A key plank in Bandura's socio-cognitive model of human behaviour, self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her own ability to effect change.
Efficacy beliefs are the foundation of human agency. Unless people believe they can produce desired results and forestall detrimental ones by their actions, they have little incentive to act or to persevere in the face of difficulties. Whatever other factors may operate as guides and motivators, they are rooted in the core belief that one has the power to produce effect by one's actions.
If our notions of self-efficacy are so important, how are they acquired? Bandura claims that it is essential for people to experience success:
The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences.
Watch: Social Cognitive theory