Locus of Control and Performance in a Management Simulation


  • Thomas L. Ruble


" Reviews of numerous studies [3, 4, 6] indicate that individuals who view their behavioral outcomes as being determined by their own efforts (internals) are more effective in their goal-directed behavior than individuals who view their outcomes as being determined by outside forces (externals). Thus, it seems reasonable to expect internals to outperform externals in a management simulation. However, a recent study [1] found no relationship between a person’s Locus of Control and his/ her team’s performance in a simulation. This recent study raises questions regarding the possible relationship between individual characteristics (e.g., Locus of Control) and performance in a simulation. Since the study used team performance as a criterion, the results are undoubtedly confounded by a variety of team-related variables. For example, in group situations individuals are not equally (nor independently) responsible for the team’s performance. Moreover, if each group had a range of scores on an individual difference variable (e. g., Locus of Control), the correlation of this variable with a single performance score should yield a coefficient approaching zero. Thus, the relationship between individual characteristics and team outcomes is tenuous at best. Since most management simulations involve team performance, it seems appropriate to investigate the possible effects of Locus of Control as a team composition factor. Assuming that a management simulation is a relatively unstructured task requiring skillful participative decisions, research on Locus of Control [2, 4, 5, 6, 9] suggests the hypothesis that teams of internals should perform better than teams of externals. Thus, the present study investigated the performance of teams formed on the basis of the members’ Locus of Control orientation. In addition, the study also examined the students’ perceptions of the learning value of the game and their interest in the game. "