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Locus of control
Encyclopedia of industrial and organizational psychology
  • Oi Ling SIU, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Encyclopedia entry
Publication Date

Locus of control is a personality variable that reflects a person's general beliefs about whether he or she is in control or whether external forces are in control. Individuals who believe they are in control arc called internals, whereas people who believe that external forces (luck, fate, or powerful others) are in control arc called externals.

Studies of locus of control originate from the field of social psychology - specifically within the framework of social learning theory developed by J. B. Rotter (1954, 1966). The concept of locus of control addresses assumptions about one's responsibility for good or bad events. Internals attribute events in their lives to their own actions, motivations, or competencies, whereas externals attribute events to outside forces such as luck, chance, or powerful others.

Additional Information
ISBN of the source publication: 9781412924702
Citation Information
Siu, O.-L. (2007). Locus of control. In S. G. Rogelberg (Ed.), Encyclopedia of industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 1) (pp. 461-462). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE.