More than just managerial self-efficacy: conceptualizing and predicting top managers' means efficacy about the organization under extreme events

Fengxiu Zhang, Eric W. Welch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Scopus citations


    Purpose: This study extends the concept of managerial efficacy to include managerial means efficacy (MME) attributed to the utility and quality of means external to managers for performing a task. Focusing on its antecedents, the authors theorize and empirically test MME sourced from the organization (MMEO) and situate the examination under extreme events. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a 2016 national survey of 892 top managers in 273 US largest transit agencies covering 82% of the entire population. Participants report their confidence for their organization to perform effectively under various extreme events. The survey data are matched with data from various institutional data sources to capture organizational characteristics, operations and experience with extreme events. Findings: Findings suggest that organizational-level factors influence MMEO. Specifically, organizational slack and relationship management of key jurisdictional stakeholders positively predict MMEO, whereas political fragmentation is negatively associated with MMEO. Practical implications: Organizations can bolster MMEO, hence, managerial efficacy through developing organizational slack and engaging in relationships building with jurisdictional stakeholders. Those initiatives have particular importance for those with boundary-spanning service areas. Originality/value: The study advances understanding of managerial efficacy by directing attention to means external to managers' self. It also brings clarity to the notion of “confident managers” or “managerial confidence” broadly applied in previous studies. Findings provide insights about capacity-building interventions to build managerial efficacy through improving external means, circumventing the need to alter self-efficacy that is typically stable and resistant to change.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)29-46
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 18 2022


    • External sources of efficacy beliefs
    • Extreme events
    • Managerial efficacy
    • Managerial means efficacy
    • Means efficacy of organization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Applied Psychology
    • Management Science and Operations Research
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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