Self-efficacy comes through experience, vicarious experience,
verbal persuasion, or physiological feedback (Bandura, 1989, 1995,
1997). However, social cognitive theory does not stop with the concept
of self-efficacy beliefs. Equally important is the notion of collective
efficacy. This component comes about later, after the realization
that certain cultures are more likely to bring collective action
for behavior change, rather than individual action. Many times in
behavior change efforts encounter institutional and infrastructure
problems that require collective action. Therefore, collective efficacy
is defined as the common belief in the power to create desired effects
by collective action (Bandura, 1997). This common belief goes beyond
the aggregation of the efficacy beliefs of individual members; it
also represents “an emergent property that embodies the coordinative
and interactive dynamics of group functioning” (Bandura, 2003).
In a study about self-efficacy in relation to Hofstede’s (1980)
dimension of individualism and collectivism, Oettgen (1995) demonstrated
that culture does have influence over self-efficacy. For Hofstede
(1980, 1994) individual cultures, represented in the Western universe,
reinforce and accept personal achievement and competition. While
Eastern cultures favor collectivism, emphasizing cooperation and
agreement between people, personal achievement and competition is
suppressed. Oettgen realizes that the degree to which a culture
promotes dependence on the collective effects one’s own and
the group’s perception of self-efficacy, which means, setting
goals and striving for their attainment, the degree of satisfaction
with personal and group achievement. Ultimately, efficacy is to
be analyzed in a cultural context.
Bandura (2003) points that a high belief in efficacy is equally
important to group directedness as to self-directness. He stresses
the differences that exist among cultures, calling attention to
the fact that in individualistic cultures there are also collective
oriented individuals. Bandura cites as an example, that to lump
such different cultures as Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, and
Spaniards into a Latino category, establishes homogeneity on intra-ethnic
diversity. Therefore, cultural diversity may generate “a lot
of misleading generalizations” when comparing members of a
single individualist culture with members of a collective culture.
Furthermore, he argues that there is a “contentious dualism”
in the cross-culture field, characterized by autonomous versus interdependent,
personal agency against social structure, and individualism against
collectivism. Under this light, he considers it erroneous to equate
self- efficacy with individualism, against collectivism. As Bandura
Perceived efficacy does not come with a built-in individualistic
value system. Therefore a sense of efficacy does not necessarily
spawn an individualistic life style, identity or morality. If belief
in the power to produce effects is put to social purposes, it fosters
a communal life, rather than erodes it. People with resilient efficacy
and strong pro-social purposes often subordinate self-interest to
the benefit of others.
Social learning/cognitive theory is widely utilized as a framework
for various studies in diverse fields such as health care, psychology,
communications, organizational management, physical education, etc.
Studying the role of children’s television in race stereotyping,
Graves (1999) concludes that through vicarious experience, televised
role portrayals of race and race interactions contribute to the
development of stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination among children.
On the other hand, programs like Sesame Street have a positive influence
on children’s racial knowledge, attitudes and preferences.
In a recent content analysis study examining the ethnic/minority
portrayal in television advertisement, social cognitive theory is
utilized as a framework to help understand their impact on possible
audience self-perception (Mastro & Stern 2003).