Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

The Relationship between Work Locus of Control and Psychological Capital Amongst Middle Managers in the Recruitment Industry of South Africa

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

The Relationship between Work Locus of Control and Psychological Capital Amongst Middle Managers in the Recruitment Industry of South Africa

Article excerpt

Introduction

For the most part, personalities in the workplace play a significant role. Spector (1982, p. 482) notes that 'major theories in organisational psychology assume that the same basic processes account for behaviour across all individuals and that situational characteristics cause predictable behaviour across all individuals'. Youssef and Luthans (2009) note that traits and trait-like characteristics have been consistently shown to have a significant relationship to work-related outcomes. Moreover, psychological states of psychological capital (PsyCap), such as self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience, have been found to be a baseline for development and create a causal relationship with traits. This has implications for utilising traits as a predictor of positive work states, which can be further developed to improve organisational effectiveness. In addition, this study demonstrated the usefulness of work locus of control (WLOC) as a trait in predicting the positive psychological state of PsyCap amongst middle managers in the recruitment industry of South Africa. Hence, understanding of the trait versus the state approach in relation to enhancing positivity in the workplace can ensure that individuals' working lives are more fulfilling. Based on these statements the current study adopted a strength-based outlook in examining work.

It is also further noted that the South African recruitment industry is a unique industry, facing its own set of challenges. The recruitment process itself is directed by people who need to understand the cross-cultural issues and applicability of legislations such as Affirmative Action policies, the Labour Legislations Act (No. 66 of 1995), based on South Africa's view of human dignity, and the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998), amongst others. These influence the industry to adopt practices that present unique challenges, and the applicability and understanding of the trait versus the state approach in enhancing work performance within the recruitment industry would thus be relevant. The introduction article comprises a systematic discussion of a review of the literature on the proposed constructs and creates an understanding of the theoretical framework.

Literature review

In the review of literature the researcher provided reviews of themes emerging from previous research findings, as well as reviewing existing approaches towards how these constructs are conceptualised in literature. The literature review begins with the examination of the work locus of control construct.

Work locus of control

There is extensive support that personality differences or understanding individual differences has a significant impact in the work place (e.g. Chaplin, John & Goldberg, 1988; Wang, Bowling & Eschleman, 2010). Over several decades psychological research has focused on locus of control (LOC), which is a personality trait that represents the extent to which people believe that the rewards they receive in life can be controlled by their own personal actions (Lefcourt, 1984; Rotter, 1966). Van der Sluis, Van Praag and Van Witteloostuijn (2004) describe WLOC in relation to a personality construct. Researchers such as Spector, Sanchez, Siu, Salgado and Ma (2004) have defined WLOC as a perception that one can personally affect particular outcomes.

The WLOC is further divided into two sub-constructs, which oppose each other. Adas (1999) highlights the importance of the internal and external WLOC and refers to these constructs as the perceived source of control over behaviour. As summarised by Bilgin (2007):

people with a high internal locus of control (internals) believe that the promotions or penalties they get at work are due to their own actions and performance. On the other hand, people with a high external locus of control (externals) believe that those events at work are beyond their control and are the result of fate, chance, luck or decisions made by the authority. …

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