Who said “there is no ‘I’ in team”? The effects of observational learning content level on efficacy beliefs in groups

Adam Bruton, David Shearer, Stephen Mellalieu

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To investigate the effects of individual-level observational learning (OLINDV), team-level observational learning (OLTEAM), and multi-level observational learning (OLMULTI) on efficacy beliefs, task cohesion, and performance across three studies in sports teams.

Cross-sectional, experimental and single-case designs were employed across the three studies, respectively.

Study 1 used a cross-sectional design to explore the predictive relationship between OLINDV and OLTEAM use, and collective efficacy and task cohesion in 210 team sports athletes. Study 2 used a repeated-measures experimental design to compare effects of OLINDV versus OLTEAM interventions on collective and self-efficacy in two soccer teams. Study 3 used a single-case A-A-B-B design to assess the effectiveness of OLMULTI interventions on self-efficacy, collective efficacy, task cohesion and performance in an elite age-grade rugby union team across a competitive season.

In study 1, both OLINDV and OLTEAM use predicted collective efficacy, but only OLTEAM use predicted task dimensions of cohesion. In study 2, collective efficacy increased for both the OLINDV and OLTEAM interventions while self-efficacy increased only for the OLINDV intervention. In study 3, visual and effect size analyses indicated increased self-efficacy, collective efficacy task cohesion, and performance for the team during the off- and in-season intervention phases where the OLMULTI interventions were administered alongside usual sporting involvement (training sessions and/or competitive fixtures).

The novel findings of this investigation show that OLINDV, OLTEAM and OLMULTI interventions can enhance efficacy beliefs in practical contexts and warrant application in groups across domains.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101563
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date13 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • sports teams
  • Applied interventions
  • Multi-level observational learning
  • Efficacy beliefs
  • Multi-study


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