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Self – efficacy as a resource

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 11 December 2020

Issue publication date: 21 July 2021




This study has two purposes. Firstly, it aims to investigate whether self-efficacy constitutes one of the mechanisms by which transformational leadership impacts on employee positivity in reacting to change. Secondly, it aims to investigate whether the extent of change moderates the relationship between transformational leadership, self-efficacy and reactions to change. This study also explores the possibility that when the extent of change is higher, the effectiveness of transformational leadership may be lower.


This study used a sample of employees where the organization was going through significant change. Employee ratings on specific scales were used to measure transformational leadership, self-efficacy, affective commitment to organizational change, and intention to support change. A cumulative change index was used to assess the number of changes employees had experienced during the change process.


The results confirmed hypothesis 1 that transformational leadership was related to affective commitment and intention to support change and this was to a high level of statistical significance. Testing hypothesis 2 that self-efficacy mediated the effect of transformational leadership on commitment and intention to support change indicated that self-efficacy did mediate in this relationship confirming both hypothesis 2a and 2 b. The results did not support hypothesis 3a, with no significant interaction effect showing that the interaction between transformational leadership and self-efficacy did not differ between low versus high extent of change. However, the results did support hypothesis 3 b with the strength of the positive relationship between self-efficacy and reactions to change differing across high versus low extent of change. For both affective commitment and intention to support change, the interaction of self-efficacy and change index was significant.

Research limitations/implications

Current weaknesses in the transformational leadership research include: a bias towards heroic leadership and away from collective and shared process of leadership, the underlying processes have not been clearly identified, lack of precision about situational variables that may impact on these processes. This paper does not address the first weakness.

Practical implications

Self-efficacy gains importance when the extent of change is high. The results suggest that change managers should adopt a transformational style of leadership to enhance recipients’ self-efficacy to generate positive attitudes and behaviours during change. They also suggest the selection and training of managers in transformational leadership attributes and also the inclusion of this in the monitoring of managers’ behaviours in post. The research outlined in this paper makes a significant contribution to an organization’s capacity to achieve change, particularly when the extent of change is high.

Social implications

This research provides ways in which organizations can better achieve change through positive processes.


Transformational leadership can create a vision of the future and inspire followers to work to achieve it and to build hope and confidence for the future. This can prevent or overcome resistance to or reluctance about change. Lack of alignment of values between employees and the organization can result in change failure. This paper provides original insight into how change can be achieved by transformational leadership building self-efficacy.



(2021), "Self – efficacy as a resource", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 28-30.



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