The purpose of this study was to examine the production and regaining of collective efficacy within an elite sport team during a season. The fieldwork was possible because the author was an assistant coach on a women’s handball team participating in the World Championships and the Olympics. Acting as a participant observer during 1 year, the author observed efficacy-building processes from within the team. The fieldwork was supplemented by 17 qualitative interviews after the season. The study showed that production of collective efficacy was an interpersonal process, brought about by perceptions of previous performances, interpretations of team history, preparations for the upcoming contest, common rituals, and persuasive actions. When the team was confronted with failures, however, team-efficacy beliefs were vulnerable and needed constant reinforcement.
The author is with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, 0806 Oslo, Norway.