Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa Steelman

Second Advisor

Alice Che

Third Advisor

Patrick Converse

Fourth Advisor

Heidi Edwards


Research suggests that self-confidence is related to success, educational achievement, negotiation, and personal well-being, among other things. It is commonly asserted that employees need to have some degree of self-confidence in order to succeed in the workplace. However, the practical and scientific literatures are lacking in providing a consistent definition and operationalization of the construct. The purpose of this research is to not only summarize the current state of literature on self-confidence, but to use that information to provide a coherent and theoretically-derived definition of self-confidence, so that it can be measured and studied in organizational contexts. This study explores Internal Self-Confidence as a form of self-trust through the development of the Integrated Model of Self-Confidence, which states that Internal Self-Confidence, as an overarching latent construct, is mainly influenced by three factors: self-efficacy, self-esteem, and self-compassion. Together, these constructs determine how trustworthy an individual considers themselves to be, and how much they trust themselves. While one’s attitude towards themselves is undoubtedly important, subtle signals and behaviors (i.e., External Self-Confidence) are thought to be indicative of an individual’s level of self-confidence—and therefore inform others’ perceptions of their competence. According to this research, the most discernible and recognizable confidence cues include affectivity/optimism; taking action, risks, and initiative; nonverbal communication; verbal communication; independence in thought and action, and trust in one’s own decisions and judgment. The Integrated Model of Self-Confidence is used to develop and validate both the Internal and External Self-Confidence Scales (ISCS & ESCS) through a series of six studies. Study 1 was a qualitative assessment of how people define and recognize signs of self-confidence. This information was used to inform the development of the items used in Study 2—the exploration of initial items with the purpose of understanding which factors comprise the measure of self-confidence, and which are often mistaken for the construct. The results of this study were used to develop both the Internal Self-Confidence Scale (assessed in Study 3), as well as the External Self-Confidence Scale (assessed in Study 4), using Exploratory Factor Analysis. Finally, Study 5 serves as both a Confirmatory Factor Analysis and a construct validation of both measures, and Study 6 serves as a criterion, or outcome, validation of both measures for the career success of employees. Overall, both the Internal Self-Confidence Scale (ISCS) and External Self-Confidence Scale (ESCS), were found to be highly reliable (with α ranging .902-.942) and valid measures, which can feasibly be used in workplace or organizational settings.