Possessing an internal or external locus of control can influence students’ motivation levels and learning performance, and has therefore been a topic of interest in the domain of education.27 Specifically, students with internal loci of control are more likely to stay motivated in terms of academic achievement and learning progress. In 2011, a group of researchers set out to assess the relationship between locus of control and learning outcomes.
450 students studying at the School of Tourism and Hotel Management in Turkey were provided with a questionnaire designed to assess learning attitudes, based on Rotter’s I-E scale.27 Students’ actual performance was assessed, and the researchers found that those with an internal locus of control attained greater academic achievement and were more proactive during the learning process. Additionally, there was a gender distinction: females were more likely to hold external loci of control and males were more likely to hold internal loci of control.
Overall, the findings supported the theory that it is beneficial for students to hold an internal locus of control.27 If students believe they have control over their academic achievements, they will be more likely to engage with their studies, and this cycle will persist.
Virtual work environments
Business and project management researcher Liz Lee-Kelley recognized that the rapid advances in information and communication technologies could influence social connections, including working relationships.28 She wanted to understand the impact of geographic and temporal distance on working toward a common project goal. Specifically, she wanted to know how locus of control would influence individual control expectancies on employees’ attitudes toward distributed work.
When scheduled project outcomes are delayed, which can be the case with time differences and virtual working environments, other activities must be reprioritized.28 This shuffling can lead to confusion, workflow overlap, and resource difficulties. Together, these potential obstacles are known as “role conflict”; higher role conflict is associated with decreased job satisfaction.
Lee-Kelley conducted her research on IT professionals in the UK and discovered an important and surprising relationship between workers’ locus of control and job satisfaction: those with an internal locus of control appeared to be directly affected by role conflict, while those with an external locus of control attributed role conflict to issues caused by others.
Lee-Kelley suggests that this difference may be due to such workers’ willingness to take responsibility for their surroundings and group actions, such as poor project performance.28 Although there may be other explanations for this relationship, the findings emphasize the need for increased understanding of workers’ locus of control orientations and their implications for team motivation and achievement.