and group performance: the role of collective efficacy

Marie‐Hélène Budworth (School of Human Resource Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 9 August 2011




The aim of the current study is to investigate the effect of training individual group members on the collective efficacy of the group and the group's subsequent performance.


Participants (n=275), in a laboratory study were randomly assigned to groups of five (k=55). Individuals were then randomly selected from those groups such that none, one, three, or all five members of the group participated in training on effective ways to select a job candidate.


Groups in which at least a majority of group members were trained had higher collective efficacy than groups where fewer members were trained. Training individuals beyond a majority did not improve collective efficacy further. Collective efficacy mediated the relationship between individual training and group level performance.

Research limitations/implications

This research extends the knowledge of the relationship between the individual and the group within social cognitive theory. Training a majority of the group is needed to see an increase in collective efficacy, a mediator of group performance.

Practical implications

Human resource managers should consider the effects of training individuals when they expect their employees to work as teams. It is beneficial to train as many people as necessary for the group to be able to benefit from the new information; however, training beyond the majority of people within the group does not improve confidence or performance.


The paper examines the relationship between individual group members and collective efficacy in a learning context. This extends the knowledge of social cognitive theory by crossing levels of analysis.



Budworth, M. (2011), "Individual learning and group performance: the role of collective efficacy", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 391-401.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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