Agency refers to the human capability to influence one's functioning and the course of events by one's actions. There are four functions through which human agency is exercised. One such function is intentionality. People form intentions that include action plans and strategies for realizing them. The second function involves temporal extension of agency through forethought. People set themselves goals and foresee likely outcomes of prospective actions to guide and motivate their efforts anticipatorily. The third agentic function is self-reactiveness. Agents are not only planners and forethinkers. They are also self-regulators. The fourth agentic function is self-reflectiveness. People are not only agents, they are self-examiners of their own functioning. Through functional self-awareness, they reflect on their personal efficacy, the soundness of their thoughts and actions, the meaning of their pursuits, and make corrective adjustments if necessary.
People exercise their influence through three forms of agency: individual, proxy and collective. In agency exercised individually, people bring their influence to bear on what they can control. In proxy agency, they influence others who have the resources, knowledge, and means to act on their behalf to secure the outcomes they desire. In the exercise of collective agency, people pool their knowledge, skills, and resources and act in concert to shape their future.