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ROBERT ALDRIN B.

ORTIZ
MHRM

THE LOCUS OF CONTROL IN JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL

The story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull authored by Richard Bach, is not only about a journey
of an exceptional bird to explore and discover its hidden capability to fly greater than normal
birds of his kind, it is also a story of an ambitious bird who does not confine himself only with
what is said and believed to be his and only role in life. The next few paragraphs will identify the
behavioural style of each of the main characters of the story and relate it to different
management styles they possess.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull


Jonathan Seagull, being the protagonist in the story may encompass the management style with
Self Centered locus of control. He is a type of seagull who embraces the passion for perfection of
his flying skills above the other seagull’s usual flight level enjoyed by other bird species. He is
thrilled with the idea of finding out how to fly faster and more dangerously than any other
seagull has flown before.Aside from being a disgrace to his flock for being different from a
normal seagull, he is self-centered because of his value on his own desire to be more, constantly
changing and shifting despite the disapproval of his flock.
As a leader, he can be adopting more on the autocratic management styles being a kind of
persuasive leader who maintains the final decision-making control as evidenced by his strong
passion about flying and striving for perfection. However, he makes choices based on the
persuasion of his subordinates. This type of management style often convinces their manager of
the benefits of a decision and the manager will make the final decision.

Sullivan
Sullivan, one of the magnificent gulls who is Jonathan’s instructor who helped him to reach his
potential, can also be likened to the self-centered locus of control. He gives lessons and tips in
flying and spirituality who even branded him as “one in a million bird”.

As a manager, his character can be compared to a laissez-faire management style since he is the
one who helped Jonathan develop to his potentials. He is like the type of manager who gives
freedom to his employees and lets them develop this knowledge and potential by letting them
decide what is best for the company whilst providing needed guidance whenever necessary.
Sullivan and Jonathan worked together in shaping the other outcast gulls to be inspired and join

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ROBERT ALDRIN B. ORTIZ
MHRM

them in learning far from the usual seagull’s knowledge. This type of manager may be
considered more as a mentor than a leader.

Chiang
Chiang, on the other hand, can be likened to a manager who possesses the work-centered locus
of control management style. He has the aura of a stereotypical wise elder who give Jonathan
the wisdom he needs to overcome change or development. His purpose is to motivate Jonathan
to achieve his goals and to overcome obstacles to continually be interested and committed to his
desire to fly higher than any seagull could be. He is defined by his work as a wise elder.

He portrays the manager who displays the democratic management style. Chiang taught
Jonathan about knowledge of perfecting his flying and to trust himself that he can do the things
he wants to do just like this management style that develop trust from the management down to
employees and from employees up to the management. As its name suggests, democratic
managers offer employees an opportunity to engage in decision-making. This means all
decisions are agreed upon by the majority. The communications go from both the manager
down to employees and from the employees up to the managers.

Fletcher Lynd Seagull


Fletcher Lynd Seagull, another outcast of the flock who is the first student of Jonathan that
believes in the same ideology is a static character. He is someone who is dedicated and
determined to fly. He can be likened to a friendly-centered locus of control for believing that
there is good with everyone. He relates to others and sees things in their perspective. He has the
tendency to please Jonathan. At the same time, he can be considered to be principle centered for
staying firm in what he believes in.

As a manager, Fletcher Lynd Seagull can be a consultative management type being an outcast
who believes that there is much more to flying than flapping around from one place to another.
He can be compared to a consultative management type since he only believe in him rather than
trusting other people. This form allows for more discussion than an autocratic type, but is
essentially dictatorial. As the name suggests, a leader in this form consults his or her employees,
but ultimately the leader makes the final decision. As an employee, he can be seen as optimistic
because of his positive outlook towards his manager for seeing good in everyone.

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ROBERT ALDRIN B. ORTIZ
MHRM

Jonathan Seagull’s Parents, the Council and the Flock


The council flock is seen as the wise elders whom the other gulls look up to, but actually are the
antagonist of the story. They may be considered to hold the values of a management with the
church-centered locus of control. Their security is grounded with the traditions and culture of
the flock. Same is true with his parents who are religious to their own beliefs of what a normal
seagull should be. At the same time, they may be likened to the principle-centered locus of
control for being solid with their own principles even if Jonathan tried to share his new
discovery about reaching beyond the norm or the limitations known of a normal seagull.
In another sense, they can be an autocratic management type for making decisions without
asking others since they consider themselves as the wise elders. This type of management
makes decisions unilaterally, with minimal or no importance with the inputs of their
subordinates. This unilateral format can be perceived as a good management technique if the
right decisions are made, and it can lead to faster decision-making, because only one person’s
preferences need to be considered.

Martin William Seagull and Charles Roland Seagull


Similar to Jonathan, these two seagulls may be likened to a self-centered locus of control for
possessing the same qualities as the protagonist. They have this strong desire of achieving their
respective goals despite the disapproval of their flock and branding them as outcasts.

Terrence Lowell Gull and Kirk Maynard Seagull


These two students of Jonathan also the self-centered locus of control as their management
style for showing their own beliefs in achieving more with their flying skills. They are also
branded as outcasts of their flock.

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