Generalized Expectancies

Because most of David's possible behaviors are new to him, how can we predict what he will do? At this pohit, the concepts of generalization and generalized expectancy enter into Rotter's theory. If, in the past, David has generally been rewarded for behaviors that have increased his social status, then only a slight probability exists that he will beg Mr. Hoffman for a job, because such actions are contrary to increased social status. On the other hand if his previous attempts at responsible and independent behaviors have generally been rehiforced and if he has the freedom of movement—that is, the opportunity to apply for another job—then, assuming he needs work, a high probability exists that he will apply for another job or otherwise behave independently. This prediction, though not as specific as the one predicting the college student's likelihood of sleeping hi a boring classroom, is nevertheless more useful hi situations where rigorous control of pertinent variables is not possible. Predicthig David's reaction to the probable loss of a job is a matter of knowing how he views the options available to him and also the status of his present needs.

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