Locus of Control: Conceptualization, Application and Predictive Ability - A Literature Review

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Lakshmi Murthy, Dr Poornima Tapas


Julian Rotter conceptualized the concept of Locus of Control as well as its scale based on previous research in areas of behavioural control, reinforcements and its impact on outcomes. The perception of reward or reinforcement or gratification is a result of an individual’s behaviour or attribute. It can also be contingent upon external factors or non-behaviour factors (Rotter, 1966).

Locus of control (LOC) as a personality trait measure  is applied widely to study various aspects like an achievement, performance, academic excellence, job satisfaction, job search, learning and development etc. There are limited studies with women as a subject of research, especially in the case of career women and their LOC. Most of these studies have conflicting, confusing findings, and some are inconclusive too.

The purpose of this paper is to construct an objective summary of the research evidence (Wallston & Wallston, 1978) available on the concept of locus of control and its application at the workplace concerning women, their career management and growth.  The reason for developing such body of knowledge is to utilize the academic research in enabling women to scale the career heights up to the corporate board levels especially in India. In the context of the growing  Indian economy and opportunities available to women, understanding the drivers to growth will be useful. The current literature on the subject is dominated with the western world point of view.

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