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Getting to the core of locus of control: is it an evaluation of the self or the environment?

journal contribution
posted on 2015-09-01, 00:00 authored by Russell Johnson, C C Rosen, C-H D Chang, S-H J Lin
Responding to criticisms surrounding the structural validity of the higher order core self-evaluations (CSE) construct, in the current study we examined the appropriateness of including locus of control as an indicator of CSE. Drawing from both theoretical and empirical evidence, we argue that locus of control is more heavily influenced by evaluations of the environment compared with the other CSE traits. Using data from 4 samples, we demonstrate that model fit for the higher order CSE construct is better when locus of control is excluded versus included as a trait indicator and that the shared variance between locus of control and CSE is nominal. This does not mean that locus of control is irrelevant for CSE theory though. We propose that evaluations of the environment moderate the relations that CSE has with its outcomes. To test this proposition, we collected data from 4 unique samples that included a mix of student and employee participants, self- and other-ratings, and cross-sectional and longitudinal data. Our results revealed that locus of control moderated relations of CSE with life and job satisfaction, and supervisor-rated job performance. CSE had stronger, positive relations with these outcomes when locus of control is internal versus external. These findings broaden CSE theory by demonstrating one way in which evaluations of the environment interface with evaluations of the self.

History

Journal

Journal of applied psychology

Volume

100

Issue

5

Pagination

1568 - 1578

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Location

Washington, D.C.

ISSN

0021-9010

eISSN

1939-1854

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, American Psychological Association

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