Discussion 1: Social-Cognitive Theory

Previous theoretical models of human behavior focused either on internal factors like values, needs, beliefs, and attitudes or on external factors such as incentives, reinforcers, rewards, and punishments. Social-cognitive theory (SCT) posits that human behavior is a product of “internal personal states [and] . . . external environmental conditions” (Pinder, 2008, p. 457). According to SCT, despite a person’s mental and physical capabilities and best intentions and efforts, environmental conditions may prevent him or her from reaching a goal or achieving a desired outcome.

In light of the emergence of social cognitive models, organizational psychology professionals who rely on behaviorist-based solutions may discover they are at a distinct disadvantage in 21st-century organizational settings. With an increasingly diverse workforce, a sound understanding of the complexities of human behavior is required. Human actions cannot be reduced to “simple [and] mechanistic” notions associated with behaviorism (Pinder, 2008, p. 459). Instead, as Bandura (1991) points out, “people possess self-reflective and self-reactive capabilities” which allow them to mediate, regulate, and ultimately benefit from opportunities the environment offers (in Pinder, 2008, p. 455).

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 3 a brief summary of the five capabilities posited by social-cognitive theory (SCT). Then explain how you might use SCT to help organizations develop strategies for the professional development of its employees. Provide two examples to illustrate your point. Support your response with references to the Learning Resources and current literature.