There are two basic types of control, internal and external. Internal control beliefs are those that relate to an individual’s belief that he or she can control the outcomes of events. An individual with internal locus of control believes that his or her actions can influence outcomes. In contrast, external control beliefs refer to the belief that events in one’s life are controlled by forces outside one’s self.
An individual with external locus of control believes that life events are determined by luck, chance, or powerful others. Previously, the majority of studies have found that employees with an internal locus of control have better job outcomes, such as higher motivation, higher job satisfaction, and higher performance.
However, there is evidence that employees with an external locus of control can be equally successful. For example, in a study of a sales force, MacDuffie and Whatley (1991) found that sales reps with an external locus of control performed as well as those with an internal locus of control. Teleworkers have a greater feeling of control over when they work, what they work on, and where they work, but some studies have found that this “perceived control” may not be as beneficial as previously thought.
A study of teleworkers by Bowers (1992) found that teleworkers with a low degree of “perceived control” have low job satisfaction and performance. Teleworkers who feel they have control over their work are generally happier and more productive. Teleworkers can also experience high levels of control in their work. Teleworkers have the autonomy to choose when to work, how to work, and where to work.
They can work from home or while on the road, and can choose to work in any location that is most comfortable. Teleworkers have a high level of control over their work schedule.
Goal orientation is the extent to which employees are oriented toward achieving goals. The theoretical underpinnings of goal orientation theory were originally derived from the expectancy-valence theory of motivation, which suggests that the greater the expectancy that a reward will be received, the more positive the valence with which that reward is perceived, and the greater a person’s motivation to achieve that reward. Goal orientation is a major component of the expectancy-valence theory of motivation. It refers to the extent to which individuals are orientated toward achieving goals.
The expectancy-valence theory of motivation postulates that the greater the expectancy that a reward will be received, the more positive the valence with which that reward is perceived, and the greater the person’s motivation to achieve that reward. This expectancy component of motivation is called valence, and suggests that the value of a reward is inversely proportional to its probability of occurrence.
Perceived control (or locus of control): A person’s perception that they are in control of their life, and that their actions can influence outcomes. Perceived control is the perception that one has control over external events, rather than internal events. The locus of control construct is one of the most well-researched topics in social science literature.
The expectancy component of motivation is called valence, and suggests that the value of a reward is inversely proportional to its probability of occurrence.