Which statement best describes the relationship between those who believe in external control externals and those who believe in internal control internals )?


1.Which of the following is one of the advantages of ethical decision-making as a long-term

business strategy?

a.Ethical behavior will increase short-term profits.

b.Ethical behavior will provide positive press opportunities.

c.Ethical behavior can ensure positive employee relationships.

d.Ethical behavior can provide significant competitive advantage.

Answer: D

2. Which of the following is defined as standards of what a group or individual feels is right or

wrong, or good or evil?





Answer: A

3.Which of the following best describes the criteria by which we judge manners and rules of


a. Ethical norms

b.Moral norms

c.Nonmoral standards

d.Standard values

Answer: C

4.Which of the following can be described as an example of a moral standard?

a.Do not be late for a meeting.

b.Do not harm others.

c.Do not use a work computer for personal use.

d.Do not discuss pay issues with others.

Answer: B

5. Which of the following best describes the basis for moral standards?

a.Moral standards are based on authority.

b.Moral standards deal with serious issues.

c.Moral standards are based on personal experiences.

d.Moral standards are based on personal beliefs.

Answer: B

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Locus of control refers to the extent to which people feel that they have control over the events that influence their lives.

When you are dealing with a challenge in your life, do you feel that you have control over the outcome? Or do you believe that you are simply at the hands of outside forces?

If you believe that you have control over what happens, then you have what psychologists refer to as an internal locus of control. If you believe that you have no control over what happens and that external variables are to blame, then you have what is known as an external locus of control.

Your locus of control can influence not only how you respond to the events that happen in your life, but also your motivation to take action.

If you believe that you hold the keys to your fate, you are more likely to take action to change your situation when needed. If on the other hand, you believe that the outcome is out of your hands, you may be less likely to work toward change.

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Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to stop focusing on things you can't control. Click below to listen now.

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What Is Locus of Control?

"A locus of control orientation is a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent on what we do (internal control orientation) or on events outside our personal control (external control orientation)," explained psychologist Philip Zimbardo in his book Psychology and Life.

In 1954, psychologist Julian Rotter suggested that our behavior was controlled by rewards and punishments. The consequences of our actions helped determine our beliefs about the likely results of future behaviors.

Our anticipation of certain results influences our behaviors and attitudes. In other words, an individual is more likely to pursue a goal if they have been rewarded for similar efforts in the past and believe that they can influence their chances of future success.

In 1966, Rotter published a scale designed to measure and assess external and internal locus of control. The scale utilizes a forced choice between two alternatives, requiring respondents to choose just one of two possibilities for each item.

While the scale has been widely used, it has also been the subject of considerable criticism from those who believe that locus of control cannot be fully understood or measured by such a simplistic scale.

Internal vs. External Locus of Control

It is important to note that locus of control is a continuum. No one has a 100% external or internal locus of control. Instead, most people lie somewhere on the continuum between the two extremes.

These are characteristics of people with a dominant internal or external locus of control.

Internal Locus of Control

  • Are more likely to take responsibility for their actions

  • Tend to be less influenced by the opinions of other people

  • Often do better at tasks when they are allowed to work at their own pace

  • Usually, have a strong sense of self-efficacy

  • Tend to work hard to achieve the things they want

  • Feel confident in the face of challenges

  • Tend to be physically healthier

  • Report being happier and more independent

  • Often achieve greater success in the workplace

External Locus of Control

  • Blame outside forces for their circumstances

  • Often credit luck or chance for any successes

  • Don't believe that they can change their situation through their own efforts

  • Frequently feel hopeless or powerless in the face of difficult situations

  • Are more prone to experiencing learned helplessness

What Role Does Your Locus of Control Play in Your Life?

Internal locus of control is often used synonymously with "self-determination" and "personal agency." Some research suggests that men tend to have a higher internal locus of control than women while others suggest the opposite: that women have greater internal locus of control in comparison. Other research reports a shift towards more internal locus of control as people grow older.

Experts have found that, in general, people with an internal locus of control tend to be better off. However, it is also important to remember that internal locus of control does not always equal "good" and external locus of control does not always equal "bad." 

In some contexts, having an external locus of control can be a good thing—particularly when a situation poses a threat to self-esteem or is genuinely outside of a person's control.

For example, a person who loses a sports game may feel depressed or anxious if they have a strong internal locus of control. If this person thinks, "I'm bad at sports and I don't try hard enough," they might allow the loss to affect their self-image and feel stressed in future games.

However, if this person takes an external focus during such situations ("We were unlucky to get matched with such a strong team," or "The sun was in my eyes!"), they will probably feel more relaxed and less stressed.

Do You Have an External or Internal Locus of Control?

Where does your locus of control fall on the continuum? Read through the statements below and select the set that best describes your outlook on life.

Outlook 1

  • I often feel that I have little control over my life and what happens to me.
  • People rarely get what they deserve.
  • It isn't worth setting goals or making plans because too many things can happen that are outside of my control.
  • Life is a game of chance.
  • Individuals have little influence over the events of the world.

If the statements above best reflect your view on life, then you probably tend to have an external locus of control.

Outlook 2

  • If you work hard and commit yourself to a goal, you can achieve anything.
  • There is no such thing as fate or destiny.
  • If you study hard and are well-prepared, you can do well on exams.
  •  Luck has little to do with success; it's mostly a matter of dedication and effort.
  • In the long run, people tend to get what they deserve in life.

If the statements above best reflect your outlook on life, then you most likely have an internal locus of control.

A Word From Verywell

Your locus of control can have a major impact on your life, from how you cope with stress to your motivation to take charge of your life.

In many cases, having an internal locus of control can be a good thing. It means that you believe that your own actions have an impact.

If you tend to have more of an external locus of control, you might find it helpful to start actively trying to change how you view situations and events.

Rather than viewing yourself as simply a passive bystander who is caught up in the flow of life, think about actions you can take that will have an impact on the outcome.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Carton JS, Ries M, Nowicki S Jr. Parental antecedents of locus of control of reinforcement: A qualitative review. Front Psychol. 2021;12:565883. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.565883

  2. Rotter JB. General principles for a social learning framework of personality study. In: J. B. Rotter, ed., Social Learning and Clinical Psychology. Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1954: 82-104. doi:10.1037/10788-004

  3. Rotter JB. Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychol Monogr. 1966;80(1):1-28. doi:10.1037/h0092976

  4. Kourmousi N, Xythali V, Koutras V. Reliability and validity of the Multidimensional Locus of Control IPC Scale in a sample of 3668 Greek educators. Social Sciences. 2015;4(4):1067-1078. doi:10.3390/socsci4041067

  5. Lopez SJ (ed). The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology. New York: John Wiley & Sons; 2011.

  6. Awaworyi Churchill S, Munyanyi ME, Prakash K, Smyth R. Locus of control and the gender gap in mental health. J Econ Behav Organ. 2020;178:740-58. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2020.08.013

  7. McPherson A, Martin CR. Are there gender differences in locus of control specific to alcohol dependence? J Clin Nurs. 2017;26(1-2):258-265. doi:10.1111/jocn.13391

  8. Hovenkamp-Hermelink JHM, Jeronimus BF, van der Veen DC, et al. Differential associations of locus of control with anxiety, depression and life-events: A five-wave, nine-year study to test stability and change. J Affect Disord. 2019;253:26-34. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.005

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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