Leadership – Internal Locus of Control

Environmental changes can be either attributed to the success or failure of things that one has control over or can be attributed to forces outside direct influence. Essentially it means that a persons’ orientation choice has a bearing on long-term success. This is known as locus of control. Those with high Self Confidence tend to have high Internal Control, they go hand in hand.

In 1966 Julian Rotter conducted a study on how people’s behaviours and attitudes affect the outcomes within their lives. “Locus of control describes the degree to which individuals interpret that outcomes result from their own behaviours, or from forces that are external to themselves, producing a continuum (above) with external control at one end and internal control at the other” (Mindtools.com, 2014).

Leaders with a strong Locus of Control orientation believe they can effectively guide situations and influence outcomes by their actions, whereas people with a low orientation believe events are decided by chance or fate and their actions have little or no effect. Rotter’s research established a correlation between ‘Internal Control’ and effectiveness, characterised with respect to leadership, by the likelihood to take action in order to influence the outcome of future events. In short, future orientated ecommerce planners are visionaries.

There are numerous examples of such occurrences to validate Rotter’s study, such as when Amazon was created. When Steve Bezos, an ex-stockbroker, brought the book world online his internal control was not fazed by the might of Barnes and Noble, he didn’t allow the fact that they were not selling online stand in the way of his vision. Similarly, Jobs and Wozniak demonstrated this despite the negative feedback from Atari and Hewlett Packard, resulting in the birth of Apple.

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