Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive theory is highly important in understanding the processes and elements that influence human learning. One perspective of Bandura’s theory is the innate capacity of human beings to be agents of change and human processes. With this in mind, Bandura presented some human internal and external factors that influence the process of being an agent of change. Social Cognitive theory, under the agentic perspective, relies on human intentions as a means to establish one’s connection to social structures based on three modes of agency: direct personal agency, proxy agency, and collective agency.
These three modes of agency acknowledge the role of interdependence on how human beings will be able to manage human learning and processes that constitute life. Human agency necessitates the willingness and intentions of human beings to accomplish things through highly motivated thinking and actions. The results of an individuals’ thinking and actions under the perspective of human agency will assist individuals to undergo self-development and reconstruction in order for them to adapt to various life concerns.
According to Bandura, human agency constitutes various core features: intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness. Intentionality requires the willingness of human beings to do something in order to achieve desired results. Social functions give birth to desirable, mutual, and advantageous relationships if individuals are willing enough to become part of it. Collaborative activities, for instance, work out well if individuals take into account the desirable outcomes that might come out of it.
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Forethought complements intentionality, as it is concerned with looking and planning ahead. Bandura suggested that if forethoughts are motivating and desirable enough for individuals, then it will wield the intention of doing things that will eventually lead to its realization. For instance, an individual works with another for a cause but perceives that the relationship will be hostile and unproductive. His non-motivating view will not contribute to intentionality to invest time and effort to nurture the relationship.
To continue, self-reactiveness talks about being able to motivate, but at the same time regulate oneself in terms of thinking and taking action. On the other hand, self-reflectiveness is established on the concept of introspection where one is able to evaluate actions and behaviors and determine how to fortify or change them. Aside from the core features of human agency, the three modes of agency influence the process of social cognition. Direct personal agency looks into the unswerving involvement of the individual to arrive at desired results.
Intentionality, forethought, and self-reactiveness come into play to motivate individuals to influence the social structure. However, when individuals are unable to control it, they rely on proxy agency. The proxy agency constitutes other individuals or means to achieve the desired result, as the individual’s inability to influence the birth of the outcome is unperceived. Moreover, when direct personal agency and proxy agency do not seem to accomplish desired results within social structures, the collective agency gives off its value.
The collective agency looks into the combined efforts to achieve goals and objectives. The collective agency relies on group functioning to harbor desired results. The nature of social structures is highly dependent on how individuals are able to perceive and establish it. At some points, social structures are reliant on the intentions, perceptions, and motivations of individuals to commit to actions and behaviors that will influence how these social structures will be shaped.
Aside from the internal influences that might bear weight on the nature of social structures, modes of agencies will also affect how the process will be accomplished. Establishing social structures, under the three modes of agency, will depend on the direct influence of an individual, the dominance of other individuals and means to accomplish results, and the efficiency of group functioning to realize social structural goals and objectives.
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