Self-efficacy and ethical decision-making




Stenmark, Cheryl
Redfearn, Robert
Kreitler, Crystal

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Self-efficacy is the assessment of one’s capacity to perform tasks (Bandura, 1986). Previous research has demonstrated that self-efficacy impacts ethical behavior and attitudes (e.g., Elias, 2008; MacNab and Worthley, 2008), but its effect on ethical cognition and perceptions has not been studied. For the present study, participants analyzed an ethical dilemma after either high or low self-efficacy was induced. Participants analyzed the dilemma using one of two cognitive problem-solving techniques (a structured cognitive tool or an unstructured cognitive technique) versus a third, control group, and what participants wrote about the problem was content-analyzed to determine how ethical cognition is impacted by self-efficacy. Additionally, perceptions of the ethical problem were examined. Results revealed that differences in self-efficacy did not lead to changes in ethical cognition, but they did lead to changes in perceptions of ethical problems. Implications of these findings are discussed.



ethical decision-making, cognitive tool, self-efficacy


Stenmark, C. K., Redfearn, R., & Kreitler, C. M. (2021). Self-efficacy and ethical decision-making. Ethics and Behavior, 31(5), 301-320.