McShane, Steven Lattimore, Travaglione, A. & Olekalns, Mara. 2009 Organisational behavior on the pacific rim / Steven McShane, Tony Travaglione, Mara Olekalns McGraw-Hill, North Ryde, N.S.W.
McShane, Olekalns, and Travaglione (2010, p. 58) summarise some of the research of the ‘locus of control’ by stating that
People with a more internal locus of control have a more positive self-evaluation. They also tend to perform better in most employment situations, are more successful in their careers, earn more money and are better suited for leadership positions. Internals are also more satisfied with their jobs, cope better in stressful situations and are more motivated by performance-based reward systems.
This could be seen as a compelling reason for organizations to only hire people with an internal locus of control for management roles. Is it? Explain your answer.
• Students should first ensure they are able to explain the concept of ‘locus of control’ by doing the assigned reading (detailed in the Unit Information document) and should then analyze the concept to determine some of the work-related implications.
• Students should then research additional scholarly sources of information that will assist in critically evaluating the passage above, and then synthesize the inferences from that critical evaluation to be able to appraise the “compelling reason”.
• Students will then be ready to start answering the question.
• Students are to make use of a wide range of scholarly resources to support their discussion and recommendations. There is no mandated minimum number of resources that students must use, as they should be guided by the need to reinforce or support an argument rather than any perceived need to meet a quota of references.
The assignments will be marked against the following
• Grasp of concepts and issues
• Level of critical thought/insight
• Persuasiveness of argument
• Eloquence of expression
the major points you need to address in the Organisational Behaviour assignment on the ‘locus of control’ and its usefulness in the process of selecting managers.
• Make sure that you understand the concept of the ‘locus of control’ and have explained it briefly. Do not spend a significant portion of your assignment describing the concept; 200-300 words should be sufficient. Also, do not just quote a big slab of definitions and descriptions; explain it in your own words.
• Discuss, with appropriate supporting references, the issues that you will find in the statement you have been asked to comment on. Those issues might include, for example, the validity of the locus of control (can the theory be believed?), the reliability of the tool/s used to measure it (can you trust them to give an accurate picture of someone’s locus of control?), or the suitability of either an internal or external orientation for managerial positions.
• This discussion should be the bulk of your assignment at about 1000 words which, after the explanation of the concept mentioned in the first point above, leaves you another 200-300 words for an introduction and conclusion. You should cover more than one issue in the discussion.
• Rather than taking a firm position and only discussing issues that support that view, examine points that prove and points that disprove the statement. This will allow you to develop a stronger argument. You should work out this argument before you start to write your assignment, not during the writing process.
• And make sure you actually answer the question and that you do so clearly. Do not leave it to the marker to figure out whether you agree or disagree that there is a compelling reason to hire only people with an internal locus of control for managerial positions.
• your mark base on:
o How well you grasp the concepts (theory) and issues (application) involved.
o The level of critical thought or insight you display in your answer.
o How persuasive your argument is.
o How well you have written your answer.
Course Code and Name:
Internal locus of control and its usefulness in the process of selecting managers in an organization
The locus of control concept was first explored by Julian Rotter (1954) in the mid-1950s, which was based on the law of effort. The notion prescribes that human is intrinsically positivist; he pursues positive outcomes in a problem scenario by triggering suitable assertive action (Rotter, 1954). Julian noticed that when different people are given identical conditions for learning, they learn different things. He also noted that some people respond in a predictable manner to reinforcement, while others respond less so. Still, there are other people who respond unpredictably to similar instances of reinforcement.
Rotter sought to determine the differences in the way people perceive the level of influence that they have over their destinies. The full name that he gave this theoretical is Locos of Control of Reinforcement, his intention being to bridge the gap that existed between behavioral and cognitive psychology.
The generalized nature of the belief in the locus of control is evident in the fact that people with an external locus may feel in control of familiar situations, such as undertaking common tasks (Vermea, 2009). However, when faced with a new situation, their underlying locus of control becomes apparent because of the uncertainty over their level of control of their life events.
This brief paper examines whether the notion that managers with an internal locus of control make best-fit cases for today’s highly dynamic and competitive business world is opportune. It also focuses on the usefulness of an internal locus of control in the process of selecting managers within an organization. The paper looks into issues of how a person’s self-concept enables him to become an effective or ineffective manager. Attention is focused on the influence of the aspects of both social identity characteristics and personal identity characteristics during the process of selecting managers.
An individual’s personal identity is made up of all the characteristics that make us all unique from all people in social groups to which we maintain a connection (Hansemark, 2003). For example, an unusual achievement with the ability to distinguish an individual from other people becomes a dominant personal identity characteristic. Personal identity, on the other hand, refers to something involving an individual with no reference to any larger group (Hashimoto, 2004).
Human beings are social animals who have an inherent drive to maintain an association with others as well as to be recognized as an integral part of social communities (Wall, 1977). The drive is always reflected in one’s self-concept, because of the fact that every individual defines himself to a certain degree by his association with other people.
