Posts Tagged locus of control
What is your decision-making style?
Do you actually have one…or many?
In much of the literature on decision making approaches, there is a tendency to allocate people to one of a number of different categories or styles.
For example, you might be classified as (Scott & Bruce, 1995):
- Rational – You tend to make decisions in a logical and systematic way
- Avoidant – You tend to avoid making important decisions until the pressure is on
- Dependent – You tend to make important decisions by consulting other people
- Intuitive – You tend to make decisions by relying on your instinct
- Spontaneous – You tend to make impulsive decisions
This seems to me to be overly simplistic and that is also the conclusion of a paper by a group of Israeli psychologists.
In a recent post (What might have been), I discussed a way of looking back to the past called counterfactual thinking. In this post, I would like to start exploring the ways in which we look forward into the future and some of the pitfalls involved in that activity.
Being able to speculate about and imagine the future is an essential part of decision making and it should be an area of interest for anyone involved in supporting other people to make decisions.
However, the way we go about that speculation may have a profound impact on our ability to bring that future into existence.
What do you think would motivate people more — getting them to focus on what they are about to do or asking them to think about whether they will do it or not?
When a group of students were given one or the other of these contemplative tasks before facing an anagrams exercise, the ones who had asked themselves whether they would do it completed more anagrams than the group who were just thinking about doing it.
Impact of a recession on beliefs
How will the recession affect the world-view beliefs of those young people living through it?
A discussion paper from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany, analyses certain beliefs held by United States citizens and tries to link these beliefs with an individual’s exposure to recessions. They found that people who experienced a recession during a key impressionable age range (18-25 years old) were more likely to believe that success in life was down to luck rather than hard work. They also found that this belief tended to persist throughout the person’s life.
This belief that success in life is beyond your control can lead someone to make less effort, which then makes the belief a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Should we be working with the students currently at university in order to encourage a belief in the benefits of effort and hard work?
- Do you think it would be useful to let students know about this research directly?
- What do you attribute success to?
Having recently run a workshop on differences in cultural communication, my eye was caught by a fascinating study just published in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology. The authors were looking into the explanations people from different countries gave for their career changes. The reasons given were divided into internal factors (e.g. desire for a change, wanting to develop) and external factors (e.g. organisational restructuring, luck). So far, so standard attribution theory.
The interesting bit was when they looked at country differences. The career changers from the USA exclusively gave internal reasons for change, whereas those in China gave mostly external reasons. Career changers in Europe tended to offer a mixture.
You may have noticed the theme of compromise that I have been developing over the latest few posts. Given the economic conditions, it is very likely that people will be forced to make more compromises in their careers. So it seems to make sense to explore the notion of compromise and examine how to do it well.
I’ve decided to continue this theme by introducing another classic theory. This one is primarily a matching theory, but with a bit more to it.
I have included a brief summary of the Theory of Work Adjustment (TWA) in the resources section and you might want to read that first if you are unfamiliar with it. Here I will concentrate on why I think it is interesting.