Recent research (e.g., Vancouver & Kendall, 2006; Vancouver, Thompson, Tischner, & Putka, 2002; Vancouver, Thompson, & Williams, 2001) has challenged the conventional view of self-efficacy as a positive influence on performance, finding a negative within-person relationship between self-efficacy and performance. In the current study, performance ambiguity is examined as a potential boundary condition for this negative self-efficacy effect. As hypothesized, self-efficacy was negatively related to subsequent performance under conditions of high ambiguity but was positively related to performance when performance ambiguity was low. Additionally, the study evaluates key mediating processes underlying the relationship between self-efficacy and performance, finding support for the role of performance perceptions and effort allocation. The results of this study help to establish the scope of the phenomenon and suggest potential means of inhibiting the negative self-efficacy effects.
- Control theory