Locus of Control

Updated: Jun 23

Individual & Organizational Impact

What is locus of control?

The word locus in Latin means place - or space. Locus of control was a concept proposed by Psychologist Julian Rotter in 1966 based on Social learning theory. The Social learning theory suggests that an expectation is reinforced when the expected events or behavior actually occur in the future. And when it doesn't happen then expectation is weakened. Individuals develop strong belief systems based on the above life experiences on what can be in control with them, and what they cant control. Rotter postulated that individuals who believe that their own behavior or characteristics determine or cause events possess an internal locus of control. On the other hand, people who think that reinforcement following an action is not entirely contingent upon their own actions but instead perceived as luck, fate, chance, or other forces beyond their control have external locus of control.

Some identifiable traits of internal & external locus of Controls: The internal and external locus of control are a continuum from inside to outside creating a wide variety of behavioral traits among both, and influencing how these traits influence our beliefs, behaviors and directly influencing our lives, career and leadership .

Internal Locus of Control - Some advantages: These type of individuals exhibit following characteristics:

- High Self esteem

- Self efficacy

- Seek help when required

- Are hardworking and achievement seeking

- Take responsibility

- Suffer less burnout

- Intrinsically motivated

- less influenced by peer pressure

- Have control over habits and health

Some disadvantages :They are perceived as arrogant due to their self belief. They may lose sight of their pride and confidence and be prone to unpredictable errors due to single mindedness, this may lead them to being risk prone. They show tendency not to accept failures. Errors in self judgement ,strained personal relations, and strive for perfectionism are other drawbacks of internal locus of control. High internal locus of control needs an environment of opportunity, competence and self efficacy to survive.

External Locus of Control - some advantages :Such individuals ,

- function under structure

- Conform to rules

- High in Compliance in a structured environment

- High degree of team affiliation under support

- Suitable to work when compliance is required

- Suitable for individuals who can work under controls

- Not under stress usually since they superimpose events on the environment

- Accept events as they are and unfold and the great quality to Let go!

- Let go events and difficult situations which may be the need of the hour!


- Can be stressed when no directions are there

- Don't set goals