WLCS Description

The Work Locus of Control Scale (WLCS) is a 16 item instrument designed to assess control beliefs in the workplace. It is a domain specific locus of control scale, that correlates about .50 to .55 with general locus of control. The format is summated rating with six response choices: disagree very much, disagree moderately, disagree slightly, agree slightly, agree moderately, agree very much, scored from 1 to 6, respectively. Total score is the sum of all items, and ranges from 16 to 96. The scale is scored so that externals receive high scores. Internal consistency (coefficient alpha) generally ranges from .80 to .85 in the English language version. The scale has been shown to relate to several work variables, including job performance and job satisfaction. It also relates to counterproductive behavior and organizational commitment. Details of scale development can be found in Spector (1988) and Spector (1992). The 1988 article is the appropriate citation for the scale.

Internal Consistency

Coefficient alpha for U.S. samples is .83 for the 16-item scale, based on 5477 people from 37 samples.

Test-Retest Reliability

Test-retest reliability for a year was reported as .57 by Bond and Bunce (2003) and .60 by Moyle (1995).

Predictive Validity Evidence

Perhaps the best predictive validity evidence comes from a meta-analysis by Wang, Bowling and Eschleman (2010).


Bond, F. W., & Bunce, D. (2003). the role of acceptance and job control in mental health, job satisfaction, and work performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 1057-1067.

Moyle, P. (1995). The role of negative affectivity in the stress process: tests of alternative models. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 16, 647-668.

Spector, P. E. (1988). Development of the Work Locus of Control Scale. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 61(4), 335-340.

Spector, P. E. (1992). Summated rating scale construction: An introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc; US.

Wang, Q., Bowling, N. A., & Eschleman, K. J. (2010). A meta-analytic examination of work and general locus of control. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(4), 761-768.