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Individual Differences

It is clear that there are individual differences in job attraction and choice (Bipp & Demerouti, 2014). To a large extent this is the central concern of vocational psychology, though this is mainly concerned with person-job rather than person-organization fit. The central question is: which individual difference factors are relevant to person-job attraction? The following seem particularly relevant.

Perceived control

Those who believe they are in control of their own actions, and the results of those actions tend to be more proactive, seek more control and exert more effort to succeed. Perceived control describes whether they are in control of they own actions and outcomes (internal locus of control) or outside forces control their outcomes and action (external locus of control). It assumes that individuals develop general expectations regarding their ability to control their lives.

People who believe that the events that occur in their lives are the result of their own behaviour and/or ability, personality and effort are said to have the expectation of internal control, whereas those who believe events in their lives to be a function of luck, chance, fate (i.e., God(s), powerful others or powers beyond their control), comprehension or manipulation are said to have an expectation of external control. Managers with internal locus of control tend to see threatening events at work as less stressful and cope with it better than managers with external locus of control.

Locus of control is related to desire for control, conceived as a trait reflecting the extent to which individuals are generally motivated to control events in their lives. People with a high desire for control tend to have internal control, higher aspirations, to be more persistent and respond more to challenge, and to see themselves as the source of their success (Spector, 1982).

There is also considerable evidence to suggest that personality traits and cognitive abilities are significantly and logically related to general as well as work-specific locus of control beliefs. Thus, these beliefs may moderate or mediate the relationship between traits, abilities and work-related outcomes. Those with high conscientiousness tend to have more confidence in their ability to control situations so they in turn are more likely to plan, act and succeed.

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