Locus control is a crucial variable when explaining human behavior in an organization. The measurement of the concept, the nature and the general evidence for the validity of the concept are discussed in this article.
People have presented several hypotheses that involved the locus of control in the context of an organization. Evidence from applied studies has been reviewed as well. The evidence suggested that that the locus of control has a relationship with the effort, motivation, satisfaction, performance, compliance, the perception of the job, supervisory style and the compliance with authority. Locus of control may also moderate the relationship between motivation and incentives.
Organizational Behavior as a Function of the Locus of Control
Individual personality has received little attention in the research of job satisfaction and motivation. The major theories in organizational psychology believe that the same process accounts for behavior across different individuals and that characteristics of situations cause behavior that is predictable across different people.
The theory of locus of control came from research and observation in clinical psychology. Both the theory and the measurement have been refined to the extent that the concept is heuristically important. Numerous studies of the locus of control have been related to motivational, attitudinal and behavioral variables in the setting of organizations.
The Locus of Control Concept
People attribute the control of events or the cause of events either to the external environment or themselves. People who ascribe the control of events to themselves possess an internal locus of control. Such peoples are referred to as internals. On the other hand, individuals who attribute the control of events to outside causes possess an external locus of control. Such people are known as externals.
Measuring Locus of Control
The Rotter’s internal-external scale is the most widely used instrument to measure the locus of control. The instrument consists of twenty-three locus of control. It also consists of six filler items in a format that is forced-choice. You add up the total number of responses that are externally oriented for each pair to get the scores.
The Impact of Locus of Control
A locus of control is a belief about whether the results or outcomes of our actions are related to what we do or things that other people do. If you possess an external locus of control then you believe that fate, deities, karma, randomness or other external forces determine your success and what is going to happen in your life. If your locus of control is internal then you believe that your fate is dependent on your actions. In short, people who possess an internal locus of control are go-getters. This orientation has numerous benefits.
Internal Locus of Control
People with an internal locus of control perform well in school, are less vulnerable to depression; they deal better with stress, are more satisfied with their jobs and actively find solutions to their problems. People with an internal locus of control are more determined towards achieving their goals. This doesn’t mean that an internal locus of control is only associated with a nice time. When it is taken to the extreme, it can become problematic.
Extreme internal locus of control can be psychologically unstable and unhealthy. It is always important to match the internal locus of control with self-efficacy, competence and opportunity. This will make it possible for you to experience a sense of personal responsibility and control. People who are overly internal but lack competence, opportunity and efficacy can become anxious, neurotic and depressed. In short, internals should have a realistic sense of influence in order to be successful.
The main concern comes in when people start questioning as to whether the locus of control orientation in people is natural or nurtured. The orientation of locus of control is not as stable as other traits like extroversion or introversion and it can change based on your personal experiences. However, the good news is that it is possible for you to learn that you have agency in your life.
The Impact on Employee Performance
External or internal locus of control plays a very important role for people to sustain usefulness and learning performance. The experiences and knowledge gained by an individual through organizational learning are crucial in increasing the performance of that individual. It is, therefore, necessary for businesses to fulfill learning in an arrangement and use it to improve employee performance.
There is very little in an individual’s life that your locus of control does not impact. According to numerous studies, internal locus of control is associated with success in sports, school, business and psychological and physical health. An internal locus of control is associated with achievement and success because of the tendency to attribute both your successes and failures to your actions. It gives employees a reason to study their actions and find out where they went wrong and take the necessary actions to improve. Locus of control has effects on a lot of areas of life and this makes it a subject of discussion and debate outside the realms of psychology.
What Effects does the Locus of Control have on your Health?
Locus of control affects our health either directly or indirectly. The feeling of control over what we do can help us to reduce stress. It also affects our physical health. People with an internal locus of control relate their actions to their health. This makes them more likely to get involved in activities that are likely to keep them healthy such as doing exercises, eating a balanced diet and making appointments with their doctor on regular occasions.
However, according to research, it is not just the locus of control in individuals that determines how well people take care of themselves. You can have a locus of control that is very strong but if you don’t value your health, you will not be able to take good care of your health.