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Relation Of Collective Efficacy Beliefs To Group Cohesion And Performance In Student Project Teams

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Projects,Teams & Cooperative Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1052.1 - 9.1052.10



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Paper Authors

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Janet Schmidt

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1353

Relation of Collective Efficacy Beliefs to Group Cohesion and Performance in Student Project Teams

Robert W. Lent, Janet A. Schmidt, Linda C. Schmidt, Clay Gloster, and Sarah Mouring University of Maryland, College Park/Howard University/ US Naval Academy


This study extends Bandura’s1 concept of collective efficacy to the context of student project teams in engineering education. Collective efficacy refers to team members’ beliefs about the ability of their team to perform its tasks effectively. Members of student project teams in an introductory engineering design course completed measures of their teams’ collective efficacy, cohesion, and performance. Course instructors also independently rated each team’s performance. Findings indicated that collective efficacy was strongly related to students’ ratings of their teams’ cohesion and performance, both at the individual and group levels of analysis. Collective efficacy was also moderately related to instructors’ ratings of team performance. We consider the implications of these findings for further research and practice involving team functioning.


Social cognitive theory1 is an influential approach to understanding the psychosocial processes involved in human motivation, choice, and performance. A large body of research has accumulated examining social cognitive variables, especially self-efficacy, in relation to various aspects of academic and career-relevant behavior. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT)2 was developed a decade ago to help organize and lend direction to this inquiry. SCCT was designed to explain the processes through which people develop educational and career interests, translate their interests into occupationally-relevant choices, and achieve varying levels of performance and persistence in academic and work domains. Research findings have consistently supported the theory’s utility in predicting the academic choice and performance behavior of students in science, math, and engineering fields3.

While social cognitive theory has provided a heuristic perspective on career and educational behavior, the research literature has focused primarily on the linkages of social cognitive variables to outcomes achieved by students and workers as individuals. This focus makes a great deal of sense given that educators and psychologists are largely concerned with maximizing the development of individuals. It is obvious, however, that people do not only study and work alone. In the contemporary world, efforts at social change, economic productivity, and technological progress typically require that people harness their energy together to achieve common ends. Indeed, the need to blend individuals together effectively within groups, teams,

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Schmidt, J. (2004, June), Relation Of Collective Efficacy Beliefs To Group Cohesion And Performance In Student Project Teams Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12936

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