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  1. Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory


    In the context of Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory, what is meant by human agency? Describe the core features of human agency.    


Subject Sociology Pages 4 Style APA


Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory Analysis

Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) was first established as the Social Learning Theory (SLT) by Albert Bandura in the 1960s (Mulhollem, 2009). Subsequently the framework was advanced into the SCT suggesting that the process of learning will transpire within a social context with a reciprocal and dynamic interaction of the environment, person, and behavior. The SCT is founded on a unique feature that emphasizes on the social influence and an emphasis on the internal and external means of reinforcement (Mulhollem, 2009). The focus of this paper is to examine Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and to derive what is meant by human agency. Additionally, the paper also provides a description of the core elements of human agency.

Human Agency as Presented by SCT

                According to Bandura’s SCT, human agency is an active process and not a thing. Evidently, the theorist believed that people are proactive, self-organized, and self-regulating and they have the power to influence their actions with an aim of generating the desired consequences (Mulhollem, 2009).  Human agency is defined by several core aspects such as the self-efficacy, proxy agent, and collective efficacy (Feist, 2017). In most personal and corporate societal spheres within the society, people do not have a direct and indirect control over the institutional practices and conditions. Evidently, people do not have the time to master every realm of life and hence expertise and outside resources are sought. This factor forms a basis of the first human agency element referred to as the personal mode (Mulhollem, 2009).

The proxy is the second element. Proxy control provides an insight into the action people utilize to manipulate a direct form of influence over the other person. In most cases, people do not feel like they have the capability, as others, to achieve a high element of success. Therefore, one relies on the use of personal control with an aim of manipulating accomplishment. The proxy control is driven by the fact that one may believe in someone else to achieve the task better or lack a sense of personal choice or commitment to work towards bettering themselves to achieve a specific goal (Mulhollem, 2009).

                The third element is founded on the notion that most people within the society do not live in isolation. Most of the actions achieved by an individual are done through social inter-reliant efforts. The accomplishments are attained by a group of persons that would not be possible if someone was working individually. Notably, Bandura supports this argument by revealing that group achievements are not only an outcome of shared knowledge, skills and intentions of the participants, but also the coordinated and interactive synergistic dynamics of their associated transactions (Mulhollem, 2009). The theorist observed that collective efficacy is associated with strength as it increases the potential that the group members will meet their intended goals through increased motivation and power attached to the individual member’s collective responsibility.

Core Elements of Human Agency

Feist (2017) shows that the core elements of human agency are forethought, intentionality, self-reflectiveness and self-reactiveness. Intentionality refers to the actions carried out by an individual intentionally suggesting that they were planned before being executed. To set goals, people will possess forethought as a means of anticipating the likely outcomes of their actions and to identify the behaviors that generates the intended outcomes. Other than contemplating their future behaviors, people will also be self-reactive to motivate and regulate their actions. Also, people will engage in self-reflectiveness as they examine their primary functioning, think about and evaluate their values and motivations in achieving life goals (Feist, 2017).


                Conclusively, the social cognitive theory stresses on the fact that social influence and internal and external factors ensures a positive reinforcement for a better outcome. Human agency is considered as an active process providing a person with the ability to influence their actions to achieve an intended outcome. The human agency is associated with three primary aspects such as the personal mode, moral agency, and the proxy agent. Additionally, human agency has core elements of human agency are forethought, intentionality, self-reflectiveness and self-reactiveness



Feist, J. (2017). Theories of Personality. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781259951985/

Mulhollem, R. (2009). A General Overview of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory. IImcounseling. Retrieved from https://llmcounseling.com/general-overview-banduras-social-cognitive-theory/



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