This research aims to examine the value of applying the Work Locus of Control Scale in predicting work-related outcomes. Study 1 surveyed 323 employees from different companies in China and found that the domain-specific scale was more predictive than the general scale in predicting perceived stressors, rather than in predicting organizational affective commitment and altruistic behaviour. Study 2 applied a multi-wave and multi-source design and used commensurate Likert scales to measure work and general locus of control. Participants were 344 employees from one corporation. Work locus of control was found to be more useful in predicting supervisor-rated job performance, conscientious and altruistic behaviours. These findings help understand the theory-based and measurement-based reasons for the advantages of using domain-specific measures. They claim the importance for employing the domain-specific measure to predict work-related perceptions and behaviours. Implications for the theory and practice are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.