When managers are being selected in an organization, one of the factors that determine the outcome of choices is the locus of control (Linz, 2008). Recruiters tend to dwell much on the extent to which the candidate for the position of manager believes that they are in control over the events that take place in their lives (Creed, 2009).
Recruiters who use locus of control as a factor in determining the best manager use a 29-item questionnaire, which was developed by Lotter in 1966 (Chen & Wang, 2007, Lima, 2003). Since then, many theorists have critiqued and tested it, ending up with a refined concept and measurement tool. Although Lotter’s questionnaire is still widely used, people are increasingly turning to instruments that are more specific. This makes locus of control a crucial yardstick for determining various multidimensional aspects of candidates’ character, hence their fitness for managerial positions.
The validity of locus of control has been asserted through explanations offered in recent literature. For instance, in a study done by Kirkcaldya, Shephardb and Furnhamc (2002) shows that managers who possess an external locus of control are significantly associated with higher perceived levels of stress, mainly in terms of interpersonal relationships, poor physical and mental health and a lower job satisfaction compared to managers with an internal locus of control. In this study, evidence for interaction between work satisfaction outcomes with an internal locus of control was established, mainly in terms of organizational satisfaction and job satisfaction. Managers with an external locus of control showed a low level of work satisfaction, particularly when this characteristic was combined with Type A personality (Kirkcaldya, Shephardb & Furnhamc, 2002). These assertions are based on the presupposition that locus of control is one of the critical criteria for determining the suitability of job candidates for the position of manager. The main question is whether the existing instruments can be trusted by recruiters in determining the locus of control of managerial position candidates.
A meta-analysis of studies relating to the locus of control shows that studies on internal locus of control were significantly associated with high levels of satisfaction, involvement, job commitment, and performance among managers (Lee-Kelley, 2006. Moreover, this internal locus has been largely associated with superior physical health, lower levels of physical and emotional distress, less occupational role stress, as well as fewer levels of personal fluctuations in the state of mood (Kirkcaldy, 2002). Those managers who were hired after being judged to possess an external locus of control are the ones who showed positive attributes. The implication here is that the instruments that are currently being used to determine the individuals with an external locus of control have a reasonable degree of acceptability (Vermea, 2009).
The credibility of the instruments can ascertain on the basis of Salazar’s (2006) views to the effect that locus of control is directly related to job satisfaction among managers, although it is not a predictor. Indeed, a lot of research on job satisfaction has been done in the hospitality discipline, and quite a significant level of attention has been focused on the credibility of the concept of locus of control and the instruments used to measure it. On this basis, locus of control is considered a dispositional factor that appreciably influences the perception of managers in the hospitality sector (Halperin, 2007).
Both locus and empowerment practices have been tremendously theorized as having an enormous influence on perceptions of employees, though limited research exists in the form of the exploration of both constructs and their influence on employee satisfaction. For Salazar (2006), an internal locus of control is an excellent source of empowerment for managers who operate in today’s corporate environment.
The locus research done by Salazar (2006) indicated that people with an internal locus of control tendencies get more satisfaction and motivation in their jobs. Conversely, persons who are externally driven would feel less satisfied with the managerial tasks that they perform (Peterson, 1965). Organizational behaviorists and industrial psychologists have for a long time debate the effects of a person’s disposition on satisfaction on the job (Finch, 1991, Klein, 2000, Rahim, 2009). Salazar’s research findings merely added to the piling literature that proves the continued relevance of locus of control in recruitment, especially in positions of leadership.
An internal locus of control tends to be correlated to dispositional characteristics while an external locus of control tends to correspond to situational job characteristics (Gurin, 1978). Both characteristics have an influence on job satisfaction and level of performance but the locus of control seems to have an overriding effect on managers’ perceptions about their work (Altın, 2008).
According to Cummins (1989), both social support and locus of control are key determinants of job satisfaction. Ordinarily, managers need to be satisfied with their jobs in order to be able to be effective in their pursuit of the company’s programs (Owens, 1996). Internal locus of control is, therefore, a useful factor in determining the individual who is best suited for a certain job (Glantz, 1977).
When reinforced with social support, people who have an internal locus of control can achieve many things in their capacities as managers (Russell, 1980). Recruiters find it useful to determine the extent to which individuals are able to be responsive to social support (Legerski, 2006). The buffering effect of social support is applicable to other issues, such as job stress, but only when the type of support offered is content-specific, in the sense that the issues that are addressed are specific to work scenarios (Wijbenga, 2007).
Landau (1995) indicates that a relationship exists between locus of control and socioeconomic status on the one hand, and life satisfaction and depression on the other hand. However, Landau adds that an internal locus of control reflects much more in a manager’s predisposition and personality than their socioeconomic resources (Thornberry, 2009).
In summary, the instruments currently being used to determine an individual’s locus of control appear credible. Although many changes have taken place in terms of creating instruments for determining an individual’s internal locus of control, the debate on this issue. In the meantime, it appears that as long as there is a relationship between people with an internal locus of control and the propensity for managerial excellence, recruiters will continue to rely on the existing locus of control measurement instruments when making crucial recruitment decisions.
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