Organizational Behavior: Locus of Control and Individual Decisions


At some point in life, everyone is allowed to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. The choices we make will always affect us individually or as a group but most, importantly they will always affect our future and our lives at present. These decisions have to be triggered by something or someone or incidents that happen which lead us to make the type of decisions we choose to make. An individual’s belief as to why they are experiencing certain incidents in life or why they are not being successful at what they do is usually referred to as locus of control. Organizations are frequently being affected by the decisions one makes since individual decisions end up affecting the whole organization. In their research (Mallinger & Rizescu, 2009) state that, “the cultural match between an individual and an organization is determined by the degree to which the individual’s personal traits fit with the organizational culture.” This paper supports the fact that, locus of control can affect a person in making good individual decisions.

Locus of control

Locus of control is divided into two groups the internal locus of control, this consists of individuals who take full responsibility of their actions and believe they can control how their lives will turn out to be. The external locus of control consists of those who think that their lives or destinies are controlled by nature or luck they also believe that they cannot be able to control their future and it is controlled by fate only.

Some individuals may opt to plan everything they are about to do including their behavior this is known as the theory of planned behavior. “ A central factor in the theory of planned behavior is the individual’s intention to perform a given behavior” Ajzen(1991, p. 2)In an organization those who are categorized in the internal control of focus group may tend to plan how they choose to behave intentionally. Since they believe they can control the decisions that will affect their futures, they can also control the behaviors that will affect those decisions. An individual’s attitude towards a certain action may show whether he/she is intentionally planning their behaviors. A person’s beliefs will strongly influence the type of behavior they choose to tolerate because it may acceptable or not acceptable in their cultures. Some behaviors may have consequences and so the person will choose not to venture near them. This in turn will affect the person’s decision concerning the organization because he might have chosen to behave in a certain manner that is comfortable to him other than the one acceptable to the organization, which in turn may have either negative or positive effects.

Those that are externals will not take into consideration the fact that they can choose the way they want to behave because apparently their faith lies in fate. Hence, they will only follow what the organization wants and may not contribute much to the organization. This may not be as advantageous to the organization when it comes to competition, which is considered very healthy by many. This is because they do not believe that they can control their own decisions hence may not be very competitive as compared to the internals.

Individual decision making

In other cases, an individual may make his/her own decisions without relying on anyone or anything but based on what they want for themselves. These decisions are made based on an individual’s point of view on matters surrounding them. “ A behavioral belief is the subjective probability that the behavior will lead to a particular income”(Mathieson, 1991, p. 176). How they translate them in order for them to make sense really matters as it may also affect how they choose to behave. If they find something appears moral to them they will find no difficulty in behaving that way.

In individual decision, making a person assumes total authority over his actions and since everybody is different, it may have many effects in an organization. When planning one’s behavior it will be in ways that will affect him positively, although in an organization everybody has their own opinion and will want to make decisions that will be advantageous to them. Therefore, there will be a lot of disagreement because it is very seldom that one is likely to find two different people agreeing on the same point. A lot of time is wasted in arguing and moving the organization forward may prove to be a problem but on the other hand, this most often brews competition, which leads to the emerging of new ideas and may end up adding more value to the organization.

Decision-making is also affected by a person’s interest or cultural background. In an organization in cases where employment is involved one may choose to judge others based on what is acceptable or unacceptable to them. At times, this may not be fair as one might be judged harshly according to the behavior but not their talent.

Creativity is a major factor in an organization when it comes to individual decision-making, Mind Tools (Anon. , 2010). When one is planning the behaviors that he wants in organization, he must be careful on the type of behaviors he chooses not only based on his interests but on the interests on the organization as well. ”Decisions and actions of management and team colleagues are perceived and interpreted by team individuals as either enabling or constraining their own performance” (Lee-Kelley, 2006, p. 235). One should have the talent of being creative in a way that is simple and not complex in a manner that may be hard for others to cope with.

Planning of the behavior in an organization individually can be very difficult. Decision making is not an easy job especially when it comes to an organization because some of the decisions made may be difficult for the employees to follow and this in turn can make them feel cornered hence causing a rebellious streak.

Locus of control and individual decision making

Locus of control and decision making connect in various ways. Decision making as mentioned earlier usually depends on how an individual perceives the environment surrounding them, how they view the environment is based on beliefs that they harbor or on their cultural values. Smircich (1983, p. 1) states that, “the concept of culture has been linked increasingly with the study of organizations.” Internal locus of control on the other hand is when an individual believes they are able to have control of their own lives and hence make decisions regarding their lives. External locus of control is what contrasts with decision-making because here an individual does not consider making their own decisions and taking control of situations but rather believe everything is meant to be the way it is and therefore let fate rule their lives but it is totally the opposite of decision-making.

Those individuals that are externals cannot be able to plan their behaviors because they rely on fate but those that are internals can be able to plan their own behaviors in an organization since they are in control of the decisions they make. research done by Hampton (2005, p. 1) has proven that, “there is a strong possibility that a person with an internal locus of control will procrastinate less because feeling in control leads to feeling more confident.”

When one is making their own decisions about certain things and they emerge, prosperous they will automatically take responsibility and be very proud. Incase things go awry they will tend to put the blame on something else like the environment but will be very hesitant in taking the blame because it is much easier that way and nobody wants to look like a failure (Robins & Judge, 2009).

If an employer decides to assign a particular project to a group of diverse individuals at first working together may prove to be difficult but given time, they might accomplish pulling it off. If it were successful, they would all want to be recognized but if it happens that somebody did something wrong and the whole, project was a failure then nobody would want to take the fall and it would lead to a lot of finger pointing and in the end, the blame will be place on some external factor.


Therefore, in order for one to be able to make good individual decisions one has to be very careful as they will be assuming full responsibility for the results of the decision made. Making individual decisions still goes back to one’s locus of control because there have to factors that influence the choices that one makes. This also affects the organizational behavior of a place because people are different and it is all about their personalities and beliefs.


Ajzen, I. , 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, [Online]. 50, pp. 179-211. Web.

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Hampton, A, E. , 2005. Locus of control and procrastination. Web.

Judge, AT & Robbins, S. , 2009. Organizational behavior. 13th ed. United States of America. (USA): Pearson.

Lee-Kelley, L. , 2006. Locus of control and attitudes to working in virtual teams. International Journal of Project Management, [Online]. 24 (3), pp. 234-243. Web.

Mallinger, M. & Rizescu, I. , 2009. Personality traits and workplace culture. Graziado Business Report, [Online]. 4 (1), Web.

Mathieson, K. , 2010. Predicting user intentions: comparing the technology acceptance model with the theory of planned behavior. Web.

Smircich, L. , 1983. Concepts of culture and organizational analysis. Trusted Archives for Scholarship, [Online]. 28, pp. 339-358. Web.

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